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University of Alberta Libraries

Library Overview

Bruce Braden Peel was Chief Librarian of the University of Alberta from 1955 to 1982. The eponymous Bruce Peel Special Collections Library is located in handsome quarters in the Rutherford South Library. Among its 180,000 volumes are many treasures, including beautiful, rare, and unusual books. Some collections in the Peel Library are tightly focused upon a single author (e.g., D. H. Lawrence) or a printing firm and its output (e.g., Hogarth, Curwen, Grabhorn). Others are more wide-ranging, giving shape to abstract ideas, such as the collection of artists' books and bookworks, which is now the preeminent collection in Canada. Major strengths include the Victorian novel, particularly the first editions of Charles Dickens, but also strong collections in Victorian book art and Victorian and Edwardian children's fiction. Other notable collections include the history of science, featuring many color-plate books, the Alberta Folklore and Local History Collection, the Dime Novel holdings, books focused on the art of William Blake, and the Salzburg Collection, which is one of the most important collections in Canada for historical Central European legal studies. Furthermore, special materials are regularly added to complement the library's collections of fine bindings, modern private press books, and the history and literature of the Prairie Provinces. In the mid-1960s, the library acquired a significant private collection of the works of John Bunyan. On this continent Alberta's Bunyan collection is second only to that of the Huntington Library. To strengthen the overall collection, the Senate of the University of Alberta established a library endowment fund in 1987, which makes possible the purchase of rare materials in a wide variety of disciplines.

University of Alberta
Bruce Peel Special Collections Library
B7 Rutherford South
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 2J4
(780) 492-5998 (t)
(780) 492-5083 (f)