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English Canadian Small Press Collection
Dalhousie University, Killam Memorial Library

Canadian literature; Book arts--Specimens

The collection was established in 1970 for the purpose of developing a comprehensive collection of current Canadian creative writing being published by small presses. The broad category has proved to be effective in assembling together, in one bibliographical unit, Canadian poetry, drama, prose, and small magazines. In this way, different formats and publication frequencies have not split Canadian creative writing into separate departments.

The library's operative definition of "small press" includes presses traditionally known for promoting new and original creative writers. Small press material is noted for its fine format and/or typography and/or illustration. The collection contains numerous small press publications of creative writing, with special attention given to poetry and drama. The main strength of the collection is post-1970 material, although retrospective purchases are slowly filling in pre-1970 gaps. Small press publications from the Maritime provinces are a strong focus of the collection. A number of the inscribed editions contain manuscript poems. Children's literature and French language small press material is excluded from the collection. The current collection policy is committed to maintaining comprehensive holdings in the area of English small press publications.


11,000 monographs; 150 serials; 60 serials currently received; 50 audiotapes; 10 spoken word records; 250 poetry broadsides; 150 literary posters.

Bibliographic Access
Monographs, serials, audiotapes, and records are catalogued in a card catalogue. Broadsides and vertical files are not fully catalogued; author and press name access is, however, available. Uncatalogued material is not accessible. LC name authorities and classification are used. The holdings are recorded in the Nova Scotia Union Catalogue. Bibliographies include Grace Tratt's Check list of Canadian small presses, English language (Halifax: Dalhousie University Libraries, 1974) and Charles Laugher's Atlantic Province authors of the twentieth century : a bio-bibliographical checklist (Halifax : Dalhousie University Libraries, 1982).

Physical Access
The collection is available for consultation in the Special Collections Department which during term is open to the public. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: Available, except for non-circulating inscribed and/or limited and/or irregularly formatted items.

Reprography: As the condition of the material permits. Material will be photographed by the University Photography Services Department.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
None at present.