Blog Archives

New Year, New Caption This!

New Year, New Caption This! The January weather inspired us to start 2023 off with an ode to the winter season, and what better to represent the freezing cold with than ice? This month’s Caption This put the spotlight on …

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Missing Voices Website and Podcast Launch

McGill Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Missing Voices: South Asian Perspectives on The Gwillim Archives website, developed with funding from the Digital Museums Canada investment program. As museums, libraries, and archives around the world confront the …

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#ColorOurCollections 2023 Edition


It is that time of year again! Brighten up your February with a touch of colour. During the week of February 6-10, 2023, libraries, special collections, archives, and other cultural institutions will share colouring content based on collection items on …

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King Lear from Page to Stage: Shakespeare Lecture 2023

Paul Gross and Kimberley Rampersad leaning over a Rare Book.

A familial story of legacy, loyalty and loss, King Lear is perhaps Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, and one of the greatest challenges he presents. On January 18, 2023, director Kimberley Rampersad and actor Paul Gross discussed their vision for the 2023 Stratford Festival …

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A rare toy theatre remix

Foregound: toy theatre from McGill's rare and special collections. background Rare Books Reading Room.

It’s a most magical time of year where the young and young at heart express gratitude, reflect on the year gone by, get in touch with family and friends, and celebrate the hope the new year brings. Once again, our …

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Colour and Cards – the Foundations of Tuck & Sons

pictures from paddyland

Jacquelyn Sundberg, Outreach Librarian lire la version française Colour. For graphic designers and publishers today, colour is a crucial choice for every project, laying the groundwork for the tone of a publication. In the early days of postcards and colour …

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When Music Meets Technology

manuscript chant notation

By Labiba Faiza, Outreach Assistant, ROAAr One rarely hears of a mix between medieval music and cutting-edge software development. Last Tuesday, however, ROAAr joined the worlds of music and technology to host “Search and ye shall find: Medieval music manuscripts …

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New Findings on Thomas Chatterton

This past Summer Chris Jones travelled from Scotland to spend one month in the Reading Room to investigate several rare editions from the Rare Books stacks attributed to the young poet, Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770).  Professor Jones was the recipient of …

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Fashionable Northern Tours

Summer is the perfect time for a holiday get-away. Maybe you are in the midst of looking into various guides and maps to get to your perfect destination and make the most of it. Travellers of the nineteenth century did …

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“I fear our cypher is detected”: When agony ads go awry

The “FLO. Ciphers,” sent between September 1853 and January 1854, were a lovers’ correspondence that appeared in the Agony Column of “The Times”. Identifiable only by their addressee, the correspondence was the subject of much intrigue due to the unique numeric cipher in which it was written. The cipher was broken and later intercepted by Charles Babbage, a Victorian mathematician with a knack for code breaking. The ever-witty Babbage let the correspondents onto his discovery by correcting the grammar and spelling of one of their messages. Finding themselves exposed, the lovers ended their secret correspondence in haste.

By: Ronny Litvack-Katzman, Research Assistant, ROAAr At first glance, the Agony Column appears a perfect outlet for clandestine correspondences. Throughout the 19th-century, thousands of writers across the British Empire successfully sent and received cryptic messages through popular Victorian newspapers such …

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