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History of the Project Top of Page

It was in Ottawa in the summer of 1993 during the Institute on Canadian Bibliography, sponsored by the Bibliographical Society of Canada/Société bibliographique du Canada (BSC/SbC) and the National Library of Canada, that the general editors, Patricia Fleming and Yvan Lamonde, first discussed a history of the book in Canada. In 1995 they chaired an exploratory session at the BSC/SBC meeting in Montreal and, the following year in Halifax, presented a preliminary report from the working committee which included Leslie Howsam (University of Windsor), Germaine Warkentin (University of Toronto), and Bruce Whiteman, (then of McGill and now at the University of California). The well-attended and enthusiastic founding conference for the History of the Book in Canada held at the National Library of Canada in 1997 set the direction for the HBiC/HLIC project. With Patricia Fleming (University of Toronto) as Project Director, and Co-General Editor along with Yvan Lamonde (McGill University), an editorial team was assembled and the group applied for funding as a Major Collaborative Research Initiative under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The purpose of the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI), as outlined on the SSHRCC Web site, is “to strengthen Canadian research capacity in the humanities and social sciences by promoting high quality, innovative, collaborative research, and unique student training opportunities in a collaborative research environment. The program is intended for leading scholars with a solid track record and past experience in collaborative research, student training and grant management. The program seeks to support research of such significance that it brings international recognition to the participating Canadian scholars.”

In December 1999, the History of the Book in Canada/Histoire du livre et de l’imprimé au Canada project received word that its application was successful and early in the year 2000 a grant of 2.3 million dollars over five years was announced.

Objectives Top of Page

The primary objective of the project was to produce a three-volume interdisciplinary history of the book in Canada from the beginnings to 1980. Texts were written by collaborators in English or French then translated for publication in two editions, French and English. A parallel objective was the development of electronic resources to support work on the print volumes and to create new tools for analysis and comparative research. Within the scholarly community HBiC/HLIC established a research model for Canadian book history which is broadly based in cultural, literary, social, and economic studies; and contributed to the consolidation of a discipline and to the training of young scholars. In libraries and archives across the country, project editors, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate research assistants, as well as all the authors who collaborated as writers of the three volumes, promoted the use of Canada’s recorded heritage. Another important objective of the HBiC/HLIC team was to represent Canadian book history to the international book history community.

Our SitesTop of Page

The project operated the following seven sites across Canada:

Vancouver: Simon Fraser University:

Carole Gerson, Volume III Co-Editor:
Janet Friskney, Post-doctoral Fellow and Vol. III Associate Editor

Regina: University of Regina:

Fiona Black, Volume II Co-Editor:

Toronto: University of Toronto:

Patricia Fleming, Project Director, Co-General Editor, Volume I Co-Editor, Volume II Co-Editor:

Montreal: Université McGill:

Yvan Lamonde, Co-General Editor, Volume I Co-Editor, Volume II Co-Editor:
Sophie Montreuil, Post-doctoral Fellow

Sherbrooke: Université de Sherbrooke:

Jacques Michon, Volume III Co-Editor:
Josée Vincent, Research Associate
Éric Leroux, Post-doctoral Fellow
Dominique Marquis, Post-doctoral Fellow
Pascale Ryan, Post-doctoral Fellow


Gilles Gallichan, Volume I Co-Editor:

Halifax: Dalhousie University:

Bertrum MacDonald, Editor of Electronic Resources:
Fiona Black, Volume II Co-Editor:

Toronto: Project Head Office: University of Toronto, Faculty of Information. Office closed 2007. Contact:

Judy Donnelly, Project Manager: