Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University in the University of Toronto



Access to our library and events is free of charge to all bona fide scholars and students. Modern books are arranged in open stacks in the CRRS library. Rare books are retrieved on request at 10:00, 1:00, and 3:00 daily. The Centre’s materials do not circulate.

The Centre’s library holdings fall into three main categories: rare books, most of which were printed before 1700 (currently about 4,000 titles), modern books (currently about 25,000 volumes), and microforms (several thousand microfiches and reels). CRRS books are listed in the University of Toronto Library Catalogue.

The library contains primary and secondary materials relating to virtually every aspect of the Renaissance and Reformation. In particular, it houses the Erasmus collection, one of the richest resources in North America for the study of works written or edited by the great Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. The collection holds a substantial number of pre-1700 editions of his works, including the Novum Instrumentum of 1516. Many of these books were a bequest to Victoria University by Professor Andrew James Bell (d. 1932).

Although the CRRS library’s major focus is the cultural, intellectual, political, and social milieu of Erasmus, the Centre’s collection also supports teaching and research on the Renaissance and Reformation in England, France, the Low Countries, and the area bisected by the Rhine, including Southwestern Germany, Alsace, and German- speaking Switzerland.

The Centre’s rare books include a significant number of humanist editions of the classics as well as works in history, religion, theology, philosophy, language, and literature. Our modern books include a comprehensive collection of bibliographies, a large number of critical editions of the works of both major and minor authors, other printed sources (chronicles, letters, government documents), and an impressive array of relevant monographs and journals. Since 1989, the CRRS has become the repository for publications received by the Society for Confraternity Studies.

New acquisitions of rare books are occasionally publicized in our Newsletter.

Our collection can be reached through the University of Toronto Libraries Catalogue. Under advanced search, you can limit the search to “Victoria University CRRS”. For information on the editions of Erasmus complete works available at CRRS and online, please click here.