Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection

Collection Type: 
  • Rare Books & Special Collections
Special Collection: 

View Highlights from the Collection 

Distinguished Canadian philanthropist and entrepreneur Seymour Schulich and Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf, partnered in 2015 to gift their personal collections of rare books to Queen’s. In recognition of their generosity and vision, the university established the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection, which resides in Douglas Library, and combines more than 400 volumes from the personal collections of Mr. Schulich and Dr. Woolf. Mr. Schulich also made two additional $1-million gifts towards the establishment, growth, and preservation of the collection. The strength of the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection is history and culture of the 16th through 18th centuries. There are also fine examples of books on other topics including Canadiana, travel and exploration.


About Seymour Schulich and Dr. Daniel Woolf

During a conversation in 2015 between Mr. Schulich and Principal Woolf, it was uncovered that both men had a specific passion for rare books. The two compared notes and quickly realized their collections complemented each other’s. Dr. Woolf always had the intention of donating his collection to Queen’s and when Mr. Schulich offered his books, they recognized that this would make for one impressive collection.

Mr. Schulich is among Canada’s greatest philanthropists having donated or pledged in excess of $350 million to university faculties of business, medicine, dentistry, nursing, engineering, chemistry, music, law, education and science.

Dr. Woolf was the 20th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University. He was the third alumnus to lead Queen’s and is a noted historian and professor specializing in early modern British cultural history and the history of historical writing.

About the Collection

The Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection focuses on history and culture of the16th through 18th centuries. There are also fine examples of books on other topics including Canadiana, travel and exploration, and more modern publications. Many works in the Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection are also notable for their illustrations and maps.

The first round of acquisitions for the Schulich-Woolf Collection emphasized chronicles and works of history printed in England or in English in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Nearly all new acquisitions to the collection have been the only recorded copies in Canada.

The collection encompasses original printed resources and aims to exemplify not just important content, but the material form in which this content was presented to the world. It is a repository of illustration, geographical representation (in maps), printing history and social history, through signs of provenance, use, and annotation. Some of the oldest books in the collection include Historia Florentina by Leonardo Bruni, printed in 1476, gifted by Daniel Woolf, and Historia rerum ubique gestarum by Pope Pius II, printed in 1477, gifted by Seymour Schulich.

The combination of the personal collections of Mr. Schulich and Dr. Woolf was an excellent first step towards building one of the best rare book collections in Canada. This collection will serve to enrich the teaching and learning experience at Queen’s and support research activity across the broader academic community. Explore the collection via the library catalogue.

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