York University is home to a number of internationally known journals, such as The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies and Isis: An International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences. These not only provide opportunities for publication in peer-reviewed venues, but they also offer selected graduate students an opportunity to gain editorial experience through designated research assistantships. For further information about these journals, please consult the links above.
York University Libraries offer a range of materials - from the original serial installments of Dickens's Dombey and Son to the most current critical and theoretical work in Victorian studies - to support research projects across the disciplines. A wealth of online resources and databases, such as a searchable database of nineteenth-century newspapers (including the London Times), an online archive of material relating to Victorian popular culture, the full run of British Parliamentary Papers, and an impressive array of transatlantic materials,
is also available to the York community through the Library's website.
York is also home to the archives of North America's oldest scholarly organization devoted to the Victorian period, the Victorian Studies Association of Ontario. For more information about the association's archives, please contact David Latham.
Students and faculty also have access to the numerous other resources available in the Toronto area. In addition to Robarts Library and the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, the area is also home to a number of smaller collections and archives. Among our recommendations are the following:
The Robertson Davies Library at Massey College holds a wonderful collection of several thousand Victorian books and journals amassed by the influential British typographical designer and bibliophile Ruari McLean (1917-2006). The Ruari McLean Collection includes remarkable illustrated editions of many well-known works from the nineteenth century as well as more ephemeral, and rare, printed works, such as almanacs and children’s books. Many are literally spectacular, since the collection was guided by McLean's interest in graphic design and the innovation of methods of illustration. Users curious about the collection can consult exhibition catalogues by Marie Korey, Elegant Editions: Aspects of Victorian Book Design (1995) and Vizetelly & Compan(ies): A complex tale of Victorian printing and publishing (2003). Library consultation of holdings is by appointment (check the Robertson Davies Library website for details). There is currently no finding aid - one tip is to use call number search on the main University of Toronto online catalog to get an overview of the collection.
- contributed by Katharine Anderson
The Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books at the Toronto Public Library is a fascinating treasure-house for scholarship. It was established after Edgar Osborne visited the children's branch in 1934 and was impressed by the extensive collection of books that Lillian H. Smith had acquired. Osborne eventually donated his personal collection of 2000 children's books to the Toronto Public Library and the collection has now over 80,000 books and periodicals, as well as historic games, illustrations, and manuscripts. The collection ranges from 4000-year-old cuneiform tablets to current publications, but it is especially strong in Victorian and Edwardian editions of children's books and periodicals that were Osborne's own particular interest: "Victorian classics of history adventures and school stories, up to 1910." It includes Florence Nightingale's childhood library and such rarities as Queen Victoria's copy of William Allingham's In Fairyland, illustrated by Richard Doyle, and signed by Victoria on the flyleaf. The manuscript collection includes drafts of novels, stories, or illustrations by R.M. Ballantyne, Walter Crane, Jessie M. King, and H.G. Wells, and letters by Laurence Binyon, Eleanor Vere Boyle, Randolph Caldecott, Palmer Cox, George Cruikshank, Walter de la Mare, Charles Dodgson, Richard Doyle, Julia Ewing, Kenneth Grahame, Kate Greenaway, Charles Kingsley, Harriet Martineau, A.A. Milne, L.M. Montgomery, Hannah More, Florence Nightingale, Coventry Patmore, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham, Arthur Ransome, Marshall Saunders, Alfred Tennyson, Charlotte Yonge, and many more.
For more information, visit the Lillian H. Smith branch, Toronto Public
Library, 239 College Street, Toronto, and the website at
- contributed by David Latham
Tucked into a quiet upper corner of Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, the H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library offers an impressive selection of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century materials concerning colonial art and culture. Holdings include the 1884-86 Journal of
Indian Art, museum catalogues, a number of late Victorian travel guides and memoirs, as well as relevant works by recent art historians and theorists. There’s no substitute for a trip to London's V&A, of course, but this is a fine starting-point for research into Indian and Anglo-Indian aesthetics and culture of the Victorian period.
- contributed by Tina Choi