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The Merrilees Transportation Collection contains about 5,000 publications of several types including books, trade literature, technical manuals, timetables, broadsides, periodicals and pamphlets. While the collection consists primarily of publications concerned with railways and shipping, a wide range of other subjects is also represented. Included are works dealing with agricultural, logging and mining technology; iron and steel industries and their products; early automobiles; bicycles; fire engines and saw mill machinery. Travel and tourism are also a significant component and there are many miscellaneous items. Publication dates range from about 1840 to about 1970. Canadian companies are well represented, as well as a large number of American and other foreign organizations and individuals.
The Collection was originally part of the much larger Merrilees Collection, which was donated to the National Archives of Canada by the estate of Andrew A. Merrilees in 1983. The Merrilees Transportation Collection was transferred to the National Library in 1995.