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The Dysart Memorial Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts: Home


The Dysart Memorial Collection of Rare Books & Manuscripts, Digitized Catalogue 

The Dysart Memorial Collection of Rare Books & Manuscripts: Virtual Exhibition

Dysart Item No.7: "The Carnerius Code: Deciphering the Padua Diploma of 1684"
by Betty Braaksma (Power Point)

Dysart Item No.22: "Sebastian Brant's Narrenschiff / Ship of Fools (1498 Latin ed.)"
by Gaby Divay (Power-Point, 46 slides), for LCMND 50th ANNIVERSARY CONFERERENCE, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, Friday, Oct. 16, 2009 [rev. & enl. ed. forthcoming in:LCMND e-Journal]




"The Dysart Memorial Collection of manuscripts, rare books, and private press editions was given to the University Libraries at the official opening of the new building (later named the Elizabeth Dafoe Library) in 1953.  This important gift was presented in honor of Mr. Justice Andrew Knox Dysart, the fourth Chancellor of the University, who had died during the previous year. Funds for the acquisition of the collection were provided by the Manitoba Brewers' and Hotelmen's Welfare Fund.

Selection of the books and manuscripts in this choice collection was apparently made by Dr. A.H.S. Gillson, President of the University from 1948 until his death in 1954. Dr. Gillson was a remarkable man who bridged two cultures. His academic career was in the field of mathematical physics, but he was also a discriminating connoisseur of the visual arts who served for a time as national chairman of the Federation of Canadian Artists and as president of the Canadian Arts Council. The high quality of the Dysart collection bears witness to the soundness of Dr. Gillson's judgment with respect to the history of printing and the art of the book.

The Dysart Collection consists of nine manuscripts and sixty books, representative of the best book arts of scribes, printers, and illustrators over a span of six hundred years. Two-thirds of the collection, however, dates from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Among the richly illuminated manuscripts are two antiphonaries, an early psalter, a handsome fifteenth century "edition" of Caesar's commentaries, and two official documents issued by Philip II of Spain.

There are sixteen incunabula, perhaps the largest concentration of early printed books in Western Canada. Within this group are excellent examples of some of the best work of such famous printers as Peter Schoeffer, Nicholas Jenson, Aldus Manutius, and Anton Koberger. The sixteenth century imprints are scarcely less impressive. The delicate art of the French school is well represented in the printing of Jean de Tournes, Simon Vostre, Simon Colines, and Michael Vascosan.

The type designs of Robert Granjon and the woodcut illustrations of Bernard Salomon, Dürer, and Pigouchet come together in the Dysart Collection.

Books printed in the last four centuries constitute only one-third of the collection. Again, there are examples of the best designs of renowned printers, from the Elzevirs to William Morris. There are notable books from each century, such as Gerard's famous herbal printed in 1633, an early edition of Gulliver's Travels (1726), two late-nineteenth-century Kelmscott Press imprints, and a rare edition of Cocteau drawings published in 1923."

PREFACE / W. Royce Butler, Professor of Bibliography and Director of Libraries 
The Dysart Memorial Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts: an Exhibition held at the Gallery 1.1.1., University of Manitoba, April 23-May 11, 1973