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Special Collections: Unique Collections Within Special Collections

Describes Special Collections in the Archer Library including basic user information and information about its sub-collections.

Various editions of Robinson Crusoe

Ethnic Collection Book

Howard Collection

Handling Rare Books

It's best to handle a rare book gently so it won't be damaged. Turn pages carefully and slowly. It's so easy to damage an old book that is not in the best shape already!

Try to use a pencil instead of a pen when taking notes from a rare book. That way ink can't be transferred accidentally to the book's pages.

Occasionally you may be asked to wear white cotton gloves to examine a book that is quite fragile. That way oils and maybe even dirt  from your hands won't be transferred to the pages. 

Sub-Collections in Special Collections

Special Collections has several groups of books that are notable within the whole collection. Most of these sub-collections have been acquired through donation to the Archer Library.

The William S. Lloyd Collection of Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719, is one of the most widely read and translated novels written in the English language.  It is a story of a castaway who spends 28 years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad encountering "cannibals", captives, and mutineers before being rescued. The earliest American edition of Robinson Crusoe was published in Philadelphia in 1725 and many subsequent editions were published world wide after that. No book in the history of Western literature, except the Bible, had more editions, spin-offs and translations than Robinson Crusoe, with more than 700 alternative versions, including children's editions in print.  The Robinson Crusoe collection in Special Collections contains 215 editions in 233 physical volumes. The earliest dated edition is 1735.  The original collection was owned by William S. Lloyd a textile manufacturer and rare book collector from Philadelphia who died in 1920.  His collection included 310 different editions dating from 1719 up to the 20th century.  The collection also includes a biography of Daniel Defoe and one imitation of Robinson Crusoe.  University of Regina President Dr. John Archer donated the collection to the University Library in the mid 1970's. Most of the editions in the collection include the William S. Lloyd book plate.  The collection encompasses 106 editions published between 1800 and 1900.  Of particular interest are two comic nursery rhyme editions with colour illustrations that date from the 19th century and an edition written in Pitman shorthand. An exhibit of Robinson Crusoe that included selected titles from the Lloyd Collection was displayed in Archer Library in Spring 2016. A symposium titled Treasuring Robinson Crusoe: 300 Years of Adventure, was held  in November 2019 to help celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first edition of the novel.


The Wagner Collection

The Wagner Trust was created in 1985 to honour the memory of Dr. Fred Wagner a University of Regina Luther College faculty member in the Luther English Department who died in 1984.  Dr. Wagner served on and later chaired the Library Committee for many years.  The focus of the Wagner Collection is Victorian literature and one significant feature of the collection is the works of the English novelist Joseph Henry Shorthouse (1834-1903).  Special Collections has several editions of Shorthouse's well-known novel John Inglesant including an enscribed first edition.  Included in the Wagner Collection are retired Professor Christopher Murray's Robert Buchanan collection which the Library incorporated into the Wagner Collection.  Buchanan (1841-1901) was an established Victorian poet and dramatist. The collection as a whole is of scholarly interest to anyone interested in English literature of the 19th century.


Howard Collection

The Howard Collection was added to Special Collections in 2011, donated by the Howard family in honour of Dr. William Howard who died in 2006. Dr. Howard was Acting University Librarian from 1998 to 1999 and University Librarian from 2003 to 2006.  He was also a professor and Chairman of the English Department from 1969 to his retirement in 2006.  Dr. Howard received the University of Regina's Distinguished Service award the year he retired. The collection contains over 200 rare titles in pristine condition, primarily 19th century novels and books of poetry of the English Romantic period.  Many of the titles are first editions.  Representative authors are Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, John Clare and Ernest Dowson.


Ethnic Collection

The Ethnic Collection was added to Special Collections in 1987 by University Librarian Ernest Ingles (1984-1990). The collection focuses on community and social history of the Prairie Provinces particularly as it relates to groups such as the Ukrainians, Mennonites, Germans and Hutterites who immigrated to the region.  Most of the material was published in the 20th century. The collection is a good source for materials related to the World Wars and is useful for any researcher interested in the early settlement of Western Canada and up to and including the 1950's.


Eaton Collection of Printing and Publishing

The Eaton Collection was acquired by the Library in the 1960's. It includes approximately 1,350 books and 70 periodical titles with the subject of printing and publishing. It also contains 500 catalogues from antiquarian dealers such as Sotheby, Maggs and Quaritch. The Eaton Collection also has long runs of periodicals related to printing such as Penrose Annual from 1901 to 1960 and the British Printer from 1883 to 1962.


Bibles and New and Old Testaments

Although not a separate sub collection, Special Collections has a variety of Bibles and New and Old Testaments in English, Latin and German published in the 18th and 19th centuries. These include miniature Bibles and editions of interest such as a hieroglyphical Bible for the instruction of children and a multi-volume Bible printed in shorthand. 


Lewis Thomas Collection

The Lewis Thomas collection was donated to the Archer Library in 1982 by the estate of the Canadian historian Lewis Thomas who originally taught at the University of Regina. Lewis Thomas later moved to the University of Alberta where his archive is now held. The collection is housed in Special Collections to preserve its integrity. In accordance with the terms of the original donation agreement the collection does not circulate and books in the collection may not be borrowed from the Archer Library. The majority of the collection includes titles that are out of print but published in the last century. The focus of the Thomas collection is material on the exploration and settlement of the Canadian West, prairie politics and history. There are a number of titles about the Riel Resistance.



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Ernest Dowson 1867-1900