COVID-19 Update (Peel closed)

No comments :


Bruce Peel Special Collections is now closed as part of the University of Alberta's overall strategy to address COVID-19. 

To find out whether other University of Alberta Library locations and service points are open or closed, please check the University of Alberta website for current information.  

If you require general reference support from University of Alberta Library, please consider using the chat service through the University of Alberta Library website.  

If you have questions that relate to materials housed in Bruce Peel Special Collections, you can still send us an email at and you can be assured that we will assist you when we are able.

Take care!


No comments :

Canadian Women Artists' Books


Curator: Peel team
June 1st – August 6th 2020 
Pushing the limits of the traditional book form and constructed using a wide variety of formats and materials, artists’ books first emerged in the 1960s and 1970s as an expression of social and political activism, a way to "talk back" to mass production and mass media. In the decades that followed, these unique or limited-edition hand-made art objects soon became valuable and highly collectible. The Peel library's newest digital exhibition highlights a selection of artists' books made in Canada by women: Canadian Women Artists’ Books. 

This summer, we will be offering a limited opportunity to view these special artists' books on display in Bruce Peel Special Collections during normal hours (Monday-Friday 12:30-4:30pm).

Thanks so much to the team of student researchers who, funded by the SSHRC-sponsored "Women Writing and Reading in Canada from 1950" project, did the original research and prepared the exhibition upon which this one has been built.

Thousands of years old, cuneiform tablets are still getting some buzz!

No comments :

A CBC Radio story profiles researchers who are working to reveal the hidden stories in cuneiform tablets: "Machine Learning Deciphers the World's Oldest Texts" (15 Dec 2018).

A story in University of Alberta's student newspaper, The Gateway (Feb 2019), profiles the small collection of cuneiform tablets housed in Bruce Peel Special Collections: "Four 4,000-year-old Tablets Make Up the Oldest Item[s] in the U of A's Library Collection."

An international story in The Guardian (10 Mar 2019), reveals the value of one very special cuneiform tablet: "Babylonian Treasure Seized at Heathrow to be Returned to Iraq: Stone Dating from Second Millennium BC was Claimed to be ‘for home decoration’."

Bruce Peel Special Collections is located in the basement of Rutherford South and is open Monday-Friday 12:30-4:30pm. Visitors are welcome to drop in to check out the current exhibition.  Researchers are welcome to examine rare materials in the supervised reading room, but are asked to request those materials in advance of their visit using the library catalogue or a Retrieval Request Form.

Image of legendary mountie Sam Steele posted in a BC pot shop

1 comment :

What does Rod Macleod, Professor Emeritus in University of Alberta's Department of History and Classics, have to say about the dispute over an image of the legendary mountie Sam Steele hanging in the window of a BC pot shop and the resulting trademark dispute with the RCMP? See CBC News story (10 Dec 2019).

Portrait of Steele, ca. 1915

Earlier in the year, University of Alberta Press issued a major biography of Sam Steele by Rod Macleod, Professor Emeritus in U of A's Department of History and Classics. Link to the CBC's book review: "Feminist and Family Man: Book Shines New Light on Legendary Mountie Sam Steele." The paperback edition of the book is available from U of A Press and from Indigo and

A few copies of a special limited edition hardcover are still available for sale only through Bruce Peel Special Collections at a price of $75 (tax included). We only accept cash payments in Peel, but you can prepay by credit card by contacting Terry Gong (780-492-8320) in the accounting office.  If you wish to have one or more limited editions mailed to you, then please email your request to We charge $10/copy for shipping and handling.

For information about the Sir Samuel Steele Collection housed in University of Alberta's Bruce Peel Special Collections, check out the Steele website here.

In 2017, Bruce Peel Special Collections launched a digital exhibition curated by Alison Rukavina, a professor in the Department of English at Texas Tech University. In this exhibitionSam Steele's Forty Years in Canada: History or Fiction?Dr Rukavina reveals some of the reasons that it is difficult to distinguish historical fact from fiction when she explores the story behind the story for some of the most dramatic events recounted in Steele's 1915 memoir.

Where do ideas about witchcraft come from?

No comments :

Explore early ideas about witchcraft by learning about a very rare (and sinister) fifteenth-century manuscript housed in University of Alberta's Bruce Peel Special Collections.

Tinctor's Foul Treatise is an award-winning digital exhibition that unlocks the secrets of this special manuscript. Curated by Andrew Gow, Rob Desjardins, and François Pageau, the exhibition was mounted in October 2016 by University of Alberta's Bruce Peel Special Collections, and it is the winner of the prestigious 2018 Leab Award (Electronic Exhibitions) from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the American Library Association.

The Arras Witch Treatises is a full English-language translation of two important fifteenth-century source texts (Tinctor's Invectives and the anonymous Recollectioprepared by Andrew Gow, Rob Desjardins, and François Pageau and published by Pennsylvania State University Press (2016) as part of their Magic in History series. This edition is available through University of Alberta Libraries (BF 1582 A155 2016) and is widely available for sale.

Get a close look—through—at the copy of Tinctor's Invectives housed in University of Alberta's Bruce Peel Special Collections.

You can still check out Tinctor's Foul Manual, a very interesting one-hour documentary produced by Paul Kennedy for the CBC's Ideas that has been aired numerous times, most recently on 2 August 2016.

Read "The Travels of a Fifteenth-Century Demonological Manuscript: The University of Alberta's Copy of Jean Taincture's Invectives contre la secte de vaudrie," by Robert Desjardins, Francois Pageau, and Andrew Gow. Florilgelium 33 (26 Aug 2019).

Check out the story entitled "Rare Book was Catalyst for Witch Hunts," by Michael Hingston in U of A's alumni magazine, Thought Box (21 Oct 2016).

Check out Paula Simons' fascinating exploration of the ways that old ideas about witchcraft continue to haunt us today: "Politics, Powerful Women and Hunting Witches in a New Age of Superstition," Edmonton Journal (29 Oct 2016).  This story helpfully links to a relevant story by Simons: "Witch History takes flight in Rare Manuscript at U of A," Edmonton Journal (27 Oct 2012), and a related blog post "The Witch-Burner's Mein Kampf: Excerpts of Evil" (Oct 2012).