Established in 2002, with an initial donation of 2400 items, the Marvin Orbach Collection now exceeds 5000 titles and was continually strengthened thanks to Mr. Orbach’s regular contributions. Mr. Orbach, a retired Concordia University librarian, passed away in 2015 and had begun collecting Canadian poetry at the age of 17. This remarkable collection of Canadian poetry is a perfect complement to the University of Calgary’s related collections of Canadian Literature, and the many archival records of Canadian authors.
Marvin Orbach Collection contains works from the 19th and early 20th centuries but it is especially strong in its collection of poetry from the 1960s, an era that saw an explosion in Canadian poetry due in part to the newly formed Canada Council. The Council subsidized small press publishing resulting in a boost to the availability of poetry and chapbooks. Writers from this period, including Irving Layton, Eli Mandel, Miriam Waddington, Margaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen are strongly represented in the Orbach Collection. Many of the volumes have been personally inscribed to Mr. Orbach or signed by the author. The collection also includes a number of holograph poems, manuscripts, letters and advertisements for poetry readings.
As Mr. Orbach stated in the March 18, 2004 edition of Concordia’s Thursday Report, “this collection is my gift to Canada.”