How very strange it is to think that a collection of publications from some 150 years ago could be so intriguing.
Out of the public view for decades with only the occasional remark by a few inquisitive people — those who happen to be invited into the Library for a meeting, or who happen to be passing through the halls and are drawn to the elegant display, wondering where these books came from or even why they are in this location in the first place. Too bad that more of the history of this fine collection is not known more widely.
The 3000 titles shown here date as far back as 1862 and represent a slice of Canadian publishing history. Individually, many of these books are available in digital form on-line. This came as somewhat of a surprise to me when I first began looking them up. If you thought about actually going about creating a physical collection of even a small portion of the Ryerson Press output over their 150-year history, it would take a lifetime. Just ask one of the many rare book collectors who make it their business to deal in such antiquity. And there are some real gems here.
And here it is. If you browse through the shelves one by one, you easily come across titles that are not only beautifully printed and bound, many in their original first edition jackets, but you quickly realize that each one represents its own place in the evolution of publishing in Canada.