Our growing collection of books, bound periodicals, technical manuals and research photographs and archival collections focus on the history of aeronautics, both civilian and military, with particular but not exclusive emphasis on the Canadian experience. Visitors can research fixed and rotary-winged aircraft, balloons, airships, aviation personalities, as well as aircraft components and engines.
The Library and Archives holds a circulating collection of over 12,000 books. This collection encompasses all facets of aviation history—civil and military, technological and social—from the first tentative flights to modern jets.
The Library and Archives currently subscribes to 200 periodical titles and holds full runs of Canadian aviation journals such as Canadian Aviation and the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal. Also represented are British, American and European magazines from the earliest days, such as L’Aéronaute, all the way to Aviation Week and Space Technology, with everything in between such as Flight, The Aeroplane, Air International, Model Airplane News, World Air Power, Icare and Le Fanatique de l’aviation.
Technical manuals are the working tools used by pilots to fly their aircraft and by crews to repair and service them. They provide unique information such as detailed operating procedures, maintenance instructions, and some of the best line drawings and 3-views available. Many civilian and military aircraft from the Second World War and postwar era are represented in our collection as well as engines from before the First World War to the present day. The Lancaster, Mosquito, Beaver and Starfighter are among the many types of aircraft represented in the library’s technical manual collection.
The Library and Archives holds a large collection of mostly black and white photographs dating from the earliest days of heavier-than-air flight to the present day. The majority of the photographs date from the 1920s to the 1940s and were donated to the Museum from private collections. Their main purpose is to provide an image bank for the Museum’s exhibits and publications. However, the Library also receives requests from publishers and authors who wish to illustrate their publications with these unique images. For questions related to commercial usage of our images, please see our Services page.
The Library and Archives at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum is the holder of several corporate and private archival collections. These collections represent a unique source of primary information for the serious researcher and are heavily used by the Museum’s curators. Air Canada, Canadair and Avro Canada are just some of the companies which have donated a variety of books, documents, photographs and manuals to our collection. Private collections include log books from aviators in the First and Second World War; the correspondence and papers of bush pilot Stuart Graham; the comprehensive collection of Kenneth M. Molson, another Canadian devoted to aviation research and the first curator of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum; and many others.
Of particular note in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Library and Archives is the collection of the Austro-Hungarian Aero-Technical Society of Vienna, which was purchased in 1964. It is a collection which includes books, periodicals and black and white photographs that provides a superb coverage for the period before the First World War. The majority of the photographs depict airplanes, although there are photographs of a variety of lighter-than-air craft, experimental ornithopters, and aeroengines as well. Featured in the collection are many of the famous air races of the period as well as a series of photographs of Lathams’s unsuccessful 1909 channel crossing attempts.