Previous In-House ExhibitionsBack to Exhibitions

A Contemplative Angler (2018-19)

A Contemplative Angler: Selections from the Bruce P. Dancik Collection of Angling Books

Curator: Justin Hanisch

October 2018 — January 2019

A visually-stunning exhibition showcasing highlights from an extraordinary collection of rare books and ephemeral publications in the Bruce P. Dancik Collection of Angling Books. Many of the books held in the collection are titles of extreme rarity, often illustrated with woodcuts, copper or steel engravings, chromolithographs, and photoengravings. The Dancik Collection was donated to the library over a period of several years by Bruce Dancik, and some further book acquistions were made possible with funds generously contributed by Brenda Laishley and other donors. We invite you to support the collection. The catalogue for this exhibition can be purchased in person in the Peel library for $50 (cash only) and will soon be available through University of Alberta Press and Indigo.

Experiment (2018)

Experiment: Printing the Canadian Imagination

Curator: David McKnight

April – September 2018

This exhibition showcased highlights from an extensive collection of Canadian little magazines, Canadian small press and micro-press imprints (including most of the 1,500 Coach House Press titles), and a complementary research archive. As a determined collector/librarian with considerable passion and resolve, David McKnight invested 30 years developing a private collection that has considerable potential for research on Canadian Modernist poetry, avant-garde literature, and the production of small magazines in Canada. The “David McKnight Canadian Little Magazine and Small Press Collection” was generously donated to the Peel library by David McKnight and Lillian Eyre in memory of Professor Wynne Francis. The exhibition was featured in an article by Sierra Bilton entitled "A Century of Subculture" in VUE WEEKLY (9 May 2018). The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition can be purchased in person in the Peel library for $40 (cash only) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Designed by Natalie Olsen and edited by Cheryl Cundell, the Experiment exhibition catalogue won an Award of Excellence in the annual UCDA Design Competition (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2018) from the University & College Designers Association.

Salt, Sword, and Crozier (2017-18)

Salt, Sword, and Crozier: Books and Coins from the Prince-Bishopric of Salzburg (c.1500–c.1800)

Curators: Felice Lifshitz and Joseph F. Patrouch

September 2017 – February 2018 

Like the popes in Rome, the Prince-Bishops of Salzburg ruled over substantial territories as secular princes. Entitled Salt, Sword, and Crozier, this exhibition highlighted their dual authority—the princely sword and the bishop’s staff or crozier—and the basis of their economic power in their control of natural resources such as salt. The exhibition showcased books from the Archbishop of Salzburg's Library, printed from the fifteenth through the early-nineteenth century, supplemented by coins minted under the authority of successive archbishops beginning in the twelfth century and ending in 1786. Check out a story in The Quad (30 Nov 2017) based on an interview with the curators: Lessons Learned from 500-Year-Old Books: 10 Tips to Curate a Great Exhibit. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition can be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo

Designed by Lara Minja and edited by Cheryl Cundell, the Salt, Sword, and Crozier exhibition catalogue won an Award of Excellence in the annual UCDA Design Competition (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2018) from the University & College Designers Association. In the same competition, an exhibition pamphletentitled Binding Fragments: Book Covers in the Salzburg Collectiondesigned by Sergio Serrano, also won an Award of Excellence.

Mounties on the Cover (2017)

Curator: Al Lund

March – July 2017

The Mountie appeared in hundreds of Hollywood movies but was more often seen in the works of hundreds of artists and illustrators, on the covers of thousands of dust jackets, magazines, and comic books. Mounties on the Cover was a visually stunning exhibition that offered a sampling of the thousands of cover illus­trations of Mounties that were published. The exhibition contained highlights of a large and extraordinary collection of books that depict the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The collection represents nearly 50 years of collecting by distinguished Staff Sergeant (retired) Al Lund of the RCMP, who generously donated his entire collection to the University of Alberta Libraries. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition can be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Designed by Lara Minja, the Mounties on the Cover exhibition catalogue won an Award of Excellence in the annual UCDA Design Competition (Baltimore, Maryland, 2017) from the University & College Designers Association.

The Last Best West (2016-17)

The Last Best West: Glimpses of the Prairie Provinces from the Golden Age of Postcards

Curator: Ken Tingley

November 2016 – January 2017

Curated by Edmonton's first historian laureate, this exhibition of prairie postcards documented the settlement and urbanization of the Canadian Northwest. It was a visually rich display of farms and family groups, as well as important events, disasters, and buildings. In the later decades of the nineteenth century, the postcard was at its zenith of popularity as a low-cost and efficient means of transmitting brief messages. By the first decade of the twentieth century, many cities, towns, and villages were home to photographers who produced a mass of fascinating and informative images for picture postcards. There is an extensive collection of postcards digitized through the Peel's Prairie Provinces database here. Click link to view a video with Ken Tingley talking about The Last Best West exhibition and Prairie Postcard Collection (runs 13:44). The original catalogue for this re-mounted exhibition (2011) is available in Rutherford Library (NC 1878.7 C3 T55 2011) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

George Baxter (2015-16)

George Baxter, Master Colour Printer: Oil-Coloured Prints from the Donald and Barbara Cameron Collection

Curator: Merrill Distad

March – April 2015 and June – September 2016                                                              

A milestone in the art of colour printing, George Baxter’s patented process used oil-based, coloured inks to produce engraved prints of extraordinary detail and beauty, totalling an estimated 20,000,000 copies of almost 400 different subjects. These ranged from the religious and sentimental, to portrait prints of public figures and celebrities, British and European architecture and landscapes, as well as scenes from the Crimean War, Australian gold rush, and Crystal Palace exhibitions. No one did more to bring colourful artworks within reach of the humblest householder’s purse, nor leave a more colourful legacy for generations of admiring collectors of Victoriana. This exhibition was interrupted when the Peel library closed for renovations (3 April 2015 – 21 June 2016). The catalogue for this exhibition is available for sale in person in the Peel library for $15 (cash only, no dealers).

The Thinking Heart (2014-15)

The Thinking Heart: The Literary Archive of Wilfred Watson

Curators: Paul Hjartarson and Shirley Neuman

October 2014 – February 2015

This exhibition celebrated the life and work of avant-garde poet and playwright Wilfred Watson. Drawing on the rich collection of letters, notebooks, manuscripts, and sketchbooks in the Wilfred Watson Fonds in the University of Alberta Archives, this exhibition traced Watson's development as an author-scholar and explored the lifelong dialogue he had with his wife: ground-breaking author Sheila Watson. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Rutherford library (PS 8545 A9 Z85 2014) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Painted Faces on the Prairies (2014)

Painted Faces on the Prairies: Cantonese Opera and the Edmonton Chinese Community

Curator: Helen Kwan Yee Cheung

July – September 2014

This exhibition told of life experiences on the prairies by highlighting the central importance of Cantonese opera to the growing Chinese community in Edmonton over nearly one hundred years. The materials on display were drawn from a much larger collection relating to the Chinese Experience in Canada. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Rutherford library (ML 1713.8 E36 B78 2014) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Wow, open this! (2014)

"Wow, open this!" Paper Engineering in Books and Artists' Books 

Curator: Kevin Zak

March – June 2014

Books with movable elements that delight children with that “wow” moment are commonly known as “pop-ups.” Originally, such movable elements were used to enhance the text in a scholarly work for diverse purposes such as teaching anatomy, making astronomical predictions, and telling fortunes. This exhibition explored movable elements in early scholarly books, in a range of children’s pop-ups, and in contemporary artists’ books. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition is available in Rutherford Library (N 7433.38 T69 W69 2014) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $15 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo

Curated and designed by Kevin Zak and edited by Cheryl Cundell, the pop-up pamphlet for Wow, open this! won a 2015 Leab Exhibition Award (Division IV) from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL).  In addition, the catalogue for this exhibition won an Award of Excellence in the 44th Annual UCDA Design Competition (Long Beach, California, 2014) from the University & College Designers Association.

Collecting Culinaria (2013-14)

Collecting Culinaria: The Linda Miron Distad Culinaria Collection 

Curators: Merrill Distad and Caroline Lieffers

October 2013 – February 2014

Whether she was dealing with scraps of information, other people’s words, or specially-selected ingredients, librarian-researcher-editor-chef Linda Miron Distad (1944–2012) had a special ability to “combine, separate, enhance, reduce, clarify, liaise,” and thereby to make magic. This extremely popular exhibition of books and ephemera relating to the preparation and enjoyment of food over several centuries was a tribute to a generous donor and a remarkable woman. Check out a related digital exhibition: Culinaria: A Taste of Food History on the Prairies. The catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

All Under Heaven (2013)

All Under Heaven: The Chinese World in Maps, Pictures, and Texts from the Collection of Floyd Sully

Curator: Walter Davis

June – September 2013

Partially displayed in the Peel library and partially in FAB Gallery, this exhibition presented treasures from the collection of Floyd Sully, a Canadian who has long been fascinated by beautiful representations of China. Sully’s collection is remarkable for its focus on maps and illustrated texts over hundreds of years, and the exhibition offered a complex and revealing set of perspectives on the Chinese world as it underwent a process of profound transformation. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition is available in Rutherford Library (DS 735 A45 2013 folio) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library–$40 for paperback or $60 for hardcover (cash only, no dealers)–or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Curated by Walter Davis, designed by Lara Minja, and edited by Leslie Vermeer, the All Under Heaven catalogue won the prestigious 2014 Leab Exhibition Award (Division I) from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (ACRL).

Miriam Green Ellis (2013)

Miriam Green Ellis, Champion of the West 

Curator: Patricia Demers

March – May 2013

This exhibition introduced a new generation to the work of pioneering Western Canadian journalist Miriam Green Ellis (1879–1964) by showcasing the rich diversity of cultural and ethnographic materials (published newspaper articles, photographs, coloured glass slides, manuscripts, diaries, and letters) she bequeathed to the University of Alberta.  It offered an illuminating glimpse into life in the Canadian West almost a century ago. Check out a related digital exhibition here. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Designed by Lara Minja, the Miriam Green Ellis exhibition catalogue won an Award of Excellence in the 43rd Annual UCDA Design Competition (Louisville, Kentucky, 2013) from the University & College Designers Association.

The Spacious Margin (2012-13)

The Spacious Margin: Eighteenth-Century Printed Books and the Traces of Their Readers 

Curators: Sylvia Brown and John Considine

October 2012 – February 2013

This exhibition presented an array of readerly interactions with books in the form of annotations, improvements, corrections, and ornamentations.  It offered a snapshot of the life of books and readers in the eighteenth century, in the British Isles and beyond, from modestly-literate users of well-thumbed dictionaries to learned critics of canonical poets and contemporary philosophers. The catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Recalling the Buffalo (2012)

Recalling the Buffalo: The Martin S. Garretson Collection

Curator: Ken Tingley

June – September 2012

The shameful, perhaps inevitable, slaughter of the great, wandering herds forever altered the lives of the First Nations tribes whose livelihoods and cultures had been linked to the bison for millennia, and turned Martin Garretson (1866–1955) into an ardent early conservationist. Curated by Edmonton's first Historian Laureate, Ken Tingley, this large-scale exhibition, on display in the Enterprise Square Gallery, explored the personal archive of a prominent bison expert and activist. It featured sketches, paintings, correspondence, and photographs along with published materials. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Designed by Lara Minja, the Recalling the Buffalo exhibition catalogue won an Award of Excellence in the 42nd Annual UCDA Design Competition (Montreal, Québec, 2012) from the University & College Designers Association.

Sam Steele (2012)

Sam Steele: The Journey of a Canadian Hero

Curators: Peel library team

June – September 2012

This exhibition brought to life, through personal photographs, letters, and diaries, the life and career of Major-General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele (1848–1919), an iconic and influential participant in many of the seminal events and campaigns that helped to shape Canada. The exhibition explored his participation in policing during the Red River uprisings, his role as a North-West Mounted Police officer, his life as a family man, and his experience as a military leader in both the Boer and First World Wars. Items from the Steele archive were supplemented with museum objects, a film (My Dear Sweet Maye), an audio tour, and a 100-foot timeline to create a full-scale museum-style exhibition in the Enterprise Square Gallery. The booklet associated with this exhibition is available online in English and French, or a print copy may be purchased for $10 in person in the Peel library. A related publication that may be of interest is The Frontiersman's Pocket-Book, a training and survival manual first published by the Legion in 1909 and republished by Bruce Peel Special Collections in 2012. This limited edition facsimile is available in person in the Peel library for $40 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Charles Dickens (2012)

Charles Dickens: From Whom We Have Great Expectations 

Curator: Linda Quirk

May – August 2012

A literary legend was born two hundred years ago. This exhibition celebrated the life and work of one of the world's great authors by showcasing early editions of novels by Charles Dickens (1812–1870) in various formats—including Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House, and Great Expectations—along with a sampling of related materials including theatrical adaptations and recent fine press editions. The brochure for this exhibition is no longer available.

Ally Sloper & C.H. Chapman (2011-12)

Ally Sloper & C.H. Chapman: A Victorian Comic Strip Star and His Devoted Illustrator 

Curators: Robert J. Desmarais and John Charles Chapman

November 2011 – March 2012

Alexander “Ally” Sloper is a madcap fictional character who appeared in British serialized comics between 1867 and 1916. This exhibition highlighted a sampling of Sloper’s most memorable antics from Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday. It included a biography of illustrator Charles Henry Chapman and featured original pen-and-ink drawings on loan from Chapman’s descendants. The catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased for $15 in the Peel library.

I'm No Superman (2011-12)

I'm No Superman: The Comic Collection of Gilbert Bouchard

Curator: Andy Grabia

November 2011 – February 2012

Displayed in the Rutherford South Foyer, this exhibition featured the extensive comic book collection of local arts writer Gilbert Bouchard (1961–2009). It paid tribute to Mr. Bouchard, honoring his contributions to Edmonton’s arts and culture scene, while drawing attention to the comic book as an increasingly important literary and artistic genre. The catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased for $15 in the Peel library.

The Last Best West (2011)

The Last Best West: Glimpses of the Prairie Provinces from the Golden Age of Postcards 

Curator: Ken Tingley

March – June 2011

In the later decades of the nineteenth century, the postcard was at its zenith of popularity as a low-cost and efficient means of transmitting brief messages. By the first decade of the twentieth century, many cities, towns, and villages were home to photographers who produced a mass of fascinating and informative images for picture postcards, including personalized views of first houses, home farms, family groups or important events. Since this golden age of postcards coincided with an intense period of settlement and urbanization in the west, this exhibition offered special insights into the history of the Canadian West. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in Rutherford Library (NC 1878.7 C3 T55 2011) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Sam Steele (2011)

Sam Steele: Portrait of a Canadian Icon

Curators: Peel library team

July – Oct 2011

Sam Steele (1848–1919) was a Canadian icon. Both as a North-West Mounted Police officer and as a military leader he played an active role in settling the Canadian West, policing the far North, and leading military campaigns abroad. This exhibition highlighted Steele’s role in history through original correspondence, diaries, scrapbooks, military papers and photographs, while also providing a glimpse of his “softer side” through the letters he exchanged with his wife and children. The booklet associated with this exhibition is available online in English and French. A print copy may be purchased for $10 in person in the Peel library.

Governor General Literary Awards (2010-11)

The John H. Meier, Jr. Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction Collection 

Curator: John H. Meier, Jr.

September 2010 – February 2011

An exhibition of John Meier’s impressive collection of Governor General’s Award-winning books, including first editions, variants, proofs, and related documentary materials. It is a collection of national significance, and one which offers a fascinating perspective on the history of publishing in Canada in the twentieth century. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in Bruce Peel Special Collections (PS 8107 G6 M45 2010) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

 

Videotaped interview with John H. Meier, Jr., Part 1

Videotaped interview, Part 2

 

The Other Side of Gold Mountain (2010)

The Other Side of Gold Mountain: Glimpses of Chinese Pioneer Life on the Prairies from the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection

Curator: Brian L. Evans

June – August 2010

The Chinese who settled east of the rockies, on the other side of gold mountain, had a sense of adventure and a pioneering spirit which helped them to endure and eventually overcome a painful history of discrimination and to emerge as leaders in Prairie society. This exhibition of materials donated or loaned by Wallace and Madeline Chung told a compelling and important story. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition is available in Rutherford Library (FC 3250 C5 E82 2010) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Designed by Lara Minja, the exhibition catalogue for The Other Side of Gold Mountain won an Award of Excellence in the 40th Annual UCDA Design Competition (Minneapolis, Minnesta, 2010) from the University & College Designers Association.

Marginated (2010)

Marginated: Seventeenth-Century Printed Books and the Traces of Their Readers 

Curators: Sylvia Brown and John Considine with assistance from Amie Shirkie

February – May 2010

This exhibition treated seventeenth-century marginalia by exploring patterns of readerly interactions with books, including, among other things, acquisition and ownership marks, the re-use of parts of earlier books in the construction of newer ones, as well as readers’ referencing systems and marginal annotations. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in Rutherford Library (Z 1033 A84 B75 2010) and it may be purchased  in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

The Art of the Book (2009-10)

The Art of the Book: A Juried Exhibition of Members’ Work 

October 2009 – January 2010

This exhibition was staged to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG). Over several years, 2008–2011, this travelling exhibition was mounted in libraries, museums, and galleries in Toronto, Halifax, Fredericton, Leaf Rapids, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Gimli, and Victoria. The catalogue for this exhibition, published by CBBAG, is available in Bruce Peel Special Collections (Z 270 C3 A773 2008). More information is available here.

Alter-Aesthetics (2009)

Alter-Aesthetics: The Book Transformed 

Curator: Robert J. Desmarais

June – September 2009

Showing a small sampling of the extensive collection of artists' books held in Bruce Peel Special Collections, this exhibition invited visitors to consider how ingenious artists have expanded the artistic identity of the book with new standards of production, aesthetic contemplation, and distribution. The brochure for this exhibition is no longer available.

Woolf's-head Publishing (2009)

Woolf's-head Publishing: The Highlights and New Lights of the Hogarth Press 

Curator: Elizabeth Willson Gordon

February – May 2009

This exhibition celebrated Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, not only for its well-known literary and artistic influence, but also for its broadly international scope and unexpected range. It showcased the Peel library’s important collection of early Hogarth Press publications. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition is available in Bruce Peel Special Collections (Z 232 H73 B78 2009) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press.

Designed by Lara Minja, the Woolf's Head Publishing exhibition catalogue won a Gold Award in the 39th Annual UCDA Design Competition (Seattle, Washington, 2009) from the University & College Designers Association.

Legacy of Empire (2008-09)

Legacy of Empire: Treasures of the University of Alberta's Central European Library Collection 

Curator: Franz A.J. Szabo

August 2008 – February 2009

Staged to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta, this exhibition showcased some of the highlights of the University of Alberta Library’s world-class collection of Austrian, Habsburg, and Central European materials, focusing on a selection of the 3,500 volumes (published between 1488 and the 1960s) that were once housed in the Seminary Library of the Archbishop of Salzburg. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in Cameron Library (DB 36.3 H33 Z9 B78 2008) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

A Most Dangerous Voyage (2008)

A Most Dangerous Voyage: An Exhibition of Books and Maps Documenting Four Centuries of Exploration in Search of a Northwest Passage 

Curators: Jeannine Green and Robert J. Desmarais

May – August 2008

Over centuries, European explorers braved frigid arctic conditions—in which their wooden vessels could easily be crushed by soaring icebergs and ice-choked channels—in the hopes of finding a northwest passage that would serve as a commercial trading route to the Far East. This exhibition featured books and maps that document 400 years of arctic exploration. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in several U of A libraries (G 640 B78 2008) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Mappae Mundi (2008)

Mappae Mundi: Representing the World and its Inhabitants in Texts, Maps, and Images in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Curators: Michael Fox and Stephen R. Reimer

February – April 2008

This gorgeous exhibition showcased library treasures which reveal a great deal about the cultures of Medieval and Early Modern Europe, including the production of books and other print materials over centuries and the representations of the world and its inhabitants: humans in their many activities and occupations, animals wild and tame, and monsters that dwelled in those parts of the world just beyond the boundary of the known. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in Bruce Peel Special Collections (Z 6621 B785 M3 2008) and it may be purchased  in person in the Peel library–$25 for paperback or $40 for hardcover–(cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Golden Cockerel's Polite Erotica (2007-08)

Golden Cockerel’s Polite Erotica: A Legacy of Endurance and Distinction

Curator: Robert J. Desmarais

October 2007 – January 2008

Featuring a representative sampling of the books published by one of the great British private presses, this exhibition revealed the Golden Cockerel's significant and enduring contribution to the fine press movement. Operating between 1920 and 1961, the politely erotic aesthetic of a Cockerel publication offered an unexpected take on a range of classic and historic titles. This aesthetic still seems fresh today. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in Bruce Peel Special Collections (Z 232 G63 D47 2007 folio) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library–$25 for paperback or $40 for hardcover–(cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Women, Writing and Reading (2007)

Women, Writing and Reading: Past and Present, Local and Global 

Curators: Jocelyn Badley and Kirsten Macleod

May – September 2007

This exhibition was mounted in association with two conferences held at University of Alberta: Rooms of Their Own: Women in the Knowledge Economy and Society and Women Writing and Reading. Link to the online exhibition prepared by Sarah Jefferies and Kelly Zenkewich here.

 

ImPRESSions of Vancouver (2007)

ImPRESSions of Vancouver: Disciples of the Book Arts 

Curators: Robert J. Desmarais and Sarah Mead-Willis

February – April 2007

Vancouver is a creative hotbed for all aspects of the book arts. This exhibition did not pretend to be comprehensive, but it offered a series of impressions of the many Vancouver-based artists and artisans (papermakers, typographers, letterpress printers, etc.) who demonstrate intellectual, aesthetic, and material devotion to the art of the book. The brochure for this exhibition is no longer available.

The Blue Sky Their Horizon (2006-07)

The Blue Sky Their Horizon: Alberta Women Making History 

Curator: Mridula Nath Chakraborty

October 2006 – January 2007

Mounted in association with a conference at University of Alberta entitled Not Drowning but Waving: Women, Feminism, and the Liberal Arts, this exhibition featured some of the stories told by immigrant women in Alberta over the past one hundred years. It explored the settler history of the region as recorded in reports, reviews and recipe books, chapbooks and council books, diaries and diatribes, manuals and memoirs, old-wives’ tales and travelogues. The catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased for $15 in the Peel library.

Randolph Caldecott (2006)

Randolph Caldecott: His Books and Illustrations for Young Readers

Curator: Robert J. Desmarais

June – September 2006

Recognizing the need for better quality books for children, Randolph Caldecott (1846-1886) pioneered an innovative and engaging new aesthetic in picture books. This exhibition celebrated Caldecott’s accomplishment and featured many charming books from the curator’s personal collection. The catalogue for this exhibition may be purchased in person in the Peel library–$25 for paperback or $40 for hardcover–(cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

More Past Exhibitions (1984-2006)

 

Gatherings: An Exhibition of Recent Additions to Bruce Peel Special Collections

Curators: Peel library team

February – May 2006

 

Laying the Foundations: The Legacy of Alexander Cameron Rutherford 

Curator: Sean Moir

September – December 2005

Reflecting the character of Alberta’s first Premier, this exhibition showcased the private book collection of Alexander Rutherford (1857–1941). Items in the collection explore topics including politics, literature, science, and religion, and many have a Canadian focus. A strong supporter of public education and a driving force behind the foundation of the University of Alberta, Rutherford’s legacy lives on in his books. The brochure for this exhibition is no longer available.

 

Pressing: An Exhibition of Canadian Poetry and Small Publishers, 1950-1980 

Curator: Allison Sivak

May – August 2005

 

The Art of Insect Illustration and Threads of Entomological History 

Curator: George E. Ball

December 2004 – March 2005

This exhibition explored the interrelationship and parallel development of the science of entomology and the art of illustration, focusing principally on the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Drawn from the University of Alberta Libraries’ renowned Dr. Ronald B. Madge Entomology Collection, this brief, eclectic historical review used both text and illustrations to showcase many varieties of insects and other anthropods. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (QL 462.5 B35 2005) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press.

 

Marginal Notes: An Exhibition of Bookworks Concerning Social Issues

Curators: Jeannine Green, Susan Colberg, and Bonnie Sadler Takach

April – September 2004

Curated in collaboration with Art and Design students from the University of Alberta, this exhibition featured a range of handmade artists' books and bookworks housed at the Peel library. It explored social issues impacting marginalized groups such as prisoners and the homeless, expressing the voices of the marginalized as visual notations in non-traditional book formats. The brochure for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (N 7433.3 M38 2004), but is not available for sale.

 

Celebrating the University Senate's Splendid Gift: Honorary Degree Books in Bruce Peel Special Collections 

Curators: Peel library team

November 2003 – March 2004

Since the spring of 1987, thanks to funding from the Senate library Endowment Fund, librarians in Bruce Peel Special Collections have been selecting rare books to honour the accomplishments or interests of each honorary degree recipient at University of Alberta. This exhibit showcased a number of these special books, acquired to celebrate such notable figures as Wayne Gretzky (2000), Lois Hole (2000), and Myer Horowitz (1990). The brochure for this exhibition is not available for sale; however, the Peel library celebrated this remarkable thirty year partnership with the Senate office by mounting a digital exhibition in 2016.

 

First Impressions: The Fledgling Years of the Black Sparrow Press, 1966-1970 

Curator: Collectively curated with Michael O’Driscoll

May – September 2003

This exhibition, curated by twelve graduate students in collaboration with their professor Michael O’Driscoll and former Peel library conservator Carolynne Poon, featured publications and related materials from the Black Sparrow Press’ first four years of operation. Founded in 1966, Black Sparrow Press made its name producing the works of little know and avant-garde writers and poets, most notably Charles Bukowski. The collection consists of manuscript drafts, typescripts, correspondences, and other materials relating to the day-to-day operation of the Black Sparrow Press. The award-winning catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 473 B62 F57 2003) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or IndigoA Bibliography of the Black Sparrow Press Archive by Michael O'Driscoll and Jason Dewinetz is also available for sale in person in the Peel library for $40.

Curated and edited by Michael O'Driscoll's curatorial collective and designed by Tim Hoffpauir, the First Impressions catalogue won a 2004 Leab Exhibition Award (Division II) from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (ACRL).

 

The Zamorano Eighty: Landmark Books in California History

Curators: John Charles

November 2002 – February 2003

 

The Illustrated London News: The Victorian World At Home & Abroad

Curator: Jeannine Green

June – November 2002

 

Illustrated British Novels, 1800-1899 

Curator: Barbara Simler

July – September 2001

This exhibition provided a decade-by-decade look at the rise and decline in the popularity of the illustrated novel in nineteenth-century Britain. The exhibition featured novels, magazines, and newspapers with illustrations ranging from satirical and political to serious and naturalistic. A variety of authors were highlighted, including Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hardy, Harriet Martineau, and Charles Dickens. The brochure for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (NC 978 B78 2001).

 

Graphic Design and Fine Printing: Five Centuries 

Curators: Peel library team

March – April 2001

 

Studious Youth and Imperial Adventure: The George James Collection of Children's Books 

Curator: Christopher Gordon-Craig

September – December 2000

At just over nine hundred volumes, the George James Collection of Children’s Books is an extensive collection of boy’s adventure stories. This exhibition featured a number of these stories, in the form of books, dime novels, and juvenile periodicals. The works span almost a century, from the 1830s through to WWII, and include authors such as G.A. Henty, R.M. Ballantyne, and W.H.G. Kingston. The brochure for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 883 A14 B785 2000), but it is not available for sale. 

 

Pierre Ouvrard: Master Bookbinder

Curators: Jeannine Green and Merrill Distad

May – August 2000

This exhibition celebrated the life and work of Pierre Ouvrard, an important figure in the history of hand bookbinding in Canada. His career, spanning six decades, left over five hundred unique artistic bindings. Of particular note are the bindings that Ouvrard created for the recipients of the Governor General Literary Award, creating unique presentation bindings for works such as Shakespeare’s Dog by John Gray and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. You can link to the U of A Library's digital exhibition here. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 269.2 B78 2000) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

 

Enitharmon: A Contemporary British Private Press 

Curators: Peel library team

July – October 1999

 

Jackets Required: Canadian Fiction in First and Early Editions with Original Dust Jackets 

Curators: Peel library team

February – June 1999

 

Adversaria: Sixteenth-Century Books and the Traces of their Readers 

(in the Gregory Javitch Reading Room / concurrent with "The Book of Nature")

Curator: John Considine

August 1998 – January 1999

This exhibition explored the marks left on books by their owners and readers. Traces such as personal ownership marks, censorships and commentaries, and bindings are all explored to gain insight into the minds of early modern readers, from small children to Roman Catholic censors. Some notable items include a Geneva Bible from 1601 with multiple ownership marks made by young children and a heavily annotated copy of Virgil’s Aeneid. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 883 A14 E3 B785 1998), but it is not available for sale.

 

The Book of Nature: The Eighteenth Century and the Material World

(in the Peel Library Lobby / concurrent with "Adversaria")

Curator: Susan Liepert

August 1998 – January 1999

Staged to coincide with the twenty-fourth conference of the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, this exhibition showcased a range of items from the Peel library that explore the ways that the material world was discussed, studied, and used by eighteenth century writers. The exhibition included early encyclopaedias and works of natural philosophy, agriculture and horticulture, and Georgic poetry. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (QH 13.45 B66 1998), but it is not available for sale.

 

"An Exquisite and Rational Enjoyment": From Early Travel Books to Baedeker Guides 

Curator: John Charles

February – May 1998

This exhibition celebrated a donation, from J. C. Gordon Brown, of a collection of Baedeker Handbooks for Travellers, a pioneering series of travel guides for Victorian and modern tourists. It showcased a selection of the Baedeker guides alongside earlier travel guides, as well as accounts of travel from a variety of authors such as Mark Twain, Philip Thicknesse, and Lord Byron, whose long poem Don Juan contains the first use of the word “guide-book” in print. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Cameron Library (G 153 B78 1998), but it is not available for sale.

 

She Wields a Pen: An Exhibition of Women's Literary History

Curator: Katherine Binhammer

September – December 1997

Coinciding with the Orlando Project conference on Women and Literary History, this exhibition reflected the vast diversity of writing by women in the British Isles from 1613 to 1942. It showcased the work of women as publishers, critics, editors, and authors, incorporating materials on a wide range of topics. The exhibition featured landmark feminist texts, such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, alongside a range of less controversial topics. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Rutherford Library (PR 111 B612 1997), but it is not available for sale.

 

word sounz & eye rhymes: an exhibition of visual poetry & artists’ books

Curator: John Charles

June – August 1997

This exhibition was mounted for the Eye Rhymes conference at the University of Alberta, with the goal of offering historic examples of visual poetry. It presented a range of visual poetry, including original artists’ books, altered books, and illustrated texts. Poets who were represented include William Blake, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and a number of Canadian concrete poets of the 1960s. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 883 A14 E3 B785 1997), but it is not available for sale.

 

Green Thought in a Green Shade

Curator:  Peel library team

March – May 1997

 

The Variety of Literary Forms and Book Formats in the Age of Victoria

Curator:  John Charles

October 1996 – January 1997

This exhibition explored the many forms and styles of literary works produced in the Victorian era (1837–1901). The cheap, mass produced penny dreadfuls, yellow-backs, and serial novels by authors such as Charles Dickens and Robert Browning made up a large portion of this exhibit. Also featured were gift books and publications relating to the Great Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in 1851. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 883 A14 E3 B785 1996), but it is not available for sale.

 

Sacred Time: The Book of Hours from the Middle Ages to the Present Day

Curator:  Glenn Gunhouse

June – September 1996

This exhibition presented the “Book of Hours,” a Christian prayer book for private worship that emerged in the thirteenth century. It featured examples spanning centuries, from traditional medieval texts to modern artists’ interpretations. The different sections of a Book of Hours were represented by examples from the collection. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (BX 2080 B78 1996), but it is not available for sale.

 

Captured Voices: Five Centuries of Interplay between Folk Literature and Print

Curator:  Michael Taft

February – April 1996

This exhibition explored songs, tales, and proverbs from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, focusing on the ways in which such folk literature is recorded. It included folk literature from various countries on a variety of topics, and grappled with entertainment and aesthetics, moral teaching and instruction, and scholarship and preservation of folk heritage. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 883 A14 E3 B782 1996), but it is not available for sale.

 

John Bunyan: The Books He Read, the Words He Wrote

Curator:  John Charles

September 1995 – January 1996

The impetus for this exhibition was a conference for the International John Bunyan Society in Edmonton and Banff that ran from 28 September to 1 October 1995. It displayed items from Ralph E. Ford Collection of books relating to John Bunyan, including works written by Bunyan, alongside others that either inspired or attacked him. A number of editions of Pilgrim’s Progress were prominently featured, including translations in Dutch, Amharic, Telgu, Hawaiian, and Portuguese. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (BR 75 B78 1995a), but it is not available for sale.

 

A Most Dangerous Voyage

Curator:  Jeannine Green

May – August 1995

The predecessor of a larger exhibition in 2008, A Most Dangerous Voyage showcased four centuries of materials relating to Arctic exploration. It featured accounts from explorers such as James Cook and Sir William Edward Parry. The catalogue for the 2008 exhibition is available in several U of A libraries (G 640 B78 2008) and it may be purchased in person in the Peel library for $25 (cash only, no dealers) or through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

 

The Look of a Poem

Curator:  Peel library team

December 1994 – March 1995

 

Beyond Words: An Exhibition of Manuscripts and Manuscript Facsimiles

Curator:  Glenn Gunhouse

August – November 1994

Displaying a variety of manuscript materials and manuscript facsimiles (precise reproductions), many of which treat topics relating to religion and Christianity, Beyond Words sought to explore the ways that non-textual elements (such as bindings and marginalia) impact meaning.

 

The Songs I Had: Poetry and Prose of the Great War

Curator:  John Charles

October 1993 – January 1994

 

Art Nouveau Illustrations from Austria and Germany, 1895-1912

Curator:  John Charles

July – October 1993

Characterized by asymmetry, sinuous lines, and flame-like patterning, the Art nouveau style features willowy, elongated female figures and the fantastic curves of stylized flowers. This exhibition featured examples from Germany and Austria and focused on three turn-of-the-century magazines: Jugend, Pan, and Ver Sacrum.

 

Hogarth Press: “How can you take your little grocer’s shop so seriously?”

Curator:  Jeannine Green

February – June 1993

 

Arts of Native America

Curator:  John Charles

November 1992 – February 1993

 

Twilight of the Raj: An Exhibition of Books on the British in India with some Letters to Lord Curzon

Curator:  John Charles

October 1991 – February 1992

British Conservative statesman, Viceroy of India, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the correspondence of George Nathaniel Curzon (1859–1925) offers a window on Anglo-Indian culture and politics. This exhibition featured reproductions of some of the paintings mentioned in the correspondence, as well as a range of related books and maps.

 

Ukiyoe-e: Glimpses of the Floating World.  An Exhibition of Japanese Woodblock Reproductions and Illustrated Books

Curator:   Jeannine Green

June – September 1992

 

Two Centuries of Bookbinding: Materials & Techniques 1700-1900

A travelling exhibition from the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild

March – June 1992

Produced by the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, this exhibition traced the evolution of bookbinding in Europe and America from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. The exhibition touched on a range of topics, including the history of techniques, the working conditions for book binders and their place in society. Additionally, the exhibition explored the role of books in daily life, and what bindings can tell us about their owners. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (Z 269 L83 1991), but it is not available for sale.

 

Most Delicate and Lovely Plants: Botanical Illustrations

Curator:  Jeannine Green

May – September 1991

This exhibition explored collections of botanical illustrations alongside botanical writings, and represented a wide range of artistic modes, from drawing and painting to woodcut and chromolithography. It featured some of John Maywood’s original drawings of the vascular plants of Alberta.

 

Ukraine: Art of the Bookplate in Ukraine (A private collection)

Curator:  Carol Irwin

Displayed in main floor lobby, Rutherford South

February 1991

 

Women Writing: Five Centuries of Verse and Prose

Curator:  Jeannine Green

November 1990 – March 1991

Mounted in tandem with the publication of The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, this exhibition featured sixty-seven of the nearly three thousand English-language women writers who appeared in the Feminist Companion. The exhibition explored a range of genres, including poetry, fiction, and autobiographies, and featured Margaret Atwood, Katherine Phillips, Mary Shelley, and many others.  

 

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Curator:  Peel library team

October – November 1990

 

The Schloss Collection of Modern Literature

Curator:  Peel library team

Displayed in the main floor lobby, Rutherford South

August – September 1990

 

Non-book & “University Collects” Exhibition

Curator:  Peel library team

May – September 1990

 

Gifts of Celebration: Rare Books Presented by the University Senate and Friends of the University

Curator:  Jeannine Green

February – March 1990

 

Printed at the Curwen Press

Curator:  Jeannine Green

September 1989 – January 1990

Jeannine Green worked with a group of students to produce A Spirit of Joy, based on the exhibition, a publication that received Honorable Mention (Division I) in the Leab Award competition from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (ACRL).

 

Text & Textures: Printing, Illustration, and Artists’ Books from Bruce Peel Special Collections

Curator:  John Charles

June – September 1989

 

Thought Prints: An Investigation of the Form and Content of Language on the Printed Page

Curators:  John Charles, Peter Bartl, and Bonnie Takah

April – June 1989

This exhibition sought to emphasize the physical details and the history of books, impelling visitors to consider the printed page, not just the printed word. It was the Peel library's first collaborative exhibition, done in partnership with instructors and students from the University of Alberta's Department of Art and Design. The exhibition was divided into five categories that explored the different possible relationships between content and form, as well as the concepts of hyperform and hypercontent. 

 

Three Centuries of John Bunyan: The Progress of a Pilgrim

Curator:  John Charles

January – March 1989

Featuring rare items from the Ralph E. Ford Bunyan Collection–including prints and maps, books about Bunyan and his life, government documents pertaining to his life and works, and many editions of his works–this exhibition explored Bunyan's influence from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. Prominent in the exhibition were rare editions of some of his most famous works, including Pilgrim's ProgressThe Life and Death of Mr. Badman, and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. The catalogue for this exhibition is available in the Peel library (PR 3331 T49 1989), but it is not available for sale.

 

Goin’ to California: The Gold Rush of ’49 in First Editions and Illustrations

Curators: Peel library team

April – July 1988

 

Indian Myths and Legends from the Javitch Collection

Curators: Peel library team

December 1987 – March 1988

 

Four Centuries of Milton’s “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”

Curators: Peel library team

December 1987 – March 1988

 

Great Scott: The Literary World of Sir Walter Scott

Curators: Peel library team

August – November 1987

 

Books Are/Books Are Not (Artist’s Bookworks)

Curators: Peel library team

February – June 1987

 

English Civil War and Interregnum, 1642–1660

Curators: Peel library team

August – October 1986

This exhibition explored the English Civil War between the Puritans and those loyal to the English crown through the works of authors living at the time.

 

Publishers’ Bookbindings in Cloth: Some Pictorial and Geometric Designs

Curators: Peel library team

May – August 1986

 

Impressionism to Surrealism

Curators: Peel library team

February – April 1986

 

Coke Smyth’s Sketches in Canada

Curators: Peel library team

February – April 1986

Coke Smyth (1808–1882) came to Canada in 1838 as the Drawing Master to the daughters of the newly appointed Governor General of Canada, the Earl of Durham. While in Canada, he created watercolours of Canada’s landscape and peoples that were published as lithographs in 1842 in what is now a rare portfolio of twenty-three plates. The Peel library is home to the complete collection.

 

“And on Earth, Good Will Towards Men”

(A Christmas display in the lobby of Bruce Peel Special Collections)

Curators: Peel library team

December 1985 – January 1986

This festive exhibition exploring treatments of the Christmas spirit in prose and poetry. Authors including Charles Dickens and John Milton were featured, with some of their famous tales bound in special Christmas bindings. A number of items from the Peel library’s collection of Grabhorn Press publications were also showcased.

 

Louis Riel and the North-West Rebellion of 1885

Curators: Peel library team

November 1985 – January 1986

 

Rare Books in French History

Curators: Peel library team

October 1985

 

D. H. Lawrence

Curators: Peel library team

September – December 1985

Mounted in celebration of the 100th anniversary of D.H. Lawrence’s birth, this exhibition showcased the Peel library’s collection of book by and about D.H. Lawrence, including Spanish, French, Dutch, Czech, and Korean translations. Also on display was one of Lawrence’s manuscripts, showing his edits, and an original holograph letter from 1923 signed by him.

 

Walter J. Philips

Curators: Peel library team

May – September 1985

 

Bibliographies                            

Curators: Peel library team

February – May 1985

 

Sing Heavenly Muse: Poetry from the Renaissance to the Present

Curators: Peel library team

October 1984 – January 1985

 

“A Well Digested Plan”: Materials from the Javitch Collection

Curators: Peel library team

October 1984 – February 1985

Showcasing the Gregory Javitch Collection of books relating to the First Nations peoples of North and South America, this exhibition marked the official opening of the Special Collections Library in its new location in the basement of Rutherford South.   

 

Rare Illustrated Books

Curators: Peel library team

July – October 1984