McGill's Persian collection has a history that pre-dates the founding of the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) and the Islamic studies Library (ISL) in 1952. By the 1930s, the collection already included several hundred manuscripts, orphaned leaves and lithographs. The acquisition of Persian materials was the work of the University Librarian, Gerhard R. Lomer, and the private Montreal collector F. Cleveland Morgan who actively patronized the New York dealer Hassan Khan Monif. Furthermore, the distinguished Russian scholar of Ismailism, Wladimir Ivanow, was instrumental in developing the Blacker-Wood Persian Collection. Working for Casey A. Wood, the ophthalmologist, bibliophile and McGill Library benefactor, Ivanow brought together an exquisite collection of manuscripts on all aspects of Islam, including the natural and supernatural worlds; several of these manuscripts are included in this exhibition.


The exhibition is curated by Sean Swanick (Islamic Studies Liaison Librarian) and Heather Empey (McGill School of Information Studies, graduate, MLIS’14). It was on display in the main floor lobby of McGill's McLennan Library Building from 1 August 2014 to 31 January 2015.

This digital exhibition is the product of a School of Information Studies (SIS) Practicum (Winter 2015) coordinated by Megan Chellew, Sarah Severson and Sean Swanick.

A special thanks to Daniel Míguez de Luca, the Practicum student. Thanks is also due to Sarah Severson, Megan Chellew, Greg Houston, Elizabeth Thomson, Steve Millier, Merika Ramundo, Klaus Fiedler, Dr. Richard Virr and Anaïs Salamon.