Thomas H. Raddall

About Thomas H. Raddall’s Personal Library

Renowned Nova Scotia writer, Thomas Raddall strongly believed in getting the facts right in his historical fiction and in his non-fiction writing. He assembled a personal library of 1,256 volumes to support his research needs. He read his books carefully, underlined interesting passages, scribbled comments in the margins and compiled personal indices on the endpapers. Raddall’s library collection reflected his dual interests with 432 history titles and 373 literature titles. The majority of the works related to genres and topics Raddall specialized in - Nova Scotia colonial history, World War I, historical biography, English literature, Mi’kmaq history, nautical tales, natural history and historical fiction.

Collection Highlights

Noteworthy items in Raddall’s personal library include his heavily annotated four volume set of Simeon Perkins diaries 1766 to 1803 published by the Champlain Society between 1948 and 1967, important local histories such as James More’s The history of Queen’s County, N.S. (1873) and L. Dexter’s History of Brooklyn (1934); the nineteenth century  works of Silas Rand on the  Mi’kmaqs; an annotated first edition of John Brebner’s The neutral Yankees of Nova Scotia; scarce nautical  works such as James Riley’s An authentic narrative of the loss of the American Brig Commerce (1828); Helen Creighton’s Folklore of Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia (1950); a heavily underlined copy of Mollie Gillen’s The Prince and his lady: the love story of the Duke of Kent and Madame de St. Laurent (1970); and a heavily annotated edition of Ernest Hemingway’s The sun also rises.


Thomas Raddall’s personal library contains many significant Nova Scotiana titles. Just as significant is the fact that the volumes were the working collection of one of Atlantic Canada’s greatest writers and bear his extensive annotations.

More from Vessels of Light: A Guide to Special Collections in the Killam Libraryby Karen E. M. Smith.