Printing, Missionary--Specimens; Religious works; Native language; Aboriginal languages; Bible--Native language
The collection was established in 1975 with material from the National Library's general collection, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, private donors, and the antiquarian book market.
The collection includes some 750 titles printed before 1950 in fifty-eight dialects or languages. The emphasis is on Canadiana, but all North American materials except Mexican are included. There is a good representative collection of missionary printing and translations of bibles, prayer books, hymnals, dictionaries, and grammars. The collection features landmark books in the history of Native-language literature: Dictionaire de la langve hvronne nécessaire à cevx qui n'ont l'intelligence d'icelle, et ont à traiter avec les savvages dv pays (1632) by Father Gabriel Sagard, the earliest dictionary of a native Canadian language; Nehiro-iriniui aiamihe massinahigan (1767) in the Montagnais language, prepared by Father Jean-Baptiste de la Brosse, the first Native-language book printed in Canada; and Nene karighwiyoston tsinihorighhoten ne Saint John (1804) in Mohawk, the earliest edition of any book of the Bible published by the British and Foreign Bible Society. There are also fine examples from mission presses, e.g., a portion of the Book of Common Prayer (1853), the first work printed at the Moose Mission Press by John Horden; and Livre de prières à l'usage de la tribu des porteurs (1933), printed at the Stuart Lake Mission by Father Adrien Gabriel Morice. All Native-language books printed before 1950 are presently collected.
The holdings are catalogued on AMICUS. LC classification is used.
Material from the collection can be consulted in the Special Collections Consultation Room, 3rd Floor. For further information visit: Service and Opening Hours.
Interlibrary Loan: No.
Reprography: Photocopying is done by the staff and at their discretion.
Reference Assistance: Yes.
Publications Describing Collection
Books in Native Languages in the Rare Book Collections of the National Library of Canada/Livres en langues autochtones dans les collections de livres rares de la Bibliothèque nationale du Canada. Compiled by Joyce M. Banks. Rev. and enl. ed. - Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1985.