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History of the Book

History of the Book at RBSC

UBC's Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) Library collects rare and historically significant manuscripts and published works, which are available for you to view and read. This guide provides an introduction to special collection resources relating to the history of the book available through RBSC, UBC Library, and on the web. 

Photo credit: UBC Library

Featured Collections

Image source: Catholic Church. Pope (1243-1254: Innocent IV). 1245. [Privilegium Innocentii IV pro monasterio S. Michaelis de Tridento]. Western Manuscript collection. UBC Library, Rare Books and Special Collections.

Image source: Catholic Church. [Between 1400-1600]. [Book of hours fragments]. Western Manuscripts Collection, UBC Library, Rare Books and Special Collections.

Image source: William Morris. 1896. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (The Kelmscott Chaucer). [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. 

Related Resources

If you want to continue your research beyond our collections, the links below will help guide you in finding other useful sources.


UBC Library Research Guides



Archival Materials

Medieval Art and Architecture: Illuminated Manuscripts

Special Collections: English Literature

Historical Children's Literature

Related UBC Sites

Department of English

Department of History

Medieval Studies Program

Related Websites

History of the Book in Canada/Histoire du livre et de l'imprime au Canada

  • Developed by a team of historians, literary scholars, librarians, and information specialists, a History of the Book in Canada/Histoire du livre et de l'imprimé au Canada defined Canada’s place within an international network of book history studies. HBiC/HLIC was funded in 2000 under the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Seven editors coordinated research from six universities across Canada and collaborated with new and established scholars.

Centre for the History of the Book

  • Established in 1995, the Centre aims to promote research into the production, circulation and reception of published material from manuscripts to electronic texts.

Perseus Collections/Texts

  • An evolving collection of resources for the study of the ancient world, including archaeology, atlas, texts and translations, text tools and lexica.

History of the Book Resource Guide at the University of Maryland

  • A guide to resources on the the history of printing and the book using materials from University of Maryland Special Collections.

Literary Resources -- Bibliography and History of the Book

  • A list of helpful links dealing with the history of printing and the book.

A Condensed History of Books

  • An overview of the major developments in the history of the book. Part of a larger history of graphic design web presentation.