Ryerson Press Collection donated to Ryerson University Library Special Collections


 Gift of remarkable resource from Canada’s oldest English-language publisher

TORONTO, April 17, 2017 – Ryerson University is pleased to announce that publisher McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, part of McGraw-Hill Education, has made the largest single donation of books ever received by the university library’s Archives and Special Collections.

The McGraw-Hill Ryerson Press Collection is valued at nearly $1 million, and contains works by such seminal Canadian authors as Alice Munro, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Norval Morrisseau, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Archibald Lampman, Milton Acorn and Al Purdy.


In all, the McGraw-Hill Ryerson Press Collection includes almost 3,000 book titles—many of which are first editions and date back as far as 1862—and more than 2,000 archival materials, including catalogues, author contracts and related documentation. It is a rich collection which many in the industry had thought lost.


Madeleine Lefebvre, chief librarian, Ryerson Library and Archives, says, “we are proud to welcome the McGraw-Hill Ryerson Press Collection to its new home in the Ryerson Library’s Special Collections unit. The press made an enormous contribution to Canadian literature before it was known as such, and now offers a rich resource of academic research potential.”


“We are immensely pleased that this collection will now be part of Ryerson University,” said Aaron Yaverski, Managing Director of the Americas for McGraw-Hill Education. “These materials belong in the hands of scholars and we are delighted they have found such a wonderful home.”


The Ryerson Press began operation in Toronto in 1829 when Egerton Ryerson (for whom the Ryerson Institute of Technology, now Ryerson University, was named in 1948) obtained the licence for a printing press. The sale of the press to the American company McGraw-Hill in 1970 was controversial at the time, many considering it an issue of Canadian cultural identity. It prompted a Royal Commission on Canadian Publishing, legislation on foreign ownership, and sparked activism among Canada’s literary community that would eventually take shape in the founding of the Writers Union of Canada in 1973. The generous gift from McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited repatriates a wealth of the nation’s cultural and publishing history.


Among many other treasures, the collection includes Alice Munro’s first book, Dance of the Happy Shades, published by Ryerson Press in 1968, as well as her author’s contract for that volume. Munro went on in her career to win many literary awards, including the Man Booker International Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature.


About Ryerson University

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 44,500 students, including 2,400 Master’s and PhD students, 3,200 faculty and staff, and nearly 170,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.ryerson.ca 


Media Contact:

Dasha Pasiy
Public Affairs
University Relations
416.979.5000 x 2126



About The Ryerson Press Archive

My name is Clive Powell. I worked for McGraw-Hill Ryerson for 35 years. Recently I was asked to find a home for 3000 publications that represent the Ryerson Press Archive. I am happy to share my discoveries.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ryerson Press Collection donated to Ryerson University Library Special Collections

  1. Cathie Ellis says:

    This is a great and useable legacy, thanks to your archiving, Clive! We miss the books here at the office, but it is great that they can now be shared and their value can be appreciated by all. Thank you!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s