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Victorian Natural History
University of Toronto, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Natural history; Geology; Birds--Great Britain; Marine zoology; Insects--Great Britain; Butterflies--Great Britain; Gosse, Philip Henry

The collection was established in 1972. It was acquired from Richard Freeman of University College, London.

The collection consists of popular works of the Victorian period on a wide variety of natural history subjects, ranging from geology, botany, and ornithology, to marine zoology, conchology, and mycology. A prominent part of the collection consists of the works of Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), including the rare Illustrations of the birds of Jamaica (1849), and an album of Gosse's original water colour drawings entitled Rotifera, dated 1886. The collection complements the Darwin Collection and provides an abundance of evidence of the background against which the evolutionary theory grew.


Approximately 1,000 books.

Bibliographic Access
The collection is fully catalogued.

Physical Access
The collection is open to the public with identification. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: No.

Reprography: As the condition of the material warrants.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
None at present.