Department of English

University of Toronto

25.0 Major Libraries

All figures of books owned are approximations, based on those published in The World of Learning, 46th ed. (London: Europa, 1996) and World Guide to Libraries, l2th ed. (Munich: Saur, 1995).

Note: The web-sites given are largely to enable catalogue access, although in some cases, catalogue access is not available. For an index of 17,000 libraries worldwide, see  


Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library: 1,500,079; fine art; theatre; Canadiana; Conan Doyle; Gay and Lesbian; Playpool (drama).  

McGill University, Montreal: 2.7 million volumes; history of printing (Colgate Collection).  

McMaster University, Hamilton: 1,610,081; 18th century; Bertrand Russell; Samuel Beckett.  

National Library of Canada, Ottawa: over 14,500,000 items; Canadiana (national union catalogue); copyright library.  

Queen's University, Kingston: 3,092,933; Canadiana; pre-1700 and rare books; John Buchan; fantasy.  

Toronto Public: Osborne Collection of Children's Books (published catalogue); Judith Merril collection of science fiction.  

University of British Columbia: 3,113,492; Canadiana; Victorian poetry (Colbeck Collection, published catalogue).  

University of Toronto: 7,924,300; 1880-1920; Anglo-Irish; Shakespeare and Elizabethan London; Canadiana; Voltaire; Rousseau; history of science.  

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Brown University (rare books in John Carter Brown Library): 2,548,269; Americana; Harris Collection of American poetry.  

California, Berkeley: 7,697,027; published catalogue; Mark Twain.  

California, Los Angeles: 6,179,973; published catalogue; especially strong in 19th-century novels (Sadleir collection); includes the important separate Clark Library of books 1660-1740; fellowships.  

Chicago, University of: over 5,700,000; Restoration plays.  

Columbia: 6,600,000; history of printing.  

Cornell: 5,300,000; French Revolution; Wordsworth & Coleridge; Dreiser; F. M. Ford; Samuel Johnson; Joyce; Kipling; W. Lewis; Pope; Shaw.  

Harvard (Widener Library; rare books & mss. in Houghton Library): 12,605,537; strong almost everywhere, especially Renaissance.  

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Library: 8,281,455, Shakespeare.  

Indiana (rare books in Lilly Library): 5,554,069 vols.; 6,705,432 manuscripts.

Kansas: 2,960,765; novels, science fiction   

Library of Congress: 29,000,000; copyright library; published catalogues; National Union Catalog.  

Michigan (rare books in Clements Library): 6,700,000; published catalogue; strong in plays, 1660-1800; Americana, including Faulkner and Frost; English and American Drama.  

Minnesota: 5,176,536. Children's Literature; Literary manuscripts.  

New York Public Library: 11,300,000; published catalogues; theatre & drama; Berg Collection (very rich in English literature of 19th & 20th centuries).  

State U of New York, Buffalo: modern mss., particularly poetry, but also James Joyce.  

Princeton: 5,000,000; Americana, Victorian novels; theatre; Beardsley; Sylvia Beach and Win. Cowper collections.  

Texas (rare books and mss. in Humanities Research Center): 6,835,983; 18th century and post-1850; very rich in modern literary mss. and printed books.  

Virginia: 4,000,000; novels (esp. Gothic); Victorian fiction; Americana; Faulkner; history of printing.  

Yale (rare books and mss. in Beinecke Library): 10,500,544; Centre for British Art (illustrated books); 18th century (James Boswell); 19th century (Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson).  

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Public Research Libraries (U.S.)

See also Libraries on the Web: USA State for access to the USA state library system.

Boston Public: 4,153,674; Americana; Defoe.  

Chicago Public: 4,764,000.  

Cleveland Public: 2,768,414; folklore.  

Detroit Public: 2,655,156; Canadiana.  

Free Library of Philadelphia: 3,196,000; Americana; Dickens; Goldsmith; Poe; children's literature.  

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Specialized Libraries (U.S.)

Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.: published catalogue; Shakespeare; English Renaissance; Dryden; English plays, 1641-1700; British civilization, 1500-1700; fellowships.  

Huntington Library, San Marino [Los Angeles], California: 356,707 rare books; Medieval and Renaissance; illustrated books; English art; British drama; Western Americana; British and American history and literature generally; fellowships. Partly Catalogued under RLIN. [U of T Library Home Page; Resources; Other Library Catalogues]   

Library Company of Philadelphia: esp. 1740-1870; Civil War.  

Metropolitan Museum, New York: published catalogue.  

Newberry Library, Chicago: over 1,400,000; Renaissance, 18th and 19th centuries; history of printing (published catalogue); fellowships.  

Pierpont Morgan Library, New York: English literature; illustrated books; Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; printing, typography, and fine bindings; Dickens; Scott; Ruskin; The Brontes; Austen; Thoreau; Gilbert & Sullivan.  

Rosenbach Museum, Philadelphia: rarissima (Conrad, Dickens, Joyce mss.)  

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Bodleian Library (Oxford University): 6,000,000; copyright library; very strong in Elizabethan literature.  

The British Library, Humanities and Social Sciences, London: over 13,000,000; published catalogue; copyright library; strong in all English periods, and many foreign. [U of T Library Home Page; UTL Catalogue; Resources; Other Library Catalogues]  

Cambridge University Library: 5,204,000; copyright library.  

John Rylands University Library of Manchester: 3,500,000; medieval.  

National Art Library [Victoria and Albert Museum], London: 1,000,000 art and design; Dyce and Forster collections.

National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh: 6,000,000; copyright library; Scottish books and mss.  Limited catalogue at  

National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth: c. 5,000,000; Welsh copyright library; Welsh books and mss.  

University of London Library: over 1,700,000; education; magic; Elizabethan-Jacobean literature, esp. Shakespeare and Francis Bacon.  

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National Library of Ireland, Dublin: c. 500,000; Irish books and mss.  

Trinity College, Dublin: 3,300,000; British copyright library; 18th century.  

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Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence: 5,000,000.  

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome: 4,500,000.  

Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire, Strasbourg, Section Sciences Humaines: 3,000,000.

Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris: 9,000,000; copyright library; published catalogue.  

Bibliothèques des Universités de Paris: over 9,260,000 (Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne: over 3,000,000). Access to each Parisian University Library Catalogue through 

Deutsche Bibliothek, Frankfurt-am-Main: 5,920,000; copyright library   

Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg: c. 20,000,000. A disastrous fire in February, 1988, destroyed some 400,000 books, while many millions of others were damaged by water or are threatened by mould.

National Diet Library, Tokyo: 6,229,000; copyright library.   

National Library of Australia, Canberra: 4,700,000; copyright library; published union catalogue of 18th-century books. /

National Library of China, Beijing: 15,980,636.  

Russian State Library, Moscow (formerly the State V. I. Lenin Library): over 35,700,000; copyright library.

Turnbull Library, Wellington: 215,312; Milton; Katherine Mansfield.

Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin: 8,700,000.  

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