Seagram Museum Donates Rare Books, Archives to the UW Library

Friday, August 1, 1997

Library Newsletter, Vol. 28, No. 2, August 1997

Seagram Museum Donates Rare Books,
Archives to the UW Library

Compleat Body of Distilling

Frontispiece from Smith's A Compleat Body of Distilling Explaining the Mysteries of that Science in a most easy and familiar Manner. (London, 1731)

The Seagram Museum of Waterloo has announced that its 900-volume rare book collection as well as its early archival collections have been donated to the University of Waterloo Library.

To be housed in the recently expanded and environmentally controlled Doris Lewis Rare Book Room, both the book and archival collections will complement the Library's existing research collections in the fields of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the history of technology as well as the decorative arts, temperance, and social history.

Earliest of the imprints in the rare book collection is Konrad Gesner's famous book on distillation, De Secretis Remediis aut Potius Thesaurus, printed in Zurich in 1554. Among the other notable and in some cases irreplaceable volumes are the first edition of Livre du Vigneron et du Fabricant de autres vins de fruits, by Joseph Mauny de Mornay, Paris, 1838.

The finely bound and carefully assembled collections on distillation and the beverage alcohol industry will provide fine resources for the study of one of the early and well-known industries of the Waterloo area.

Archival collections, comprising the papers of the Seagram family and the early (pre-1928) records from the Joseph E. Seagram and Sons Ltd. Waterloo plant, will add significant resources to the Library's existing manuscripts and papers documenting the local and urban history of the Waterloo area.

The Seagram family papers will be a welcome addition to the papers of other families influential in the business, cultural, and political history of this area, such as the Breithaupt, Motz, Bowlby, and Clement families.

The early records of the Waterloo plant will augment other collections of local businesses and institutions such as those of the K-W Record, Forbes Woollen mills, and the local YWCA and YMCA by providing new areas of exploration and research for students of history, economics, geography, and sociology.

This gift of a portion of the Seagram Museum's cultural properties continues the tradition of support of the university by both the Bronfmans and Seagram Co. Ltd. The tradition began in UW's founding year with the gift of Seagram Stadium, the university's first permanent facility.

The Doris Lewis Rare Book Room houses the Library's 30,000 rare books and 1,500 linear feet of archival and manuscript collections that support the goals of the teaching and research programs of the faculty and students at UW.

Nationally known for its archival and rare book holdings on the history of Canadian women as well as Canada's only collection of rare books on the history of dance and ballet, the Rare Book Room also houses significant treatises in architecture, urban and regional planning, and the history of mathematics and Euclid's Elements of Geometry.

Most recently, the area of subject strength has been augmented by the gift of an important environmental archive, the Papers of the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain.

workers bottling Seagrams whisky

"Bottling of Seagram's V.O. in Waterloo Plant, Ontario, 1928." From the archives of Joseph E. Seagram and Sons Ltd.

The rare and special book collections are catalogued and available via the Internet through the Library's on-line catalogue, TRELLIS. Detailed archival finding aids are also available. Summary descriptions as well as selected guides are available via the library website.

Among the Seagram Museum collections being dispersed after it closed earlier this year, Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo will receive the prints, paintings, lithographs, and works on paper, while Brock University in St. Catharines will obtain the wine-related library, artifacts, and historic wine bottles. The museum's conservation laboratory equipment and supplies are being donated to the Waterloo Regional Curatorial Centre.

For more information contact Special Collections & Archives.

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