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University of Toronto Libraries

Library Overview

The University of Toronto Libraries comprise over 40 libraries and resource centers ranging from the Architecture Landscape & Design Library to the Zoology Library. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is highlighted in this volume. The Fisher Library collections are many and varied, reflecting the wide diversity of research conducted at the University of Toronto by its own faculty and students, visiting scholars, and the general public. Acquired by both purchase and gift, the holdings currently consist of some 650,000 books and 2,600 linear meters of manuscript material. Chronologically, the range is from a 1789 BCE Babylonian cuneiform tablet from Ur to original drafts and printed works of contemporary Canadian writers such as Margaret Atwood. The general rare book collections include such items as the Concilium zu Constencz, printed in Augsburg in 1483 with hand-colored woodcuts, but in addition to these general collections there are over 100 special author or subject collections, focusing on fields as diverse as AIDS, Aristotle, Birdsall Bindings, Lewis Carroll, Darwin, Galileo, Aldous Huxley, incunabula, libretti, Thoreau Macdonald, Shakespeare, Voltaire, and yellowbacks. As a complement to the printed works, the library houses individual manuscripts as well as over 400 manuscript collections covering a wide range of subject areas. Chief among the individual works is the Codex Torontonensis, a copy of the four gospels penned in Byzantium around the year 1050 and still in its original boards. Other manuscript holdings range from examples of 13th-century tally sticks to papers of the co-discoverers of insulin, and drafts, research notes, and correspondence of Canadian authors from Mazo de la Roche to Leonard Cohen, Josef Škvorecký, Joy Fielding, Alberto Manguel, and Camilla Gibb. The majority of the manuscript collections date from the 19th century to the present day and pertain to Canadian historical, literary, artistic, or scientific fields. Overall, the great strengths of the library lie in the fields of British, European, and Canadian literature, philosophy, theology, the history of science and medicine, Canadiana, and the history and art of the book.

University of Toronto
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
120 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1A5
(416) 978-5332 (t)
(416) 978-1667 (f)