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“These are a few of our favourite things…” – Jack Layton Library

The staff in Archives and Special Collections brings you some of our favourite things. Objects and photographs from the collections that hold a special place in our hearts. Each post will highlight a different item, along with an explanation of why it stands out.

With such an amazing collection of materials – sometimes it is hard to pick just one…

This post is Archival Technician Cathy McMaster’s choice:

“The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, a religious allegory, first published in 1678. This edition was published ca. 1900 (F 404.2.733)

I chose this wonderful little book, the story of which is the oldest religious allegory in English literature still in print. This edition is over 100 years old, in good condition, and with a personal inscription to “Lily” from her teacher, “N.M. Robb” (no date). But, it is what I discovered between pages 144 and 145 that makes this book much more special – a pressed four-leaf clover. Who found this rare plant? Jack Layton perhaps? Or, if it was Lily (or even N.M. Robb) who placed it in the book, that little plant is old. Not only a wondrous find back in the day, but also amazing it is still in this book, possibly for 120 years.  Good luck or no, it was a special find for that person and for me.

An elusive four leaf clover
  • To see other book titles in the Jack Layton library – click here
  • To see what else is in the Jack Layton fonds – click here

The Jack Layton Book Club


The Jack Layton Chair, in partnership with the Ryerson Library and Achives, are pleased to invite you to the inaugural series of presentations of the Jack Layton Book Club. They promise to be interesting, inter-active discussions of books that mattered to Jack, and the ideas Jack championed through his remarkable career.

Jack Layton’s personal book collection has been donated to Ryerson, where he was a Professor of Politics during the 1970s and 80s. At each meeting of the Jack Layton Book Club, an expert speaker introduces us to a book Jack read, treasured and was inspired by. All are welcome to attend.

Three sessions of the Jack Layton Book Club are scheduled in the weeks ahead.  All begin at 5:30 PM in the Archives, 3rd Floor, Ryerson Library, 350 Victoria Street. The Archives currently hosts a Jack Layton exhibit, which you are welcome to visit from 5 PM before each Book Club meeting.

Session 1

Tuesday 12 March 2013
Terry Grier, Ryerson President Emeritus

“Jack Layton’s Political Journey: From the Classroom to National Icon”.

Session 2

Thursday 28 March 2013
Dr. Alex Wellington, Philosophy Department, Toronto Metropolitan University

“Jack Layton’s Environmental Vision: Green Economy and Climate Justice”

Session 3

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Dr. Jason Boyd, English Department, Toronto Metropolitan University

“Pride, Prejudice and Politics: Jack Layton and the Lessons of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II”

Layton bookplate image

The Jack Layton Book Club is an initiative of the Jack Layton Chair, co-sponsored by the Toronto Metropolitan University Library and Archives.