Canadian history

Adam Shortt Library of Canadiana

This is the largest collection in our holdings, comprising the bulk of our holdings. This collection concentrates on Canadian history, especially that of Western Canada. Old and rare materials, including 18th and 19th-century editions of explorers' and missionaries' accounts, make up part of the collection. Current publications of primary sources and significant monographs and collections are added on a monthly basis.

Contact us for assistance accessing items in this collection.

Becker collection

Books, serials and articles relating to German resettlement in Russia, Canada and Saskatchewan, acquired from Dr. Anthony Becker. Includes genealogical source material with an emphasis on Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist and Mennonite communities. Approx. 250 titles.

Canadiana pamphlets and postcards

This collection consists of 10,000 items of written and pictorial material on Canadian political parties, labour, women, Native people and Saskatchewan agriculture. It includes over 2,000 postcards that represent Saskatchewan and Western Canada in the early twentieth century. Some postcards have been digitized in our digital projects.

This collection is fully catalogued and searchable in the library catalogue.

A title search for “pamphlet collection” will return the complete list of items. You can also use the advanced search to combine the title search for "pamphlet collection" with a word search to limit the results to a particular topic.

Finding aids are also available for other pamphlet collections:

Co-operative studies

Originally housed in the Centre for the Study of Co-Operatives Library, this specialized collection of approximately 6,000 items was transferred to UASC in 2014.

It focuses on the topic of co-operatives from social, political, economic and historical points of view and consists of a variety of resources including:

  • student theses
  • copies of the Centre’s publications
  • serials, articles, newsletters, magazines, pamphlets, and short research articles related to co-operatives
  • audiovisual materials
  • books

Notable public figures

Diefenbaker Library

The Diefenbaker Library collection predominantly includes books that were owned by former Prime Minister and USask alumnus John Diefenbaker. The collection has been supplemented by books relating to Diefenbaker and his government. It includes over 4,000 titles.

This collection is housed off-site and must be requested at least a day in advance of your visit. Contact us to make a request.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt collection

At over 800 titles consisting of more than a thousand items, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt collection is one of the most complete collections about the former US president. On the surface, one might have difficulty drawing any direct correlation between The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Collection and the province of Saskatchewan, but the ideas put forth by the US president’s  “New Deal” legislation had a great influence on the direction that Saskatchewan Premier Tommy Douglas and his CCF government would eventually steer the province.

The collection, a generous gift of Henry and Cheryl Kloppenburg, is of outstanding significance and cultural importance for its close association with Canadian history and, in particular, to Saskatchewan's political history.  For this reason, this comprehensive collection has been certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Review Board. 

Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity

The Richards Collection, containing rare and/or fragile titles and collections dealing with sexual and gender diversity, complements the library's extensive circulating collections on these subjects.  Among the collection's particular strengths are holdings of LGBT periodicals, books by Canadian authors and publishers, queer mystery and detective fiction, and titles of both nonfiction and fiction (including pulp novels) which predate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement.

This collection includes the following subseries: 

USask collections

Duff Spafford Alumni Books

Begun in 2005, the Alumni Book collection (also called the College Building Book collection after the place where it was originally housed) was an initiative of Duff Spafford. Professor Duff Spafford began compiling author lists and collecting books produced by USask alumni and donating them to the collection.

In 2018, the Alumni Book collection was moved to UASC and renamed the Duff Spafford Alumni Book Collection. Some items are shelved outside the Dean's office on the first floor of the Murray Library. The rest are available for viewing in the UASC reading room. The collection continues to grow through donations.

You can search the collection at the link below. Select "modify search" and add your search criteria, leaving "Duff Spafford Alumni Book Collection".

Faculty publications

This collection includes offprints and reprints of articles authored by USask faculty dating back to the first faculty members including Walter Murray and Edmund Oliver.

If you wish to submit articles for inclusion in this collection please send an email to with Faculty Publications Articles in the subject line and we will contact you. Thank you for helping build this important special collection.

This collection is housed off-site and must be requested at least a day in advance of your visit. Contact us to make a request.

USask theses

Includes bound copies of all masters' and doctoral theses accepted by USask since 1914 (8,300+ volumes). Print theses must be used in the Special Collections reading room. 

Starting in 2007, all theses are submitted electronically and are available in the library catalogue as soon as they are approved by the thesis committee. Theses may be searched by choosing "Thesis collection" in the drop-down menu in the library catalogue.

Full-text theses may also be accessed online through HARVEST, the USask institutional repository. Access will depend on the timing of submission or inclusion in the current digitization program of print theses. 

University authors

The university authors collection is a repository of published works by USask faculty and staff during their employment or retirement. The collection is quite comprehensive, starting with works published at the time of the university’s establishment.  Books, book chapters, conference proceedings, scores, albums and new editions are examples of published works suitable for inclusion in the University Authors Collection. You can see a selection of materials from this collection on the first floor of the Murray Library, north wing next to the quiet reading room. 

If you are USask faculty or staff and have authored, edited, translated or compiled published works we would like to add them to the university authors collection. Please send an email containing brief bibliographic information about your publication to and we will purchase a copy. Donations are also gratefully received.

Contact us for assistance accessing items in this collection.

University publications

This collection includes material published by (and in some cases about) USask colleges, departments and administrative units, including:

  • convocation programs
  • university and college yearbooks
  • The Sheaf (student newspaper)
  • On Campus News (university newspaper) and predecessor publications
  • student memorabilia (e.g. dance cards and musical programs, college and department histories, etc.)

Contact us for assistance accessing items in this collection.

Rare books and manuscripts

Rare books

The rare books collection includes almost 4,000 volumes ranging from medieval manuscripts to early printed bibles, to first editions of literary greats such as Dickens, Twain, and Sir Walter Scott. This collection also includes paintings and prints by renowned artists such as John James Audubon and William H. Perehudoff and works in several languages including, but not limited to, Latin, German, French, Russian, Japanese and Chinese.  

The collection includes first editions, limited editions, works of aesthetic importance, and books subject to loss or mutilation if part of the general collection. Publication dates range from 1491 to the 21st century.

This collection is fully catalogued and available in the library catalogue. A title search for “rare books collection” will generate the complete list of items in the collection. Use the advanced search to combine the title search with a word search to limit the results to rare books to a specific topic.

Medieval and Renaissance manuscript collection

Peter Bietenholz rare book collection

The Bietenholz rare book collection is a significant compilation of books in a number of languages that are many hundreds of years old, including 16th and 17th-century editions of famous authors such as Desiderius Erasmus, Horace, Julius Caesar, Machiavelli, Ovid and Plutarch. 

Visit the Peter Bietenholz rare book collection (archived website) for information about the donors, the collection, and notable books. The collection has also been fully catalogued.

Veterinary medicine rare books

This collection, originally housed at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine Library, is comprised of over 1,100 rare veterinary medicine books and memorabilia including The Rosen Collection of Veterinary Medicine History.

Dr. Jack Rosen collected veterinary medicine books and memorabilia for over 30 years and donated his private collection to the Veterinary Medicine Library in 2004. The Rosen Collection of Veterinary Medicine History consists of approximately 500 books, journals, newsletters, family records, offprints, pamphlets, clippings, certificates, and awards reflecting the history of veterinary medicine and agriculture from the early 16th to mid-20th centuries, both in North America and Europe. The oldest book in the collection is a 1528 printing of Libri de re rustica (The Books of Country Life), an anthology of ancient Greek and Roman agricultural manuscripts. This copy has been re-bound and is in perfect condition.

Visit the Rosen Veterinary History Medicine website to learn more about the books donated by Dr. Rosen and about the history of veterinary medicine literature.

Special collections located in library branches