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William Inglis Morse Collection
Dalhousie University, Killam Memorial Library

Nova Scotia--History--1603-1713; Collectors and collecting; Canadian poetry; Printing--Specimens; Book arts

The collection was assembled by William Morse between 1905 and 1933. Morse was an avid bibliophile who reseached actively and collected materials in England, France, and the United States. Additions to Dr. Morse's original gift in 1933 were made by him until 1942. His daughter made another sigificant donation in 1971.

The collection is one of the university library's most valuable research resources. The collection reflects the varied interests of Dr. Morse. The major subject areas are the exploration and settlement of Acadia, the early history of Nova Scotia, the history of printing, the book arts, and rare books within the humanities. The main strength of the collection is the eighteenth century, although key works documenting the history of printing and binding were collected from earlier centuries. The geographic emphasis of the collection is Acadia, Nova Scotia, and New England. Important items in the collection include twenty-one Bliss Carman first editions and special printings. The collection is not being developed further.


716 monographs; 18 serials; 131 pictures and portraits; 29 manuscripts; 82 separate historical maps; 4 bound volumes of Atlantic Neptune by J. F. W. DesBarres (119 maps); 2 sheets of music.

Bibliographic Access
Monographs and serials are catalogued. LC subject headings and classification are used. Manuscripts, pictures, and maps have author or cartographer access and very basic subject access (primarily geographical access). A separate shelf list is maintained. The collection is, at present, being recatalogued. A descriptive catalogue, listed below, provides access to the collection until the recataloguing project has been completed. The holdings are recorded in the Nova Scotia Union Catalogue. Partial holdings provided in Libraries on-line catalogue, Novanet.

Physical Access
The collection is available for consultation in the Special Collections Department which during term is open to the public. Browsing is not permitted; material must be retrieved for the patron. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: No.

Reprography: Photocopying is done by the staff, as the condition of the material permits.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
Dalhousie University. Library. -- Catalogue of the William Inglis Morse collection of books, pictures, maps, manuscripts, etc. at Dalhousie University Library, Halifax, Nova Scotia. -- Comp. by Eugenie Archibald, with a foreword by Carleton Stanley, and a pref. by William Inglis Morse. -- London : Curwen Press, 1938.