Brabant, Joseph A. (Joseph Anthony)

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Brabant, Joseph A. (Joseph Anthony)

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1925-1997

History

Born in Saskatchewan in 1925, Joseph Brabant moved to Montreal to attend McGill University, where he majored in classics and received a law degree. For forty years, he worked for the Sun Life Canada financial services company, a career that provided for a great deal of travel. He took advantage of his many business trips throughout North
America, Great Britain, Europe, and Asia to search antiquarian book shops for Carrolliana, a passion that began to gain momentum in the late 1960s. The diplomacy, judgment, and diligence that made him an excellent lawyer engendered his success as a collector. In addition to travelling, Brabant received a dozen catalogues each week and spent each morning writing an average of ten letters, establishing a global network of bookselling contacts. Required to relocate to Toronto in 1979, when Sun Life moved its corporate headquarters, Brabant stayed on there after retiring as Sun Life's House Councillor in 1990. In retirement, he was able to dedicate himself fully to his interest in Lewis Carroll, pursuing projects such as his Cheshire Cat edition of Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by George Walker and printed by Bill Poole, in addition to participation in conferences, scholarly
consultation, and, of course, collecting. Brabant's dedication ultimately yielded breathtaking results some ten thousand items that he tracked down individually, repaired, catalogued and shelved. Twenty years after his death, Joe, as he was known to his friends, is still remembered warmly in the Toronto book world for his geniality as well as his determination.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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