Summer 2014
In Pictures: the Amazing Collection of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

A slideshow of rare and intriguing items from the library’s digital treasure trove.


The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library’s extraordinary holdings include many items from world and Canadian literature, including a first edition of Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687), the literary papers of Leonard Cohen and Sir Frederick Banting’s original experiment notes. Here is a peek at some rare and intriguing items from the library’s digitized treasure trove:

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Discovery and Early Development of Insulin collection
This letter, addressed simply to “the Dr. who cures diabetes,” made it to Frederick Banting at U of T all the way from Saskatchewan in 1922. From the Discovery and Early Development of Insulin collection.
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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Papyri fragment collection
A scrap of 2,000-year-old Egyptian writing from the Papyri fragment collection. U of T acquired five boxes of fragments, dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD, in 1904. The pieces include marriage contracts, letters and tax receipts.
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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Anatomia collection
This early (1854) example of a coloured print, by Nicolas Henri Jacob, shows the nerves in the head and neck. From the Anatomia collection: history of medicine illustrations from 1522 to 1867.
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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Canadian Pamphlets and Broadside collection
Toronto’s official 1901 programme for a royal visit from the Duke of Cornwall and York, later George V. From the Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides collection.
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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Agnes Chamberlin collection
Asarum canadense l. (wild ginger) from the Agnes Chamberlin (1833–1913) collection of botanical paintings. The paintings are linked to Canadian literary tradition: they were published in Catharine Parr Trail’s book Canadian Wildflowers and Chamberlin herself was Susannah Moodie’s daughter.
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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library: Wenceslaus Hollar collection
Born in 1607 and blind in one eye, Czech native Wencelaus Hollar grew up to become one of the most skilled etchers of 17th-century England, most famous for his depictions of London after the fire of 1666. This image from the library’s Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) collection shows a peasants’ dance.
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All images courtesy Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library


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