Thursday, June 3, 2010

Doors Open Toronto: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Four Floors of Rare Books
One of the Chinese Books on Display

Ceiling of the Library
Pictures by Kayla Jonas

According to the Doors Open Toronto Website:

The Fisher Library comprises the south tower of the Robarts Library complex. The interior is one of the most impressive and dramatic sights in the University, with five mezzanine floors of rare books surrounding an exhibition area. It is named in honour of Thomas Fisher who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River. There he operated a grist mill, and played an active role in the public life of the community. In 1973 his great-grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated to the Library their own collections of Shakespeare, various twentieth century authors, and the etchings of the seventeenth century Bohemian artist, Wenceslaus Hollar. Since that time the Library has grown to approximately 700,000 volumes and 3000 linear metres of manuscript holdings and reflects the wide diversity of research conducted at the University of Toronto. Chronologically, the range is from a 1789 B.C. Babylonian cuneiform tablet from Ur, to original drafts and printed works of contemporary Canadian writers such as Margaret Atwood.

Event information:
The Library will feature an exhibition of Chinese rare books, entitled, Leaves of Enchantment, Bones of Inspiration: The Dawn of Chinese Studies in Canada. The books on display are drawn from the Mu Collection, one of the major Chinese rare book collections in North America, spanning the period from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It originally formed the personal library of a Chinese scholar, Mu Xuexun (1880-1929). In 1933, it was purchased by the Canadian missionary, Bishop William Charles White and then shipped to Toronto in 1935. The exhibition will highlight the treasures of the collection with a broad coverage of subject areas. The long and rich history of Chinese writing and book culture will be vividly illustrated along with related artifacts from the ROM.

No comments:

Post a Comment