The Mullock Collection is the only surviving nineteenth-century book collection in Newfoundland. Held by the Basilica Museum of St. John’s, the library of Dr. John Thomas Mullock (1807-1869), Roman Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland from 1848 to 1869, reflects its owner’s wide-ranging learning and multilingual abilities. The Mullock Collection includes some 2,000 books in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Irish, Latin, Greek, and other languages, published over four centuries, from the early sixteenth century to Mullock’s death in 1869. Housed in its original setting dating from 1856, it contains many rare volumes, and is instrumental for the study of print culture in Newfoundland and more broadly in Canada. Moreover, since the Mullock Collection was intended by its owner for use as both a school and public library in St. John’s, it is crucial for our understanding of the history of education and of public libraries in this province.
Our aim is to increase public awareness of, and scholarly interest in, this historic collection through four related public outreach projects. In partnership with the Basilica Museum, as well as other University and non-University partners, we created the first electronic catalogue of the Mullock Collection accessible through Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative; published an illustrated book of essays (entitled The Finest Room in the Colony: The Library of John Thomas Mullock) documenting the Mullock Collection and highlighting its cultural significance; held a public exhibition of the Mullock Collection in the Basilica Museum; and organized a public symposium entitled Newfoundland and Labrador Book History Symposium in May 2016.