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VOLUME 2, May 2002

ISSN (Electronic version – English): 1496-5127


Since the appearance of the first HBiC/HLIC Newsletter/Bulletin one year ago, the project has moved from planning and early implementation into an intense phase of research and production. Volume I (Beginnings to 1840) authors are now writing to an August 2002 deadline; Volume II (1840 to 1918) authors are in discussion with their editors; Volume III (1918 to 1980) draft tables of contents are circulating within the editorial team. Schedules have been established with University of Toronto Press and Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal. The project’s five databases are in use by Volume I researchers, and will be ready for public launch in the autumn of this year. Last year when the first issue of the Newsletter/Bulletin went to press, we had held two successful conferences: the Volume I Open Conference in Toronto, and a one-day Prairie Print Culture Colloquium at University of Regina. HBiC/HLIC’s public events continued for the remainder of 2001 with two major conferences: the Volume II Open Conference in Montreal last May, and the Volume III Open Conference held in Vancouver in November. The editorial team continues to be encouraged, invigorated, and challenged by the scholars and students who participated in these gatherings and with whom we collaborate in the writing of volumes and the compilation of databases.

On a daily basis HBiC/HLIC’s strong team of post-doctoral fellows and graduate research assistants move the work of the project forward. Collaborating with emerging young scholars and providing them with opportunities for further training is one of the project’s central and most rewarding mandates. Since its inception the project has hired three post-doctoral fellows, six doctoral students and nearly 30 masters-level research assistants. This issue of the Newsletter/Bulletin has been turned over to them. Abstracts of their theses, articles about their research projects, and findings submitted from the project’s sites across Canada are featured.

HBiC/HLIC continues to consult with international colleagues, a number of whom attended our conferences and are writing for the volumes. Editors from other national book history projects are members of the project’s Advisory Board; their advice, and that of our Editorial Committee, on the draft tables of contents and on other matters has been invaluable, and we look forward to working with them over the coming years.

Within our own country, it is most appropriate to acknowledge here the national recognition earned by project editors in recent months. Two editors were awarded Raymond Klibansky Scholarly Book Prizes by the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada. Volume III Co-Editor Carole Gerson (with co-author Veronica Strong-Boag) won for Paddling her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake), and Yvan Lamonde, Co-General Editor and Volume II Co-Editor, for his Histoire sociale des idées au Québec, 1760-1896. The Raymond Klibansky Prizes reward excellence in writing in the social sciences and humanities. Jacques Michon, Volume III Co-Editor, was recently awarded a Canada Research Chair in books and publishing at Université de Sherbrooke. The Chairs recognize “world-class researchers” to foster scholarly studies and enable Canadian universities to achieve the highest levels of research excellence. This research Chair on books and publishing provides scholarships for postdoctoral, doctoral, and masters students at Sherbrooke, enhancing book history research in Québec. We are also delighted that Volume II Co-Editor Fiona Black has been appointed Assistant Professor at the School of Library and Information Studies, Dalhousie University. She continues her role as the project’s Prairie representative and with it her adjunct professorship at University of Regina.

On the administrative front the project is preparing for its October midterm review by the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and for the first authors’ conference, for Volume I, to be held in Toronto the following month. The project Web site ( is undergoing a major re-design, and will continue to be a source for research findings and news of the project.

As in past years, HBiC/HLIC will participate in both scholarly and public events throughout the coming months, attending major conferences such as the Bibliographical Society of Canada/Société bibliographique du Canada and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP). On 24 September, Volume I Co-Editor Gilles Gallichan and colleagues will host the Association des Bibliothécaires Parlementaires du Canada /Association of Parliamentary Librarians in Canada (APLIC) conference at the Quebec National Assembly. Also in September, Patricia Fleming and Yvan Lamonde will deliver the Wiggins Lecture at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Their topic will be print and reading in Montreal, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In Toronto, HBiC/HLIC will host the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section program at the American Library Association conference in 2003. And we will fly the project flag as we did last year, at Word on the Street in Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax, and at other events.

We invite our colleagues to consult the HBiC/HLIC Web site for project updates in the coming months as the project team forges ahead with its work. We look forward to an exciting year and to sharing the results with our colleagues in the next issue of the Newsletter/Bulletin.
Patricia Fleming, Yvan Lamonde, Judy Donnelly Rédacteurs du Newsletter/Bulletin Newsletter/Bulletin Editors


The HBiC/HLIC Electronic Resources team in Halifax is constructing a bilingual Web site and developing, in cooperation with other project teams, several book history databases. When the databases become publicly available, each will contain hundreds and, in some cases thousands, of searchable records designed to foster research on the history of Canada’s print culture. Although considerable work remains to be done, our original plan of offering users an outstanding online source of print culture information is rapidly taking shape.

Because users have different information needs, levels of education, and Web expertise, we want to create a site that will combine a wide spectrum of database resources with simple but ecient site navigation and search functionality. We need to ensure that users will be able to navigate the Web site and databases without diculty, access help pages and search interfaces easily, and obtain optimum recall and precision. This presents us with some interesting design challenges. Some of these were defined and tackled in the early stages of our project by drawing up a “storyboard”, a design device that permitted the pre-planning of navigational sequences and allowed us to understand how a user would interact with the site. By using the storyboard to experiment with different ideas and to stimulate discussion among team members we were able to develop an intuitive system of navigation, a site structure to host multiple databases, and similar search interfaces for each database.

We are currently completing construction of the Web site and are preparing the first five databases to be included when the site is publicly launched. Three of the databases contain bibliographical records of, respectively, textbooks, catalogues, and imprints. The Historical Literature Database/Banque de données bibliographiques sur l’histoire du livre et de l’imprimé (HLD/BBHLIC) is an enumerative bibliography of secondary sources concerning print culture, and the Canadian Book Trade Index/Index canadien des métiers du livre (CBTI/ICML) is a biographical/business database that lists book trade-related individuals and companies in Canada.

Via e-mail communication with other project teams we’ve developed field headings, record structures, and standardized text-entry rules for each database. Graduate assistants, in consultation with the Electronic Resources team, have written manuals to encourage a consistent data-entry style across databases. This creates quality control and ensures that users receive accurate information. Compilation of the databases, facilitated by the use of bibliographic database software, is currently underway at several project sites across Canada.

The HLD/BBHLIC is being compiled by the Electronic Resources Team and is the test database for Web site development. We use it to uncover the bugs, experiment with data entry, and test record migration to the backend database that will serve the Web. We are also using the HLD/BBHLIC to conduct our first usability tests before we venture online.

The overall design of the Web site is straightforward. From the home page users link to a table where each database is described briefly, and hyperlinks to respective search interfaces are provided. Each database has two search options. For inexperienced users of search engines, the “Basic Search” offers a simple way to specify keyword criteria and gather a relevant set of records. The “Advanced Search” permits term searching on specific fields and, for more sophisticated users, enables combined field searching with Boolean operators.

Help is available on the search interfaces, and instructions are consistent from one database to the next to increase user comfort. “Pop-up” text-boxes offer a guide to field descriptions, text-entry tips, and instructions for downloading and printing records.

We also want search functionality to be as efficient as possible. To this end, most of the fields in each database’s structure are entry access points, and terms in different fields can be searched in tandem with Boolean operators. Name consistency exists in appropriate fields (e.g., Author, Topics, and Publisher). When necessary, we have provided subject term lists so users have access to the same terms the indexers used.

In the case of the HLD/BBHLIC, the “list” grew into a thesaurus of terms that describe all subjects found in Canadian print culture literature. To facilitate subject searching, we divided the discipline of print culture into 48 broad categories. Users can search for a full range of material with a broad subject query. For those who seek more specific information, the broad categories have been divided into approximately four hundred narrow terms and precise searches can be conducted by combining terms at either level, or at both at the same time. Online access to the thesaurus, and the ability to coordinate any of the terms during a search, puts users in full control of designing subject search queries appropriate to their needs.

Through attention to intuitive navigation, standardized search interfaces, a detailed “Help” feature, and vocabulary control, we are confident that we are providing easy access to an excellent online resource, and ensuring users the fulfillment of every Web surfer’s wish: an experience in smooth sailing.
Anne MacKinnon et/and Marcus Leja, Assistants de recherche/Graduate Research Assistants Équipe des Ressources électroniques/ Electronic Resources Team, Dalhousie University


Most Americans learn about Canada in one of two ways: sports or tourism. But I’m a bookworm, and spent much of my New Jersey girlhood dreaming of idylls in Prince Edward Island with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s heroines, Anne and Emily. So it seems appropriate that I’m continuing to learn about Canada by immersing myself in book culture and print history as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for HBiC/HLIC.

Last summer, I joined the University of Toronto Volume I team as one of two GRAs focussing on Nova Scotia. My fellow researcher Johanna Smith had just convocated from the Faculty of Information Studies and was about to return to her work with the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia in Halifax, and we agreed that she would send more materials once she headed home.

My first group meeting with the other GRAs, and with Pat Fleming and Judy Donnelly, was fairly representative of our weekly summer sessions: we started off full of lively chat, and then dove straight into our work on two databases. For the Canadian Book Trade Index/√ćndex canadien des métiers du livre (CBTI/ICML) we focussed on the business of finding, recording, and classifying members of the book trade. The second project, the Canadian Imprints Database to 1840/Banque de données des imprimés canadiens jusqu’à 1840 (CID/BIC), is a compilation of data from existing print bibliographies and new data we have been collecting. At our inaugural meeting there was very little in the way of introductions because nearly all of us had been classmates in the Book History and Print Culture collaborative program at U of T before becoming colleagues at HBiC/HLIC, but we did need to attend to the divisions of labour for the summer.

Sophie Regalado worked on the CBTI/ICML manual, and selected Ontario and PEI as her provinces to research. Andrea Rotundo continued her work on catalogues with Yvan Lamonde, and provided counsel and valuable expertise with ProCite. Patricia Richl handled New Brunswick research before moving there to start her first job as a librarian at University of New Brunswick in Saint John, and Mary D’Angelo drafted the CID/BIC entry manual and thesaurus, and also took responsibility for Newfoundland material for both databases.

In typical summer fashion, the weeks and meetings ew by and August was suddenly breathing down our necks with Toronto’s first-ever State of Emergency heat wave. The CBTI/ICML manual was in final draft form, and the team made impressive progress every week on the CID/BIC manual. Record entry in both databases continued apace with technical assistance from the HBiC/HLIC Electronic Resources team at Dalhousie, and there seemed (and still seems) to be no end to the resources available to us. We continue our work with the help of three new GRAs, Jessica Bowslaugh, Nica Abush, and Pearce Carefoote, who joined the team in 2002.

Even now, I’m constantly amazed at the sheer volume of material we’ve been able to dig up and share. Actually, it’s the sharing that’s most impressive to me--that spirit of genuine collaboration and cooperation among the researchers has kept our enthusiasm high. We’re still immersed in record collection and data entry, transcribing entries from published sources, from records provided by the National Library of Canada and the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, and each week we either find or receive leads on new resources. It’s exciting to be a part of such an interesting project, and has been a delight to work in such a collegial environment.
Sophie Brookover, Assistante de recherche/Graduate Research Assistant, Volume I, University of Toronto


For purposes of documentation for Volume I, we are attempting to locate books with bookplates, signatures, marginalia, bookbinders’ marks, and old classification marks in libraries established in Quebec by religious communities. The team agreed that an image bank containing this information would be useful, particularly when the images are made available to HBiC/HLIC project researchers via the Internet. In order to create this image bank, we use a digital camera. Photocopying has been ruled out because of potential damage to these rare books and because it creates accumulations of paper.

The choice of a digital camera was made following very precise criteria. It had to be capable of taking, at very close range, clear and detailed images of almost illegible handwriting, and of all characteristics peculiar to printing or binding. It also had to be capable of reproducing, with precision and clarity, an entirely handwritten or printed text as well as the binding of a book. Finally, the camera had to be able to take pictures of very high quality, using only ambient lighting.

Our research is limited to old collections in libraries founded by religious communities in the Quebec and Montreal regions. We are also conducting research in parish archives. In Saint-Pierre on the Île d’Orléans we found antiphonaries, missals, and psalters dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the collection of the Bibliothèque du Séminaire de Québec we found a copy of Johannes Kepler’s Tabulae Rudolphinae, bound with the coat of arms of the chancellor Pierre Séguier, and signed by Jean-Félix Récher, curé of Quebec from 1749 to 1768. We also photographed books bound with the coats of arms of the intendants Jean Talon and Jacques Duchesneau, which had been presented as prizes to pupils at the Séminaire.

The books and other records are located by means of sampling library catalogues. When a catalogue mentions bookplates, etc., we choose ten titles per decade and try to have at least one title per subject. In cases where there is no detailed catalogue of a library’s collection of early books, we proceed by random sampling, choosing one title out of every five or six books, shelf by shelf. The images are then transferred to a computer and filed in folders labelled with an abbreviated title of the book from which each image was taken. A Word file is recorded in each of the folders, containing the usual bibliographical information, as well as a description of the content of the image.

It is useful for researchers to have access to digitized information such as bookplates, signatures, and marginalia. Rather than having a card recording the marginalia and the place where it was found in the original document, the researcher can now consult, over and over again, images showing this information in its original context. This procedure can also be applied to the comparative study of typefaces. The digitization of documents opens many such avenues which contribute to new research on books and the printed word.
Frédéric Roussel-Beaulieu, Assistant de recherche/Graduate Research Assistant, Volume I, Québec


My work for the HBiC/HLIC project has been a series of pleasant surprises and challenges since I started more than a year ago. I was surprised to be hired by Fiona Black as a Prairie provinces research assistant at University of Regina because, although I am interested in the project, I had no prior research experience in this field. I have learned a tremendous amount about the research process during my first year. I was also surprised when I was encouraged to write a paper for the HBiC/HLIC Volume III Conference, and more surprised when it was accepted. Nor did I anticipate that my work would take me to Montreal and Vancouver for conferences and team workshops, and to the less glamourous, but still fascinating Brandon, Manitoba, where I explored a hitherto unresearched archival collection.

I have engaged in several tasks as the prairie research assistant, relating to both the Volume II and Volume III periods. I added prairie items to the project’s Historical Literature Database/Banque de données bibliographiques sur l’histoire du livre et de l’imprimé, and am compiling entries for the Canadian Book Trade Index/Index canadien des métiers du livre (CBTI/ICML), from historical prairie directories on microfiche. In between, I had the adventure of researching, writing, and presenting my paper on Wheat Pool libraries at the Vancouver conference, where I was welcomed with kindness by scholars and graduate students.

Between roughly 1920 and 1960, before the development of adequate library extension services in the Prairies, the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Wheat Pools played an important but little known role in rural library service. The research sent me to the McKee Archives of Brandon University, where the fonds of the Manitoba Pool Elevators Company are located. As a bonus, the archives also hold the George E. Thorman School Textbook Collection, an interesting assortment of more than 800 books, previously unknown to the project, which I examined, and for which I developed a database to share with M. Paul Aubin for the Canadian Textbooks Database/Banque de données des manuels scolaires canadiens (CTD/BMSC), a resource which he is compiling in cooperation with the HBiC/HLIC project.

I have begun work on the Canadian Book Trade Index/Index canadien des métiers du livre (CBTI/ICML). CBTI/ICML will be a resource for book scholars nationwide and an international model for book historians in other countries contemplating similar undertakings. When Fiona Black first described the work, I thought it would be a breeze: straightforward copying of information from various sources into a database. But creating a database of prairie book trade members has given me new respect for the onerous, painstaking work of bibliographers: every new directory must be thoroughly combed, and so must the whole database with every new directory researched. I will certainly feel that I have accomplished something when the prairie data is completed, as will the other database research assistants, I am sure.

CBTI/ICML research will be occupying me for some time, but this summer I will also have the opportunity to co-author a paper on some of the preliminary findings on the book trade that the CBTI/ICML research has made possible. I am collaborating on this paper with the project’s two graduate research assistants at Dalhousie University. The paper will be presented at the Bibliographical Society of Canada’s conference in Halifax in June. More travel to a province I have not seen before, more opportunities, enjoyment, and challenges. Working for HBiC/HLIC has been an ideal position for me.
Elise Moore, Assistante de recherche/Research Assistant, Volume II, University of Regina


This doctoral dissertation examines the literary series [collection littéraire], considering it as both a form of publication defined and redefined by the publisher since the invention of printing, and as a paratextual component that has the ability to affect the process of reading the text. An original aspect of this work is that it combines, in the same analysis, fields of knowledge that are rarely studied together: the history of the book and of publishing, the sociology of literature and in particular the theory of the literary institution, the theory of paratextuality and reader response theory. This dissertation examines separately the two dimensions of the topic but follows a logical progression that concludes with a third section. The first section explores the hypothesis that the literary series is the outcome of a long process of definition and specialization which has accompanied the evolution of French publishing and literature. It then goes on to examine cases illustrating the “convergence” of the two, such as the “Bibliothèque bleue,” the “Bibliothèque universelle des romans,” the “Bibliothèque Charpentier,” the collections of livraisons illustrées published in the 1850s, the “Collection Michel Lévy,” and a few collections published by Flammarion and Fayard. Following a rereading of the Genettien paratexte (1987) that reviews and further refines the parameters of the concept (its boundaries, its components and their functions) in order to increase its scope of action, the second section explores in depth the essence of the encounter between the series and literature itself, and proposes a theory of the series which positions it in relation to a community of readers and recognizes a different functioning, different risks and effects depending on whether it is destined for a specialized readership or the general public. Finally, the third section picks up the historical thread that the first section suspended at the beginning of the twentieth century, folding this analysis into a case study of the series “Les Cahiers verts” (released in 1921 by the Librairie Bernard Grasset) that applies the theoretical tools developed in the second part.

Reference: Montreuil, Sophie, « Le Livre en série : Histoire et théorie de la collection littéraire », thèse de doctorat présentée au département de langue et littérature françaises, McGill University, 2001.
Sophie Montreuil, Boursière postdoctorale/Post-doctoral Fellow, Volume II, McGill University


This post-doctoral research falls within the framework of the HBIC/HLIC project and is supervised by Jacques Michon, professor at Université de Sherbrooke and Co-Editor of Volume III, dealing with the years 1918-1980.

In view of my previous training in the history of the labour movement, my work has focussed on an historical study of the Association des maîtres imprimeurs de Montréal (AMI). Founded in 1933, the Association began publishing a newspaper in 1937 to serve as a medium for the ideological and social views of the AMI, and for its professional demands. A systematic study of Le Maître-imprimeur has enabled me to reconstruct, to a large extent, the history of this dynamic association which was instrumental in setting up a provincial association of master printers in 1938 and the Association canadienne des arts graphiques the following year. Moreover, the AMI did not confine itself to protecting the professional interests of its members but also organized many social activities (exhibitions, lectures, banquets, “printing week,” a typography competition, etc.), took an interest in the training of young apprentices at the École technique de Montréal and the École des arts graphiques, followed the progress of technological advances, and concerned itself with questions relating to the history of printing. In 1940, for example, it took the initiative in preserving the memory of the printer Fleury Mesplet by having a commemorative plaque placed at the corner of Rue Saint-Jean and Rue Notre-Dame in Montreal, on the very spot where his print shop was believed to have stood.

The newspaper, which is a goldmine of information, also enabled me to retrace the careers of about 100 Quebec printers, thanks to the publication of copious biographical notes. Along the same lines, I made an inventory of more than 60 historical studies of printing presses, publishing houses, stationery stores, etc. The École des arts graphiques, officially opened in 1944, was also one of the central concerns of the AMI. The articles appearing in Le Maître-imprimeur thus make it possible to reconstruct the origins of that school where young apprentices of the time received a sound professional training.
Éric Leroux, Boursier postdoctoral/Post-doctoral Fellow, Volume III, Université de Sherbrooke


This January I began my fourth semester as an HBiC/HLIC Graduate Research Assistant. The project has been good to me, providing financial support, an introduction to an engaged and engaging community of scholars, training in research skills, and, last but not least, a key to the busy HBiC/HLIC office at SFU, which offers - on clear days at least - an impressive panorama of city, sea, and mountains. Even stuffing the conference packages was made pleasurable by that view.

My research focuses on the history and significance of writer-in-residence programs in Canada, a project I’m conducting under the supervision of Volume III Co-Editor Carole Gerson. Now in my second year, I’ve made a start on the library and archival research this project requires.

In fall 2001, I travelled to Ottawa where I visited the Canada Council for the Arts, the National Archives, and the National Library. This research formed the basis of a paper I presented on the Canada Council’s writer-in-residence programs at the Open Conference for Volume III. As I highlighted in this presentation, Canada Council support for writer residencies has been significant: since 1965, the Council has helped fund over 250 writer placements in universities, colleges, libraries, and other community venues across the country.

One of my plans for 2002 is to identify other provincial, municipal, institutional, and private patrons of writers-in-residence. The placements they support may not necessarily be called “Writer-in-Residence” positions: I’ll be looking for any program that provides a space and stipend for a writer to write and to mentor other writers. Author-residency positions at the large universities, such as Toronto, Alberta, and Concordia, are perhaps the best known and longest-running; however, programs at other venues are also making their mark: Malaspina University-College recently established a Ralph Gustafson Chair of Poetry, Berton House in Dawson City has opened its doors to sojourning authors, and programs like Poets in the Schools and Writers in Electronic Residence (WIER) have introduced professional writers to public school classrooms. While many of these programs operate in conjunction with Canada Council funding, some do not.

A second goal for 2002 is to make contact with individuals who have participated in writer residencies, including authors, administrators, librarians, university faculty members, and students who have worked with writers in residence. I’m very interested in interviewing individuals about their experiences.

When I’m not working on my own thesis, I’m reviewing other people’s as potential additions to the project’s Historical Literature Database/Banque de données bibliographiques sur l’histoire du livre et de l’imprimé. If you are, or know someone who is, writing a thesis or research report on a Canadian book history topic, I would love to hear about it. (Email:
Nancy Earle, Étudiante de doctorat et assistante de recherche/Doctoral candidate and Graduate Research Assistant, Volume III, Simon Fraser University


Distribution, so essential to a book, is provided by bookstores, which thus acquire a power that should not be underestimated. A book must be seen in order to reach potential readers. In addition to reviews and advertisements, it gains exposure on the shelves of a bookstore. Furthermore, a book must be accessible before it can be read. Bookstores, therefore, are situated at the very centre of a book’s life cycle, between the demand of the reading public and the supply provided by the publisher.

Not many studies have been done on bookstores, however. It is to help fill this void that we have undertaken to define some of their characteristics using surveys conducted by Statistics Canada: their number, their geographical distribution, their evolution over time. A study of Canadian censuses and publications relating to the retail trade, done by Statistics Canada, has not only made it possible to answer our questions, but has also brought to light a mine of information on the changes that have taken place in the world of the Canadian bookstore since 1930. (1)

The data made it possible to establish how large a population a bookstore needed at various times in order to be viable. They also brought out the somewhat different characteristics of the various regions of Canada. In British Columbia, for example, bookstores are very numerous, but small. Those in the Atlantic provinces declined dramatically beginning in the 1950s, while those in Quebec began to prosper during the same period.

It has also been possible to confirm how strongly bookstores have been drawn to big cities, especially the intellectual capitals: Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Until the 1960s, moreover, bookstores tended to locate almost exclusively in downtown areas, avoiding the suburbs. From 1960 until the present day, bookstore chains have experienced a spectacular growth, especially between 1970 and 1986.

As it has turned out, second-hand bookstores occupy a very marginal place in the book market. In 1971, 13% of bookstores sold used books, but they accounted for only 3% of bookstores’ total sales. Campus bookstores occupy an important place in this market (since 1966, about a quarter of all bookstore sales), but they specialize in textbooks.

After analysing the statistical data, it seemed logical to turn my attention to a thriving bookstore. A study of the Déom bookstore (2), established in Montreal in 1896, showed that a bookstore is not only a collection of books, but a place where people exchange ideas and interact. There is evidence to show that many important Montreal intellectuals of the early twentieth century became regular customers of Déom, making it a significant cultural centre.

Bookstores also exercise a definite, although variable, influence on the reading habits of their customers, if only through the titles they choose to display. The manner of displaying a book (décor, comments, location, number of copies, etc.) also has an effect and can inuence the customer’s perception of the book. (3)

There remain several avenues to be explored that would lead to a better understanding of the role and influence of the bookstore as an instrument of dissemination. Today, the domination of the market by mega-bookstore chains and the explosive growth in the number of titles pose new conceptual questions. If a longer period were studied, it might be possible to link the evolution of bookstores in the twentieth century with other cultural, economic, or social factors, in order to understand the conditions leading to their emergence or decline. Finally, there are many booksellers who deserve more attention. Many of them have left little in the way of written records, but they nevertheless disseminated books throughout Canada.

1. This research was the subject of a paper read at the Vancouver conference last November.
2. F. Brisson, « La librairie Déom au début du XXe siècle : l’édification d’un réseau d’influence par le commerce du livre » (“The Déom bookstore at the beginning of the twentieth century: the creation of a network of influence through the book business.”), Lieux et réseaux de sociabilité littéraire au Québec, sous la dir. de P. Rajotte, Québec, Éditions Nota bene, 2001, p. 189-226.
3. This topic was the subject of a paper entitled “Bookstores and their effect on reading,” given at a colloquium on the theme of reading, held at the Université de Sherbrooke in May 2001. The proceedings of this colloquium will be published shortly by Éditions Nota bene.
Frédéric Brisson, Assistant de recherche/Graduate Research Assistant, Volume III, Université de Sherbrooke


Were you aware that in the first decade of the twentieth century publications for the blind in a variety of embossed-type systems circulated in Canada? And that presently, talking book technology is in a state of transition as a shift takes place from audio tapes to CD-ROM, with the random searching capacity of the latter medium being exploited to provide access to books in ways not previously enjoyed by the visually impaired?

The history of publishing and library services for the blind and visually-impaired in Canada is a topic about which I’ve been curious for a long time, and I’m delighted that my position as a post-doctoral fellow with HBiC/HLIC has provided me with an opportunity to pursue research in this area of Canadian book history. When I began this work in spring 2001, the first place I contacted was the library branch of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). My inquiry met with a positive and supportive response from CNIB Library staff, and since my initial contact I’ve been treated to a tour of the Library by Eric Sharf, while Julia Morgan, Shelagh Paterson, and Susan Guglielmin have facilitated my use of research materials available on-site.

Much of the CNIB’s history, including that of its library and publishing activities, is documented in 100-odd volumes held by the National Archives of Canada. During a six-day visit to the archives this past September, I barely scratched the surface of what these materials have to reveal about the purchase, circulation, and production of embossed print and audio titles by the CNIB since the creation of the organization’s progenitor, the Canadian Free Library for the Blind, in 1906. Nonetheless, I was able to take away with me fairly comprehensive notes on the Library’s early years, and my plan is to present a paper on the 1906-1918 period at the Library History Group of the Canadian Library Association in June 2002.

An unanticipated, but delightful, outcome of my interaction with the CNIB this past year was an invitation from Jennifer Horwath to be a guest on the Library’s client listserv, Skyclub-l. During October 2001, I responded to questions about my research, and, in turn, had the opportunity to ask Skyclub-l members for their thoughts about books and reading. Their comments were generous, thoughtful, and provocative, and will do much to inform the research and writing still to come.
Janet Friskney, Boursière postdoctorale/Post-doctoral Fellow, Volume III, Simon Fraser University


In the past, students of the sociology of literature and the history of the book have paid little attention to the subject of professional groups of authors and publishers. Nevertheless, these groups play a significant role in bringing autonomy to the literary field. This dissertation attempts to define the concept of a professional association, to integrate it into theoretical studies of the literary field, and then to present an historical analysis of professional associations of authors and publishers in Quebec between 1921 and 1960.

At the outset, I present a consideration of the concept of a network as elaborated by Vincent Lemieux, the notion of institution as defined by Jacques Dubois and Lucie Robert, and that of apparatus in the sense in which it is used by Louis Althusser and Robert Fossaert. Then, referring to the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Alain Viala on the interplay of forces in the literary field, I analyse the conditions under which professional associations have emerged, as well as their present status, in order to identify their general characteristics.

What follows is intended as a demonstration, that is, a study of professional associations in the literary field in Quebec before 1960. A chapter devoted to the French section of the Canadian Authors’s Association describes the birth and development of this first professional group which, although subordinate to the English-speaking federation, continued its search for autonomy. The next three chapters deal with the Société des écrivains canadiens. Through a study of the structure, operations, and size of membership, as well as an analysis of activities intended to promote and protect the interests of writers, a picture emerges of an association which, in spite of some success, had difficulty in acquiring true professional status. A final chapter, on the history of the Société des éditeurs canadiens du livre français, retraces the changes that affected the publishing industry after World War II and soon heralded a complete restructuring of the world of books.

Reference: Vincent, Josée, « Les professionnels du livre à la conquête de leur marché: les associations professionnelles dans le champ littéraire au Québec (1921-1960) », thèse de doctorat présentée è la faculté des lettres et sciences humaines, Université de Sherbrooke, 2002.
Josée Vincent, Assistante de recherche/Graduate Research Assistant, Volume III, Université de Sherbrooke


Work is progressing well on the bilingual database of catalogues related to Canadian print culture (publishers, booksellers, public and private libraries, and book auctions), under the editorship of Volume II Co-Editor Yvan Lamonde of McGill University and the technical direction of Bertrum MacDonald at Dalhousie University. Catalogues are added weekly to the database, which currently numbers 700 titles and will have reached 1000 titles by spring 2002. The catalogues range in date from 1780 to 1980 thus far, and can be searched by publisher, bookseller, auctioneer, printer, or institute, as well as by language, date, and place of publication. The database can also be searched by the number of pages in the catalogue and by genre. For example, a library historian could search the following library genres: law libraries, Sunday school libraries, legislative libraries, mechanics’ institute libraries, company libraries, and school libraries.

Whereas the catalogues of public libraries reveal the reading interests of a given community, catalogues of private libraries reveal the collecting habits of an individual, usually a prominent member of Canadian society. The libraries of named collectors were sold at book auctions, as were many anonymous book collections. Sales catalogues are particularly interesting when annotated with the successful bidders’ names and with the prices realized. One such example is the Catalogue sale of valuable collection of books relating to Canada, which took place on 11 June 1891, at the Toronto auction house of Oliver, Coate & Co. (established 1834). One of the most extensive and interesting of the personal libraries was the “magnificent private library” of the Hon. L.R. Masson, the sale of which took place in Montreal on 9, 11 and 12 April 1904. The 153-page catalogue for this sale was printed in English and French by La Patrie for the auction firm of Walter M. Kearns. Because the printed catalogues of these auctions are scarce, those that have been located and preserved in libraries are all the more valuable.

Publishers’ and booksellers’ catalogues reveal what was available to the Canadian reading public. They also reveal the relative importance of the firm, by virtue of the number and variety of titles on offer at a given time. William Warwick’s The Cottage Library Catalogue and List of Milner & Co.’s Publications (Toronto: [1876]) offers an astonishing array of titles of “Popular Works,” “New Books Published by W. Warwick,” and “Authorized School Books”. As well, an advertisement on the last page of the catalogue provides a complete listing of the 18 publishing houses whose stock Warwick kept in addition to his own publications.

Researchers can also track the evolution of the catalogue as a genre from its early stage as a simple listing of titles with brief descriptions of the binding or plates to its later stage of bibliographical sophistication. Catalogues provide us with a glimpse of the intellectual world of the past, and they make for fascinating reading.
Andrea Rotundo, Étudiante de doctorat et assistante de recherche/Doctoral student and Graduate Research Assistant, University of Toronto


The school textbook, after a long period of neglect, even disdain, is beginning to acquire its letters patent of nobility in the world of research. As evidence I offer the interest shown by the editors of the HBiC/HLIC project. A reliable synthesis of the complex world of textbooks cannot be contemplated, however, until an essential instrument is available: the catalogue. To this end, work is already underway, and is now, or soon will be, available on the Web.

School textbooks in Quebec
Work on a computerized catalogue of textbooks produced in Quebec has been ongoing for several years and can be consulted at, made available by the Université Laval library.

As of 1 January, 13,131 documents printed between 1765 and 2002 have been located, described, and classified. Once the project is finished, there will be well over 15,000 references. The catalogue lists textbooks written and/or produced in Quebec, including foreign textbooks that have been adapted, translated, or copied without change - sometimes plagiarized - and reprinted here. Textbooks purchased abroad, even if they have been used in our educational institutions, have been omitted. For each reprint there is a separate description, as complete as the first edition. Descriptions of most titles have been completed by examining the document itself, either on paper or microfiche.

The database can be searched by author, discipline, keyword in title, publisher, year, or period of publication. Regardless of the query, the results appear first by discipline, and then in chronological order within each discipline, thereby facilitating the appearance on the screen of logical entities. It is not dicult to understand the usefulness of such a database for research on the history of printed texts, if only by making it possible to obtain quantifiable data, either on the output of textbooks by a particular publisher, or to see how much of another publisher’s output consisted of textbooks.

School textbooks in Canada
A similar task was begun last summer for Canadian textbooks, excluding those published in Quebec. The methodology is the same as that of the database of Quebec publications: textbooks produced in Canada are recorded, including numerous examples from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the United States that have been republished, reprinted, or adapted in Canada. The same research queries can be used with the added possibility of accessing records by place of publication, so that the output of books can be shown province by province. There is another difference. Obviously, in view of the fact that collections are dispersed across the country, from Vancouver to Newfoundland, it is impossible to give a first-hand description of every textbook. Instead, reference is made to catalogues provided by the different libraries that hold textbook collections, so that the compilers are dependent on the accuracy of catalogue information. Since the structure of the two databases is similar - for example, the formulation of the names of disciplines is the same - useful comparisons can be made between the output of publications in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

To date, the collection of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions and that of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, have been closely examined, yielding nearly 3,500 references. Examination of two collections from University of British Columbia is in progress. The catalogue will be made available online by the HBiC/HLIC Electronic Resources team at Dalhousie University in Halifax within a few months.
Paul Aubin, Centre interuniversitaire d’études québécoises, Université Laval


One of the most effective ways of promoting collaboration among book history scholars is to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of papers. The HBiC/HLIC project has held four public conferences at our sites across Canada. The first, for Volume I in November 2000, which was featured in the last HBiC/HLIC Newsletter/Bulletin, saw close to 100 people gather at University of Toronto for two days of papers. The three conferences held since that time have continued to exceed expectations in terms of participation by and enthusiasm from both new and established scholars. One of our greatest pleasures has been the response from colleagues in a wide range of disciplines: history, science and technology, music, photography, geology, popular culture, women’s studies, and Native studies, as well as archives, bibliography, literature, and library-related themes.

On 16 March 2001, the Prairie Print Culture Colloquium was held at University of Regina. Attendees included book historians, archivists, literary specialists, librarians, and booksellers, with papers highlighting the critical role of Women’s Institutes in setting up libraries in the West, contemporary Native Canadian literature, technical books, and archival resources. Discussion continued through lunch at the Faculty Club, and the day ended with a panel on future directions and topics for book history research in the Prairies.

Volume II took centre stage at the open conference held 18-19 May 2001 at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec (BNQ) in Montreal. Twenty-one papers were presented on topics including the working conditions of Quebec typographers, Canadians in the late Victorian British literary market, a Newfoundland literary society, the use of bilingual textbooks in the assimilation of Ukrainians in Western Canada, and the introduction of photographs in books. Following the first day’s sessions, participants mingled at a reception sponsored by Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal. The draft table of contents for Volume II was distributed for discussion at the Saturday morning session with an audience of about 100 people; many participants welcomed the opportunity to offer suggestions to the editors. BNQ staff mounted a delightful exhibit of books, magazines, realia, and other items relating to the conference papers.

The project’s Volume III team geared up for its open conference, held 15-17 November at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre Campus in downtown Vancouver. One hundred and three people gathered for an exhilarating three days of book history. Forty papers were presented to the hardy attendees. A sampling of topics includes drama publishing, censorship, small presses, the Macmillan Company of Canada, tabloids in the inter-war period, Canadian pulp magazines, Montreal’s first newspaper specifically for Black readers, and Yiddish literature. Conference goers participated in a discussion of the draft table of contents for Volume III, and offered useful comments to the editors. Sunny skies provided a suitable backdrop and a fitting end to HBiC/HLIC’s year of conferences.

An important aspect of these conferences was the participation of HBiC/HLIC post-doctoral fellows and graduate research assistants, who presented papers on their own research and also provided tremendous support in the planning and organization of each event. In order to involve students outside the project, HBiC/HLIC sponsored a travel fund for students across Canada who wished to attend the Montreal and Vancouver conferences. Twelve graduate students were funded to attend. Their enthusiastic post-conference reports underline the importance of developing a network of young scholars working in Canadian book history.

Although the Volume III conference marked the end of the project’s major public events for the next few years, team members will participate in upcoming book history conferences within Canada and abroad. The project also plans to play a major role in 2005 at the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) conference in Halifax.

Abstracts and programs from all HBiC/HLIC conferences are available on the project Web site. In addition, a number of speakers have generously allowed the project to post their papers on the Web. If you have presented a paper at an HBiC/HLIC conference and would like to publish your work on the site, please contact me for more information. We also encourage anyone working in Canadian book history to add his or her topic to the Current Research list.
Judy Donnelly, Responsable administrative/Project manager


Roch Carrier, National Library of Canada
Roger Chartier, École des Hautes études en Sciences sociales, Paris
Ramsay Cook, Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Claude Galarneau, Université Laval
Robert A. Gross, A History of the Book in America, College of William and Mary
Francess Halpenny, University of Toronto
Ernie Ingles, University of Alberta
Wallace Kirsop, A History of the Book in Australia, Monash University
Warren McDougall, A History of the Book in Scotland, Edinburgh University
David McKitterick, A History of the Book in Britain, Trinity College, Cambridge
George L. Parker, Royal Military College
Eric Swanick, New Brunswick Legislative Library
Jean-Pierre Wallot, Université d’Ottawa
Ian Wilson, National Archives of Canada


Sandra Alston, University of Toronto
William Barker, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Antoine del Busso, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal
Gwendolyn Davies, University of New Brunswick
Cynthia Good, Penguin Books Canada Ltd.
Elaine Hoag, National Library of Canada
Leslie Howsam, University of Windsor
Kenneth Landry, Association québécoise pour l’étude de l’imprimé
Jean-René Lassonde, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec
Ian Maclaren, University of Alberta
Peter McNally, McGill University
William H. New, University of British Columbia
Kristen Pederson, University of Toronto Press
Denis Saint-Jacques, Centre de recherche en littérature québécoise, Université Laval
Germaine Warkentin, University of Toronto
Bruce Whiteman, University of California



PATRICIA FLEMING, University of Toronto
Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
140 St. George St.Toronto ON Canada M5S 3G6
Voice: 416-978-2884 Fax: 416-978-7097


PATRICIA FLEMING, University of Toronto

YVAN LAMONDE, Université McGill
Département de langue et littérature françaises
Université McGill
3460 McTavish
Montréal QC Canada H3A 1X9
Voice: 514-398-6887 Fax: 514-398-8557


PATRICIA FLEMING, University of Toronto

Reconstitution des Débats
Bibliothèque de l’Assemblée nationale, Québec
Edifice Jean-Antoine-Panet 1020,
rue des Parlementaires, 3e étage
Québec QC Canada G1A 1A3
Voice: 418-644-5459 Fax: 418-646-4873


Department of English
University of Regina
Regina SK Canada S4S 0A2
Voice :306-585-4216 Fax: 306-585-4827

YVAN LAMONDE, Université McGill


Department of English, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby BC Canada V5A 1S6
Voice: 604-291-3631 Fax: 604-291-5737

Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines, Université de Sherbrooke
2500 boul. de l’Université
Sherbrooke QC Canada J1K 2R1
Voice: 819-821-8000, poste 2267 Fax: 819-821-7285


School of Library and Information Studies, Faculty of Management
Dalhousie University
Halifax NS Canada B3H 3J5
Voice: 902-494-2472 Fax: 902-494-2451


Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
140 St. George St. Toronto ON M5S 3G6
Voice: 416-978-8688 Fax: 416-978-7097


The project editors welcome information about research on the history of the book in Canada currently underway. We invite you to visit the project website or to contact any member of the editorial team.


The History of the Book in Canada project gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative Program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and our site universities: Simon Fraser University, University of Regina, University of Toronto, McGill University, Université de Sherbrooke, and Dalhousie University.

The Newsletter of the History of the Book in Canada is published annually by the History of the Book in Canada project.

Editors: Judy Donnelly, Patricia Fleming
Design & Production: Stan Bevington, Coach House Press
Translation: Véronique Ponce, Yvan Lamonde
Copy Editing & Proofreading: Janet Friskney, Andrea Rotundo
Printing: Coach House Press, Toronto
ISSN (Electronic version - English): 1496-5127

Please send your comments or requests for additional copies of the newsletter to:

Judy Donnelly
Project Manager
Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto
140 St. George St. Toronto ON, Canada M5S 3G6