The McGill David Hume Collection

History of the Collection

The David Hume Collection has its origins in the chance discovery by Professor Raymond Klibansky of Hume's own copy of the Olivetus edition of Cicero's works (Paris, 1740-1741) in a cupboard at the Faculty Club in 1946. (See: Raymond Klibansky, "Hidden Treasures at McGill", Fontanus vol. II (1989), 79.) Professor Klibansky also describes in this article some of the other books from Hume's library held by McGill and some of the manuscript letters in the Hume Collection (79-82). Following this discovery, Professor Klibansky with Professors J.W.A. Hickson and Charles W. Colby and in cooperation with the University Librarian, Richard Pennington, began to assemble a collection of eighteenth-century editions of Hume's writings and related material and the foundations of the present collection were firmly laid.


In the 1980s and 1990s Professor David Fate Norton played an active part in the further development of the collection. In 1989 and 1990 funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada under the "Support to Specialized Collections Programme" and the "Fleeting Opportunities Program" made possible the acquisition of many significant titles. (See: Bruce Whiteman, "Recent Additions to the David Hume Collection", Fontanus vol. VI (1991), 181-183.) The collection continues to be developed and added to on a regular basis including both eighteenth-century editions and selected modern editions. Professors Klibansky and Norton continue to be active supporters of the David Hume Collection.