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Genealogy and Local History moves Downtown

May 30, 2016 | Richard | Comments (0)

Genealolgy wordle -4

The genealogy and local history collection housed in the Canadiana Department at the North York Central Library was recently transferred downtown to the Toronto Reference Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Department (HSS).

This included a variety of materials in different formats:Pcr-2191

  • genealogical periodicals
  • church and parish histories
  • historical atlases
  • city directories yearbooks
  • indexes to births, marriages and deaths
  • passenger lists and census on microfilm
  • local histories
  • general works on conducting genealogy research
  • how-to guides for those starting to explore their family history

To search for these items you can use the Toronto Public Library catalogue or the Local History & Genealogy webpage.

The HSS department is also continuing the library’s partnerships with three Genealogical Societies:  the Canadian Society of  Mayflower Descendants (CSMD), the Jewish Genealogical Society of Toronto (JGS) and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS).   Materials in these collections include:

  • self-published family histories  
  • cemetery transcriptions
  • family charts
  • genealogical newsletters and periodicals.  

Ohq-pictures-s-r-616These collections are now located in the closed stacks of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department (2nd floor) where they will complement and augment the existing local history and genealogy collections.

Search their unique catalogues for items of interest at the following links: OGS Catalogue, JGS Catalogue, CSMD Catalogue.

Materials are for use in library only and can be requested at the Humanities Social Sciences Reference desk on the 2nd floor of the Toronto Reference Library, in person, by phone (416-393-7175) or by email .

Family history buffs will have a much larger collection to aid them in their research, as well as access to online resources such as Ancestry Library Edition (In Library Access Only) and the Digital Archive, in one location.

Posted by Richard for Tom


Discover Special Collections: A Look at Dolls in Books at the Osborne Collection

May 26, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (1)

Our latest Discover Special Collections drop-in at the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books featured dolls in early and vintage children’s books. 

Two hundred years ago, British children’s stories featuring dolls had an educational theme. In these stories, a little owner would carefully teach her doll manners and deportment. Such books offered different levels of learning: the children reading the story absorbed what the doll was being taught, and also how to care for young charges. Children in the story can be careful or inattentive “parents”: some learn to take splendid care of their dolls, while others are easily distracted, and the poor dolls come to grief. These were valuable early lessons in child care.

The Well-Bred Doll

Mallès de Beaulieu, The Well-Bred Doll: Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Children. 3rd. ed. London: Charles H. Law, 1848.

The Victorian Era was known for its sentimental stories. The “Lost Doll” was a popular motif, used in a poem by Charles Kingsley, author of The Water-Babies (1863), shown below with an illustration by M. Dibdin Spooner from The Golden Staircase anthology, edited by L. Chisholm and published in London by E.C. and T.C. Jack (1906):

The Water-Babies


The Little Doll
Charles Kingsley

I once had a sweet little doll, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world;
Her cheeks were so red and so white; dears, And her hair was so charmingly curled.

But I lost my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day;
And I cried for her more than a week, dears; But I never could find where she lay.

I found my poor little doll, dears,
As I played in the heath one day:
Folks say she is terrible changed, dears, For her paint is all washed away, And her arm trodden off by the cows, dears, And her hair not the least bit curled: Yet for old sakes' sake she is still, dears,
The prettiest doll in the world.



Another example is Miss Pardoe’s Lady Arabella, or, The Adventures of a Doll, illustrated by George Cruikshank, published in London by Kerby and Sons (1856), in which a once-beautiful, once-dignified doll recounts her sad decline in fortune, from a cherished, elegantly dressed plaything of a spoiled girl (“Miss Tantrum”), to a cast-off, broken wreck on a dust heap.

Lady Arabella, or, The Adventures of a Doll


Arguably one of the most influential doll stories, and one that ushered in a host of anthropomorphic dolls-coming-alive tales, Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio (1883) tells of a talking puppet who makes endless mistakes and blunders, until he finally takes responsibility for his own actions, and no longer allows himself to be controlled by others. Pinocchio’s reward is to become a real boy.

Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio 1883

This theme was later explored by Margery Bianco in The Velveteen Rabbit (1922), in which a worn toy becomes “real” because he was so well loved. One popular variation is the child finding his or her doll is not only alive, but it is exasperated or angry at its ill-treatment, as in Edith Nesbit’s The Revolt of the Toys, shown below in a 1902 edition published in London by Ernest Nister. In this story, Kitty’s maltreated toys, led by her favourite but much-abused doll, disappear, and only return when Kitty writes them a “Magner Charter” promising never to “brake” toys, pull out their “hares” or make them play “cirkusses” [sic] again.

The Revolt of the Toys

The turn of the century, with its advances in print technology and illustration techniques, ushered in a lively array of colourful picture books. Henry Mayer’s The Adventures of a Japanese Doll, published in London by Grant Richards (1901) tells of the doll Ting-A-Ling. A dog punished for biting her takes his revenge by sending Ting-A-Ling sky-high, tied to a balloon, but she is rescued by a friendly stork, and escorted around the world. Ting-A-Ling visits the Sphinx in Egypt, the Alps, deserts, and the North Pole, among other scenic locations.

The Adventures of a Japanese Doll

A popular form of jointed wooden dolls, called “Dutch” dolls, features in many stories. Best known among these are Kathleen Ainslie’s adventure tales of Catharine Susan and her companion Maria, who celebrate holidays and adore parties, but also work at odd jobs to “make an honest penny” and agitate for “votes for women” in a series of small, bright, paperbound books, published from the very early 1900s.

Dutch dolls

Other famous doll stories include The Golliwog books (1895 and on) by Florence and Bertha Upton; Anne Parrish’s Floating Island (1930), a Robinsonnade about a family of dolls shipwrecked on a desert island; Johnny Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann books, (1918 and on) and a series of fine doll stories by Rumer Godden: The Doll’s House (1947), Impunity Jane (1955), The Fairy Doll (1956), The Story of Holly and Ivy, (1958), Candy Floss (1960), and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (1961) and Little Plum (1963).

Some of the most famous children’s authors of the twentieth century specialized in doll stories. British writer Enid Blyton’s Noddy became a publishing phenomenon of the 1950s (and led to the use of the iconic elf images for Kellogg Cereal’s Snap, Crackle and Pop).

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower Raggedy Ann  Learn to read about Animals with Noddy

Dare Wright’s The Lonely Doll (1957) and its sequels feature photographic illustrations of a doll posed with Teddy Bears. Edith is frequently in trouble, but all generally ends well. These stories spark some controversy today because in one illustration, Edith is being spanked by Mr. Bear. 

The Lonely Doll  1957


On the whole, though, contemporary doll books are cheerful and bright. This brief look at early doll stories was followed by modern favourites: Ainslie Manson’s Just Like New (1995), Edward Ardizzone’s The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll (1966) and many others.

We finished off with a look at the famous Doll House: created by Toronto antiquarian bookseller Yvonne Knight, the dollhouse was donated to Osborne by her family, where it continues to delight visitors.

Dollhouse detail, the sitting room

Detail: The Sitting Room

Doll House by Yvonne Knight

Please visit soon, to enjoy these and other Osborne Collection highlights. If you have a special request or want to bring a group, please call (416) 393-7753.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like to visit the Canadian Toy Collectors’ Society

And check into the Antique Toy Collectors’ Show

“A show for toy collectors across Ontario takes over the International Centre in Mississauga this November. Attendees can mingle with other collectors and peruse a huge selection of antique and rare toys, teddy bears, trains and holiday decorations.

Enthusiast Doug Jarvis has been organizing collector’s events for more than three decades and has turned the Toronto Toy, Doll and Train Collector’s Show into the biggest event of its kind in Canada.”

When Someone You Know has Dementia

May 24, 2016 | Pam | Comments (0)

DementiaFrontCoverOn Tuesday, May 31st in the Toronto Reference Library Atrium, there will be a special program on dementia with Dr. June Andrews. Dr. Andrews is a nationally recognized specialist in the UK on improving the public understanding of dementia.

Dr. Andrews was Director of the University of Stirling's Dementia Services Development Centre for 10 years. She has worked to heighten public and professional awareness of the many practical things that can be done to make life better for people with dementia. She has created a design guide for care homes and hospitals. She has worked internationally, consulting on improving health and social care for frail older adults.

June Andrews(1)This program will address topics such as early diagnosis, avoiding dementia and how hospitals and nursing homes can be made safer. She will provide practical and realistic advice to caregivers, families and people directly affected by dementia, in an accessible and easy to understand style.

This is a free program. No registration is required.

The presentation will be followed with a question and answer session with Mary Shulz, Director of Education, Alzheimer Society of Canada.


Here are some additional resources about dementia and Alzheimer's at Toronto Public Library:

Caregiving in Alzheimer's and Other Dementias

Caring for a Loved One with Dementia: A Mindfulness Guide for Reducing Stress and Making the Best of Your Journey Together

Developing Excellent Care for People Living with Dementia in Care Homes

Living Better with Dementia: Good Practice and Innovation for the Future

Caregiving in Alzheimers and Caring for a Loved One with Dementia Developing excellent care for people living with dementia in Living Better with dementia










Urban Farming: Ryerson University's Rooftop Farm

May 19, 2016 | Pam | Comments (0)



Join us this on Thursday May 26 as Arlene Throness, Urban Agriculture Coordinator for Ryerson University, discusses Ryerson's quarter-acre rooftop farm just steps from Yonge and Dundas Square. This innovative project demonstrates the potential for architecture and urban agriculture to intersect in what may become a new industry in Toronto known as agri-tecture.

Ryerson's 10,000 square foot vegetable garden is atop the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre.

With the help of students, staff and faculty, Arlene has created an urban farm with more than 30 crops and over 100 varieties.

 Arlene is passionate about growing, sharing and enjoying food. Prior to Ryerson, she was the coordinator of Concordia University's Rooftop Greenhouse. She has worked in farms, kitchens and greenhouses across Canada. An avid enthusiast of urban permaculture, she is always looking to share and trade ideas about innovative ways to incorporate local resources into the food cycle.

Ryersonroof-14In November 2015, Arlene was honoured at the Third Annual Aster Awards along with Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar, and Evergreen founder and CEO Geoff Cape. She was chosen for her commitment and achievements in urban farming. Come hear this dynamic woman speak.

Toronto's Emerging Agri-tecture Industry: Ryerson University's Rooftop Farm

Thursday, May 26, 2:00 - 3:30 pm

Hinton Learning Theatre, 3rd floor, Toronto Reference Library

Free program. All are welcome.


Here are a few titles about urban agriculture and vertical farming.

The urban farmer Essential urban farmer Public produce Eat Up







The Urban Farmer. Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land

The Essential Urban Farmer

Public Produce: Cultivating our Parks, Plazas, and Streets for Healthier Cities

Eat Up: The Inside Scoop on Rooftop Agriculture




Discover Special Collections: Walter Crane

May 17, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (0)

Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane are often described as forming a triumvirate of great British illustrators of children’s picture books in the late Victorian period. At a recent Discover Special Collections program at the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, the focus was on Walter Crane. 

Born in 1845, Walter Crane was the son of Thomas Crane, an artist, lithographer and portrait painter. Crane first learned art from his father. At age 13, he was apprenticed to William James Linton, a wood engraver. When he was 18, Crane met Edmund Evans, an engraver and skilled colour printer. Crane and Evans would collaborate on many projects over the years.

The earliest work by Crane and Evans in the Osborne Collection is The True, Pathetic History of Poor Match written by Holme Lee in 1863. 

The True Pathetic History of Poor Match-Holme Lee

Crane and Evans worked closely together on a series of toy books published by George Routledge and Sons between 1865 and 1876. “Toy book” was a term used to describe a type of picture book with six or eight colour pages bound in paper covers. Crane usually illustrated editions of fairy tales, pictorial alphabets and nursery rhymes. These toy books were said to have made Crane’s reputation.

Puss in Boots 1873

In this illustration from Puss in Boots, first published in 1873, in which Puss is begging for boots, his master is Crane’s self-portrait as a young man. 

Beauty and the Beast 1875

Crane demonstrates an eclectic mix of styles in this illustration from Beauty and the Beast, published in 1875. The Beast is attired in 17th-century costume and sitting on an early 19th-century Empire-style sofa. The wallpaper in the background resembles a William Morris-designed pattern. 

Crane also worked with Evans on a set of small square pictures books which were also published by Routledge. The Baby’s Opera (1877) and its companion The Baby’s Bouquet (1878) both contained traditional nursery songs and rhymes, such as, “Little Jack Horner,” “Sing a Song of Six-Pence” and “Polly Put the Kettle On.” In addition to the text illustrations, Crane designed the covers, title-pages, end-papers and calligraphic text. His sister, Lucy, collected and arranged the tunes.

The Babys Opera 1877

Illustration from The Baby’s Opera for “I Saw Three Ships.”

The popularity of these two volumes led to the publication of The Baby’s Own Aesop (1887), which was similar in format but even more sophisticated in its artwork. 

Frontispiece from The Babys Own Aesop 1887

The frontispiece from The Baby’s Own Aesop.

In his preface, Crane writes, “For this rhymed version of the fables I have to thank my early friend and master WJ Linton, who kindly placed the [manuscript] at my disposal.” Crane’s ability to draw realistic animals had been acquired during his apprenticeship: he would regularly visit the Zoological Gardens in London and sketch the exotic animals and birds. 

Crane’s master influenced him not only in the realm of art but also in politics. Linton was a Chartist seeking political reform, such as, universal suffrage for men, secret ballots, the removal of property requirements for Members of Parliament and a salary for Members of Parliament. Crane’s association with William Morris reinforced his belief in socialism. Crane illustrated two socialist works written for children to make them aware of this social-political alternative: The Child’s Socialist Reader (1907) and Pages for Young Socialists (1913).

The Child’s Socialist Reader 1907

Title page of The Child’s Socialist Reader (1907).
In this illustration, one can see Crane’s monogram signature: a picture of a crane and letter W within the letter C.

The Child’s Socialist Reader, edited by Alfred Augustus Watts, was published in 1907. This collection of poems, stories and essays includes a fairy tale entitled “The Happy Valley” in which a giant named “Monopoly” enters the valley with this two dwarves “Capital” and “Competition”. Monopoly advises the residents of Happy Valley to switch their economic activities from growing crops to mining gold and, thereby, acquire greater wealth. Monopoly offers to give the residents mining equipment in return for a share of the profit: he tells the people to fill an enormous sack with gold for his share and the rest shall belong to them. Monopoly plays a trick on the people by giving them a bag with holes — no sooner has the bag been filled the workers must start over again to fill the bag again and again without ever getting their share. 

The Happy Valley

Walter Crane and his wife Mary Frances had three children: a daughter Beatrice, born February 1873, and two sons, Lionel, born May 1876, and Lancelot, born January 1880. Crane made a number of private pictorial journals for his children. Within the family these were known as the “Black Books” for the plain black notebooks which Crane used for this purpose. The Osborne Collection holds one of these manuscripts, Beatrice Crane, Her Book (The 2nd), finished June 1st, 1879 containing 46 water colours.

Beatrice Crane, Her Book The 2nd

From Beatrice Crane, Her Book. “Bon” was a family nickname for Beatrice.


Beatrice Crane the disobedient Bon

From Beatrice Crane, Her Book

The Osborne Collection’s extensive holdings of Crane material includes two holograph letters, one of which is to Edmund Evans and several pieces of original art. Some of Crane’s many illustrations for children’s books can be viewed through Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive.


Hog Town Stories: Photographer Jeremy Korn on Documenting Life in Toronto

May 17, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (0)

Have you had a chance to visit our free photo exhibit, The Changing Face of Toronto

The exhibit, which runs until July 23, is on display in the Toronto Reference Library's TD Gallery. The Changing Face of Toronto features portraits of the people who lived and worked in Toronto throughout the 20th century. Curated from the library's Canadian Documentary Art Collection and the Toronto Star Photograph Archive, these portraits offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Torontonians over the century.


New Miss Toronto, Virginia Martin. Photo by Douglas Glynn/Toronto Star, July 24, 1965
. Toronto Star Photograph Archive

As you walk through the exhibit, you might wonder: what faces and stories could you capture on the streets of Toronto today? 

Hog Town Stories

Join us at the Toronto Reference Library this Thursday, May 19 at 7 pm for an illustrated talk with local photographer and urban planner, Jeremy Korn. Over the last year, Korn has set out to capture interesting people of Toronto and the stories they tell through his photography project, Hog Town Stories. He will be speaking about the project, sharing some of his favourite stories and photos, and offering insights for aspiring photographers.   

Frankie Whyte-9466

Frankie Whyte. Photo by Jeremy Korn


Ian Alistaire McWilfred-8870

Ian Alistaire McWilfred. Photo by Jeremy Korn

May June-8186

May June. Photo by Jeremy Korn


No registration is required. The talk will be held in the Hinton Learning Theatre on the third floor. Be sure to come by early to visit the TD Gallery exhibit!

Oh Snap! The Changing Face of Toronto Opens this Saturday!

May 12, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (0)


John Nagle with nine of his ten children. Photo: W.H. James/Toronto Star, August 29, 1936. Toronto Star Photograph Archive

Our new photography exhibit, The Changing Face of Toronto, opens this Saturday, May 14 in the Toronto Reference Library's TD Gallery. It runs until July 23. As always, admission is free and the gallery is open to all during regular library hours. 

The Changing Face of Toronto offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the people of Toronto through portraits curated from the library’s Toronto Star Photograph Archive and the Canadian Documentary Art Collection.

Check out the video below for a sneak peek.



Add your photo to the exhibit during TCAF 

This Saturday also happens to be the first day of the bustling Toronto Comic Arts Festival. What more of an excuse do you need to spend the day at the Toronto Reference Library?

If you are visiting TCAF on Saturday, be sure to stop by the TD Gallery photo booth. Strike a pose. Add your portrait to the gallery wall. Help us capture what the faces of Toronto look like in 2016. 

Legal Tips from CLEO - Finding Your Way Through the Family Court Process

May 12, 2016 | Katherine | Comments (0)

This guest post is one in a series providing practical, easy-to-understand legal information from CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario).


CLEO logo


Family breakdowns are very stressful by nature, and the complex family court process doesn’t help.

CLEO’s new online tool Steps in a Family Law Case aims to empower people as they go through the family court process by explaining, in clear language, the legal requirements of each step in a typical court case.

Steps in a Family Law Case presents 3 interactive flowcharts that can guide you through the common legal decision points you may face as you try to resolve family law issues.

This is the first time this essential information has been compiled and presented in this step-by-step way, making it clear and understandable for the general public. And in Ontario, more than half of the people in family court are on their own, representing themselves.


How to use Steps in a Family Law Case

Steps in a Family Law Case can be used by people who are separating or thinking about separating.

You’ll find the flowcharts useful whether or not you have the help of a lawyer, a trusted community advisor, or a friend or family member.

The flowcharts are available in English and French versions will be available soon.

Before you start

The Before you start flowchart takes you through some of the legal issues you need to think about when you’re separating. This can help you decide what you need help with.

Your family law issues might include separation and divorce, child custody and access, child support, spousal support, and dividing property.

It sets out ways you can try to resolve your issues without going to court. This includes making a separation agreement or getting help from a family law professional, like a mediator.

For applicants

The Applicant flowchart helps you understand how to:

• start a family law case
• continue through the court process until you have a court order
• change a court order

And, it shows you options if you want to resolve your issues out of court, even if you have already started a court process. These options might include making an offer to settle or getting help from a family law professional.

For respondents

The Respondent flowchart helps you understand how to:
• respond to a family law case that your partner started against you
• continue through the court process until you have a court order
• change a court order

And, it shows you options if you want to resolve your issues out of court, even if your partner has already started a court process. These options might include making an offer to settle or getting help from a family law professional.

Other features

Clicking on a box in the flowcharts gives you detailed information about what happens at that step in the process and what you may need to do.

For example, there’s information about what court forms you may need to complete and how you’re supposed to give these forms to your partner.

The flowcharts also have links to the relevant family law rules and other practical online guides that can help you with each step.

And, there’s a glossary with definitions of difficult legal terms and concepts, such as filing, issuing, and serving documents.

Getting legal help

If you’re involved in the family court process, it’s very important that you understand what you need to do at each step. Not following the laws and the rules can affect the outcome of your case.

While the flowcharts give basic, practical information, what you have to do at each step depends on your own situation.

You can check out the Getting legal help section to find out where to get more information and help with your family law problem.

Who is CLEO?

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) is a non-profit organization that provides accurate and easy-to-understand legal information for people in Ontario. CLEO is funded by Legal Aid Ontario, the Department of Justice Canada, and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

CLEO logo


Additional Resources at Toronto Public Library

Canadian family law, 6th edition

What you should know about family law in Ontario (online access in multiple languages)

An introduction to family law in Ontario eBook  

Annotated family law act

Canadian Family Law 6th ed What you should know about family law in Ontario An introduction to family law in Ontario Annotated Ontario Family Law Act








Annotated divorce act

Family law arbitration in Canada

Spousal support in Canada

Tug of war: a judge’s verdict on separation, custody battles and the bitter realities of family court  also in eBook

Annotated Divorce Act Family Law Arbitration in Canada 2nd ed Spousal Support in Canada 3rd ed Tug of War








Law at the Library program series:

Understanding Family Law


A Special Guest in Special Collections

May 11, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (1)


Left to right: Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, His Excellency David Johnston, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, Mary Rae Shantz, Manager of Special Collections.

The Library was pleased to host a very distinguished guest on April 20th. His Excellency David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada visited the Library launch of his new book The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation (Signal, 2016). Prior to the Launch in the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, he and his wife Sharon Johnston stopped by the Marilyn & Charles Special Collections Centre to view a few of our treasures of Canadian history.

The Toronto Public Library began Canadiana when it was first formed in 1884. In his inaugural address, the Chairman of the Board directed the first chief Librarian to acquire documents of national significance, giving the Library a mandate to preserve our cultural heritage. Today, the collection has grown to be one of the most significant collections of Canadiana in the world – in fact the internationally recognized bibliography of pre-confederation Canadiana is the Toronto Public Library catalogue.

Their Excellencies viewed a small sampling of that Collection, concentrating on some of the great moments of nation building, embellished with the stories of everyday people whose lived experience helped to shape our country. Here are a few highlights from the visit:


An Account of the Seven Years’ War in America, Jan. 16, 1757- Sep. 20, 1759, by an anonymous officer

An Account of the Seven Years War

Purchased in 1886, this was the first item acquired for the Library’s collection of historical manuscripts. This personal journal of an anonymous officer of the 48th Regiment of Foot provides an eyewitness account of the scouting party to Ticonderoga in January 1757, the French attack on Fort William Henry in March 1757, and the Siege of Louisbourg in June 1758.


Evsebii Cesariesis Episcopi Chronicon. [Parisiis]: Henricvs Stephanus; eiusdẽ & Iodoci Badij in hoc opere sociorum paruis expensis, 1512.


This is the earliest item in the Canadiana collection.  This day by day chronology of world history was originally written in the 4th century by a Roman bishop. During the Renaissance era it became a “thing” to update the chronology. This Paris edition of 1512 contains the first printed reference to Canadian aboriginal peoples. The entry for 1509 describes the seven Newfoundland aboriginals who were abducted and brought to Rouen. The fate of the people is unknown. It is unlikely that any of them ever saw their homes again.

Histoire de la nouvelle France, by Marc Lescarbot. Paris : 1609

Lescarbot was a French lawyer and man of letters who came to Acadia in 1606, and published his account in 1609. This rare first edition is bound with Lescarbot’s  Les Muses de la Nouvelle France includes a masque entitled  Le Theatre de Neptune first performed at Port Royal in Acadia in open boats, on Nov. 4, 1606.

  Histoire de la nouvelle france_pages named Les Muses


Nova Francia, by Marc Lescarbot. London, 1609

Lescarbot’s Histoire was so popular, that Richard Hakluyt commissioned an English translations of a portion of it. This translation, published the same year as the Histoire, covers only some of the settlements, but includes his observations of the aboriginal peoples.

  Nova Francia 1609_Marc Lescarbot_frontispiece

Voyages de Decouvertures  by Samuel de Champlain, Paris : 1620

It is impossible to talk about Canadian history without mentioning the Father of New France, and the first Governor General of the Colony --  Samuel de Champlain. This classic narrative of early Canadian travel and exploration describes Champlain’s epic journeys, and contains his observations made during the winter of 1615-16 when he lived among the Hurons. Our copy (1620) is a re-issue, with a few minor changes, of the 1619 edition.

Voyages de champlain 1620_frontispiece

We also looked at some of the original manuscripts in the Collection. Some of our historical manuscripts are essentially eyewitness accounts to great moments in Canadian history, such as Simon Fraser’s journal of exploration down the Fraser River in 1808. 

Voyages de Decouvertures


Other manuscripts are more personal snapshots – sometimes anonymous, but they give us a compelling glimpse into past times, and a sense of the day to day lives of average Canadian. Some of these stories are sad, such as the Register and list of Apprenticeships for the Protestant Childrens’ Home 1854-1873.

Register, protestant orphans home toronto_admitted


And of course, we could not leave the room without a nod to the Governor General’s personal passion – Hockey.

Stratford Hockey Team, 1900 

Stratford Hockey Team 1900

On the far left is Charley Lightfoot, one of the first black hockey players in the Ontario Hockey Association, and was recognized as one of the best players in the league. This picture is the 1900 team which won the OHA Junior Championship. Lightfoot eventually left hockey to play baseball.

Hockey in Riverdale Park, 1900.

Hockey Riverdale Park


And some familiar views of Quebec.   

A plan of Quebec (London: E. Oakley, 1759)

A Plan of Quebec

This plan shows the Citadel, one of the official residences of the Governor General.


Quebec from Point Levi, 1836

2007-9-12_quebec from point levi, 1839

This pencil sketch by an unidentified artists was from the personal collection of Lord Elgin.


To learn more about Canada’s rich history, be sure to read The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation (Signal, 2016), or stop by the Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library. Be Our Guest!

Curator's Choice: Cinderella

May 4, 2016 | Nicole | Comments (0)

Cinderella is, without a doubt, one of the best known fairy tales and the version by Charles Perrault, first published in 1697, in Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé is the most popular. From Walt Disney’s animated film version of Cinderella (1950) to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s Broadway musical of Cinderella (1957) to last year’s live-action production of Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh and produced by Disney, all are based on the tale as told by Charles Perrault. 

The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books holds numerous editions of Cinderella. At a recent Curator’s Choice, some of those editions were shown and discussed. Here are some highlights.

Cinderella, or, The Little Glass Slipper: versified and beautifully illustrated with figures was published in 1814 by the London publishing firm, S. and J. Fuller, formed by two brothers, Samuel and Joseph, who operated their business from the Temple of Fancy in Rathbone Place. They published a series of books that included a set of paper dolls. While Cinderella may be “meanly attired” she possesses a virtuous mind. When her sisters go off to the ball she sings the following verses to console herself: “Hope shall not be banish’d my heart / And yield to the gloom of despair; / Tho’ this day may in sorrow depart, / To-morrow perhaps may be fair.”

Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper 1814

Not everyone was keen on Cinderella. The Guardian of Education was a periodical, published between 1802 and 1806, that reviewed children’s literature. In a letter to its editor, Mrs. Sarah Trimmer, a correspondent who signed herself “O.P.” wrote: “[Cinderella] paints some of the worst passions that can enter into the human breast, and of which little children should, if possible, be totally ignorant: such as envy, jealousy, a dislike to [stepmothers] and half-sisters, vanity, a love of dress, &c &c.”

Certainly, O.P. would have approved of The History of Cinderella published in Devenport, Plymouth by S. & J. Keys around 1840.  You may not have known but Cinderella’s real name was Helena. Besides being beautiful “she was so very good, / So affable and mild, / She learned to pray, and read her book, / When she was quite a child.”  Her stepsisters, on the other hand, “scarce can read, / Nor pray to God to bless them.”


Sir Henry Cole disagreed with those who disapproved of fairy tales as being irrational stories and, therefore, a waste of children’s time. Under the pseudonym “Felix Summerly” he edited the Home Treasury series which was designed to “cultivate the affections, fancy, imagination, and taste of children.” As a father of eight children, Sir Henry would have known a thing or two about children’s tastes. Cinderella, or, The Little Slipper, published in 1845, was illustrated by John Absolon, a favourite of Queen Victoria, who organised performances of Shakespeare’s plays at Windsor with Absolon providing the painted scenery.

Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper 1845

Walter Crane (1845-1915), along with Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway, was one of the most prolific and influential illustrators of children’s books in the latter part of the 19th century. Crane was chosen by the engraver and colour printer, Edmund Evans, to collaborate on a series of toy books published by George Routledge and Sons between 1865 and 1876. Crane’s early work shows the influence of a sheaf of Japanese prints which came into his possession. In 1871, he made a long visit to Italy: his later toy books, including Cinderella which was published in 1873, are more elaborate in style and display a blend of what Crane called “an Italianizing influence” along with that of the Japanese. 

Cinderella Walter Crane

Born in Toulouse, France, Edmund Dulac (1882-1953) studied law for two years before attending full-time art classes. His decision to concentrate on magazine illustration led him to London where he also drew commissions for book illustration work. The Sleeping Beauty, and Other Fairy Tales, published in 1910, was one of ten beautiful gift books illustrated by Dulac between 1907 and 1918. The stories by Perrault are retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. 


Dulac The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales

Here is a Cinderella, with a striking resemblance to Ginger Rodgers, who looks like she is destined for a career in Hollywood.  Cinderella: A Fairy Story, retold by Mary Windsor and illustrated by Juanita Bennett, was published in 1935.

Cinderella A Fairy Story

Alan Suddon was the Head of the Fine Arts Department at the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library until his retirement in 1987.  In this bilingual version of Cinderella, published by Oberon Press in 1969, Suddon uses collage illustrations for his retelling of the classic fairy tale. While Cinderella is busy in the kitchen, her stepsisters sing or play the piano or have a glass of sherry. Cinderella imagines her sisters’ arrival at the castle for the ball. The Prince would be there “in his swallow-blue coat…smoking a golden cigarette as if he cared nothing for the Dukes and Duchesses with their velvets and silks, or even for the Admiral with his monocle.”  The fairy godmother appears in a red and white candy-striped dress. 

Cinderella Alan Suddon

Please visit Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive to view some of the many editions of Cinderella held at the Osborne Collection.


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