Registration for Peel Workshops now open!

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Bruce Peel Special Collections is reorganizing its teaching program

The Peel library is testing a new approach to teaching with a series of Peel Workshops that will provide a wide range of hands-on and experiential learning opportunities to those University of Alberta students who are motivated to sign up. 

Registration opened at 8am on Monday, 7 January 2019.
Find more information, including links to online registration, on the Bruce Peel website here.

"Feminist and Family Man: Book Shines New Light on Legendary Mountie Sam Steele" (CBC)

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Portrait of Steele, ca. 1915

University of Alberta Press has issued a major biography of Sam Steele by Rod Macleod, Professor Emeritus in U of A's Department of History and Classics. The paperback edition of the book is now available from U of A PressIndigo, and

Check out a CBC story "Feminist and Family Man: Book Shines New Light on Legendary Mountie Sam Steele" (13 Jan 2019) or the story in Folio "New Biography Reveals Private Life of Sam Steele: U of A Historian's Account Portrays the Legendary Mountie as a Devoted Family Man" (23 Jan 2019).

A special limited edition hardcover is available for sale only through Bruce Peel Special Collections at a price of $70 (including tax). 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 copies 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 the fall of 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.

Retrieval Request Form

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All researchers (including students, faculty, visiting scholars, and members of the general public) must submit either a Retrieval Request Form (for books) or a Discover Archives Retrieval Request Form (for archival materials) at least 24 hours before their visit to Bruce Peel Special Collections in order to be sure that library materials have been retrieved from storage and are available for their use. 

If you have any questions, please contact library staff at or call 780-492-5998 (Monday-Friday 12-4:30).

Where do ideas about witchcraft come from?

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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 Fran├žois 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 Fran├žois 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.

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).