The Khattar Collection was donated in 1981 by Jessie Khattar and her children in honour of Dr. Thomas J. Khattar, husband and father, who died in 1966. The Collection includes approximately 4000 individual items that were painstakingly collected by Dr. Khattar throughout his professional career. Dr. Khattar's son, Thomas, recalls carrying many boxes, sent by booksellers through the mail, up the stairs to the upper floors of the house where Dr. Khattar unpacked and read each volume.
The Khattar Room, where the Collection is now housed, is on the second floor of the Cape Breton University Library*. The Room currently holds the books and other materials that were part of the Khattar donation. Book items are catalogued and are found by browsing the catalogue through Novanet [Location Code: CBKHA]. As with all rare book collections, access to the room is controlled and limited to serious researchers.
A "collection" is usually thought to be centered on a certain theme or focus. Although called a collection, the Khattar books should, collectively, be thought of as an "assemblage" for the material therein reflects the diverse interests of Dr. Khattar throughout his life. This eclectic assemblage includes published material and ephemera on the early history and culture of Cape Breton Island; the political and social history of New France, Nova Scotia and Canada; mining and fishing; poultry husbandry and cockfighting; sporting interests; geography and literature. There is also valuable published material on the history and culture of the Middle East. The Khattar Collection is more than books. It includes stamps and coins, paintings and framed pictures and postcards. His boyhood interest in stamps and coins is reflected not only in books collected and donated but in non-books items in the Collection.
The intrinsic value of many of these books is based on rarity and age, but researchers in history, literature, geology, culture etc. will find that the Dr. Thomas J. Khattar Collection is not only a gift to Cape Breton University, but to future generations of scholars, as well. For further information on this Collection, please contact Shawn Bethke, Dean of the Library & Multicultural Learning at Cape Breton University Library.
The books in the Special Collections can be examined in the library. Patrons can fill out a Special Collections Retrieval Form and library staff will pull the book(s) at the circulation desk. The book(s) will generally be available at the circulation desk the next business day.
Permission to access the books in the Khattar Collection can only be granted by Shawn Bethke, Dean of the Library & Multicultural Learning. Please contact him to request permission.