Book Collection - Sol Eisen Collection of Canadiana, Americana, Mexicana and Incunabula.

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Sol Eisen Collection of Canadiana, Americana, Mexicana and Incunabula.

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  • 1496-1947 (Custody)
    Custodian
    Eisen, Sol

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The Sol Eisen Collection of Canadiana is a collection of 179 rare, and in some cases, previously unrecorded, books, pamphlets, and printed ephemera from Quebec, Ontario, and Western Canada. The collection was presented to the University of Waterloo Library by Morton Eisen of Toronto in 1993. Sol Eisen (1898-1974), a Toronto lawyer, first began his "collecting hobby" with baseball cards in 1911. The focus of his collection eventually turned to rare books, and the variety and quality of the material he acquired are testimony to the diligence and enthusiasm with which he pursued his hobby.

Highlights of the Sol Eisen Collection of Canadiana include its earliest imprint, Nehiro-Iriniui Aiamihe Massinahigan (1767), a book of prayers and catechism for the Montagnais Indians by the Jesuit missionary, Jean Baptiste de La Brosse. This is one of the few books ever to be printed in the Montagnais dialect. Also important among the early imprints is, Traite de la loi des fiefs (1775), a compilation of four publications by Francois Cugnet which sets forth the basic principles of the civil law of the French Regime (still in force in the Province of Quebec).

Several imprints are of great rarity. Included in this category are a children's book printed in Brockville in 1826 entitled, First Book for Children; an 1839 edition of Wilson's Border Tales; and two previously unknown almanacs, The Upper Canada Almanac and Provincial Calendar for the Year of Our Lord 1831, and The Toronto Farmers' and Mechanicks' Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1838. Other items not noted in the standard bibliographies include an 1879 broadside printed in Winnipeg entitled, A Grand Display of Manitoba Products ... Selected for the Ottawa Exhibition. Only one other copy is known to exist of Swift's York County Almanac for the Year 1832, which is also of interest by virtue of its printer, William Lyon MacKenzie.

Other notable items include two books printed in the Cree language at Moose Factory, one in 1896, and the other in 1859.

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