Remembrance with McGill Library collections

In honour of Remembrance Day, we have brought together some of the many important manuscripts, papers, artworks and artifacts in the Library’s collection in the form of digital collections, blog posts and past exhibitions that remember and honour courage and sacrifice.

Book of Remembrance

McGill’s illuminated Book of Remembrance lists nearly 700 McGill University community members who died while serving either during or after World War I or World War II. Its digitization allows for people all over the world to view, especially in these socially distant times when the replica that’s typically on display in the Library is inaccessible.

Book of Remembrance, McGill University Archives.

In Flanders Fields

Housed in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, this handwritten letter from Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) includes the famous poem, In Flanders Fields.

Hear McGill alumni Leonard Cohen read it here.

Letter from John McCrae to Carleton Noyes, with poem, In Flanders Fields, May 1916 (Creation), Osler Library of the History of Medicine.

Canadian War Poster Collection

This digital collection from Rare Books and Special Collections consists of roughly 250 Canadian posters from the two World Wars. They remain an important resource for today’s researchers and members of the public interested in wartime life. They were digitized in 2005.

If Ye Break Faith – We Shall Not Sleep, Frank Lucien Nicolet (1887-?), 61 x 90cm, McGill Rare Books and Special Collections.

Past Exhibition | McGill at War: Commemorating the Centenary of the End of the First World War

This 2018 exhibition commemorated the centenary of the armistice of November 11, 1918, which saw the end of a war which profoundly marked the bodies, minds, and spirits of those who experienced it, both in and out of uniform.

Blog post | World War I remembered

This 2014 blog post includes more Library materials that remember the heroism of the McGill community in the First World War.

The Canadian General Hospital, No.3. McGill University Archives.

Commander James Campbell Clouston materials

McGill University Archives holds a number of materials related to Commander James Campbell Clouston, the McGill Engineering student (1917-18), who was killed in action in June 1940. His heroism was referenced in the recent blockbuster film, Dunkirk.

McGill University Archives.

Blog post | ROAAr comes together to Remember

Since its inception in 2016, ROAAr, the Library’s four rare collection units (Rare Books & Special Collections, the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, the Visual Art Collection, and Archives & Record Management) have collaborated continually and used their unique materials to honour the lives and sacrifices paid on battlefields abroad. 

Just one of these many collaborations was the display in the James Administration Building, “Through Tragedy We Transform: The Metamorphosis of the McGill University Campus in the Aftermath of the Great War (1914-1918)”. It included highlights from McGill’s Visual Arts Collection in the form of reproductions of the artworks and monuments that followed from the Great War in large, colourful panels. Seen together, they inspired passersby to honour McGillians who sacrificed their lives to the war effort.

A detail of the display, “Through Tragedy We Transform: The Metamorphosis of the McGill University Campus in the Aftermath of the Great War (1914-1918),” on view in the James Building Lobby.

Blog post | Remembrance: Our Girls in Wartime & Our Hospital ABC

The Osler Library of the History of Medicine collections feature two World War I children’s books by Hampden Gordon & M. C. Tindall (verses), Joyce Dennys (illustrations). Both of which celebrate all who contributed to the war effort.

  • Our Hospital Anzac British Canadian, published ca. 1916
  • Our Girls in Wartime published, ca. 1917.

Our Hospital ABC. Gordon, Hampden, Tindall, M. C.; Dennys, Joyce (illus.). London: John Lane the Bodley Head, n.d. [ca. 1916]

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