Feb 18, 2010
A small college
cannot hope to have a large library, but if it sets to work along
the right lines it may aspire to the possession of a fine one… A
book may be a thing of beauty, and an example of a great craft
which we must not allow to die. The means of craft and the
aspiration toward beauty live on in our College
— Robertson Davies, the Founding Master
Since its inception in 1963, the Library at Massey College has developed special collections in the History of the Book as well as supporting a working nineteenth-century hand printing shop.
The holdings of books and manuscripts include material on the history of printing, papermaking, bookbinding, palaeography, calligraphy, type design, book collecting, and bibliography. The examples of book production range from the fifteenth century to the present, with a particular strength in nineteenth century colour printing and publishers' bookbindings represented in the Ruari McLean Collection. The collections also include the papers of Canadian graphic designer Carl Dair. In 1981, the Library was named for the Founding Master of the College, Robertson Davies, and contains editions and translations of his writings.
At the time of this interview Marie Korey was Librarian at The Robertson Davies Library, and a scholar of the history of the book. We met to talk about collecting books in this field. I assumed the role (difficult) of a rich book collector (easy) with a passion for books about books (very easy) who had retained Marie to help him acquire the best of the best possible books and materials related to the development of the book.
Here's a list of some of the 'essential' books mentioned by Marie: