The Ryerson Collection will soon be relocated to a final place of honour.
When the McGraw-Hill Book Company of Canada bought The Ryerson Press in December of 1969, a collection of Ryerson Press publications was set aside and moved from the Wesley Building, 299 Queen Street West, to McGraw-Hill’s premises in Scarborough.
The Executive of McGraw-Hill at the time – John Macmillan, William Darnell, Barbara Byam, Rachel Mansfield chief among them , recognized the intrinsic value of the 3000 or so titles that came to McGraw-Hill during the move.
While the publishing community at large was appalled at the sale of The House to McGraw-Hill, both the staff and the executive of McGraw-Hill knew that they were not about to squander the legacy that came with the venerable company they had just bought. In fact, the first thing McGraw-Hill did was to adopt the Ryerson name to become McGraw-Hill Ryerson. This name change was in deference to the 141-year history of not only the name of Egerton Ryerson and all he had accomplished, but to the many men and women who worked for The Ryerson Press and who were now making the move to McGraw-Hill.
McGraw-Hill Ryerson, traditionally an educational publisher, adopted the entire Ryerson Education Department which had recently been created by The Ryerson Press to service the needs of teachers and educators across Canada. McGraw-Hill also created a Trade Book arm which allowed them to continue to showcase The Ryerson Press trade titles and to continue to support the contracts of the many Ryerson Press authors they assumed.
Another way McGraw-Hill Ryerson acknowledged the legacy of The Ryerson Press was to commission a set of 14 teak and veneer, glass-encased bookcases. These bookcases immediately held prominence, adorning either side of the Executive Suite for decades at the 330 Progress Avenue location. These attractive bookcases with their display of rare and distinguished titles dating as far back 1862, from many of the country’s prominent authors, writers and thinkers of the 19th and 20th century, added a sense of history to the Ryerson Collection. It gave these titles the respect and the distinction they deserved.
The Ryerson Collection has made the move several times since 1970 with great care taken to maintain the integrity of the craftsmanship of the cabinets and their valuable contents. And it will soon be relocated to another place of honour.
It is hoped that the Ryerson Collection will once again take its place in the annals of Canadian Literary history, eloquently displayed for all to see and enjoy.