Curator's Showcase

Eight treasures are now available.

The History of Little Red Riding Hood – [1830?]pointerThe History of Little Red Riding Hood – [1830?]

There are many variants of the Little Red Riding Hood story. This version is based on Charles Perrault's "Le petit chaperon rouge," which appeared in the author's Histoires ou Contes du temps passé (Paris, 1697). Perrault's tales were translated into English in 1729 by Robert Samber. From the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books.

The Trials of James McDermott and Grace Marks – 1843pointerThe Trials of James McDermott and Grace Marks – 1843

This account describes the trials of McDermott and Marks for the murders of Marks’ employer, the wealthy Thomas Kinnear, and of Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress. The story of Grace Marks, who was accused of and spent thirty years in jail for the murders, was the inspiration for Margaret Atwood’s award-winning book, Alias Grace.

The Sad Tale of Mrs. Mole and Mrs Mouse – ca. 1850pointerThe Sad Tale of Mrs. Mole and Mrs Mouse – ca. 1850

The manuscript "The Sad Tale of Mrs. Mole and Mrs. Mouse" (ca.1850) is a poem written and illustrated in watercolours by Jane Vaughan Cotton, wife of Canadian-born G.S. Niverville Boucher de Montizambert, for her daughter Caroline Elizabeth. Possibly inspired by the traditional rhyme "Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse," it tells of the sad fate of Mrs. Mouse, with many ghostly Victorian touches. From the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books.

Samuel Smith Logbook – 1857pointerSamuel Smith Logbook – 1857

A ship surgeon’s written observations and illustrations on his journey on the Hudson’s Bay Company Ship Prince Arthur from Gravesend, England to Moose Fort, James Bay, June 13 - August 24, 1857. Dr. Smith describes his life and experiences on board ship as well as the sights on his transatlantic route.

Sketches of Toronto – 1858pointerSketches of Toronto – 1858

A guidebook for visitors to Toronto, which hosted the Provincial Exhibition in 1858. The Toronto Reference Library's copy is believed to have belonged to Matthew Teefy, Canada’s longest serving Postmaster in Richmond Hill, Ontario, and contains many handwritten comments and corrections to the text.

Lady Conan Doyle Diary – 1914pointerLady Conan Doyle Diary – 1914

Jean Conan Doyle, the second wife of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, accompanied her husband on his 1914 tour of Canada. Her travel diary records her impressions of Canada's scenic beauty, its growing cities, and the people she met along the way.

Leonard  L. Youell Diary – 1916-18pointerLeonard L. Youell Diary – 1916-18

From Aylmer, Ontario, Lieutenant Youell served with the Canadian Field Artillery in many key World War I battles, including Ypres, Vimy Ridge and the Somme. The diary is filled with detailed accounts of the battles, the conditions in the trenches, and the more personal thoughts, hopes and fears faced by the soldiers. The 1916-1918 diary is part of the Leonard L. Youell war collection, which consists of diaries, letters, photographs and other documents pertaining to Youell’s involvement in the war and in the 43rd Battery Association.

The Dumbells: Original Scripts – 1917-1919pointerThe Dumbells: Original Scripts – 1917-1919

The Dumbells were the most famous of several Canadian Army performing troupes, or "concert parties, that entertained Allied troops with songs and original skits during the First World War. Four original Dumbells scripts are presented from Toronto Reference Library’s manuscript collections relating to the performing arts in Canada.

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