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Creative Expression Collections

Canaday Center collections documenting creative expression are as varied as creative expression itself. Included are some of the rarest and most valuable of the Center’s book collection. These include first editions—some signed by the authors—of classic works of American literature such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and Henry David Thoreau’s first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Some of the literary collections reflect the research interests of the faculty of UT’s Department of English. For example, the Center preserves a rich collection of works by Eudora Welty, donated to the Center by the late Dr. William U. McDonald, an early Welty scholar.

The Center also preserves a significant collection of modern poetry, particularly the works of Ezra Pound and the movement he started, Imagist poetry. These materials were collected to support the research of the late UT Professor Noel Stock, one of the first scholars to study Pound. In 1912, Pound and two of his friends, Richard Aldington and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), started the Imagist movement that found its inspiration in Chinese and Japanese poetry. Their intent was to write poetry that embodied feeling in precise and limited words that exactly conveyed the intended meaning, and their work would influence much of the modern poetry of the 1960s. The Canaday Center’s collection includes a first edition of an anthology of the group, Des Imagistes, published in 1914.

Creative expression also includes books that are valued as much for the beauty of their printing as for the words contained within their covers. Examples in the Center’s holdings include early printed works dating back to the fifteenth century, as well as modern works of fine printing such as books produced by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press.

The Canaday Center’s manuscript collections document many aspects of creative expression, from cartoon art to dance to visual art. The Center preserves the life work of University of Toledo alum Pete Hoffman, whose Jeff Cobb comic strip was syndicated and published in newspapers around the world for over 30 years. And while the Center does not generally preserve artwork, included in its collections are some remarkable original watercolor paintings produced just after World War II by artist James M. Sessions that show the role Toledo’s Jeep played in winning that war.

Featured collections

"Creative Expression" exhibits

This is an exhibit featuring the Canaday Center's collections on creative expression.

Creative Expression

Peter "Pete" Hoffman Collection, MSS-291. Jeff Cobb Cartoon Strip, 1954, 1964, 1971, 1991

While a student at the University of Toledo, Pete Hoffman often lent his talents to the Campus Collegian, illustrating campus life and world politics with daily cartoons. After graduation in 1941, he went on to contribute to syndicated newspaper strip cartoons like Steve Roper before securing his own strip. Jeff Cobb appeared in newspapers in 1954 and entertained audiences with the adventures of an intrepid investigative journalist until 1978. These items exemplify Hoffman’s talent and include not only his work on Jeff Cobb but on an educational feature, Why We Say, which explains the origins of words and phrases, and a series of cartoons he prepared for his fiftieth class reunion at UT in 1991. These works are protected under US Copyright Law.

Jeff Cobb Cartoon Strip

Ward M. Canaday Collection, MSS-072. James M. Sessions, "Jeep at War" Advertising Campaign Watercolor, ca. 1945.

This original watercolor painting is one of a series of works done by James M. Sessions for a post-World War II advertising campaign for the Jeep automobile. The dramatic paintings emphasized the role of the Jeep in liberating Europe and the Far East. The company used such images of how the Jeep helped to win the war to market the vehicle to the post-war civilian consumer.  This work is protected under US Copyright Law.

Jeep at War

Adam Grant. Greatest Show, 1977

This work is protected under US Copyright Law.

Greatest Show, 1977

Poster for "Unhurrying Chase" by Claude Koch, a world premiere production by the University of Toledo Department of Theatre.

Unhurrying Chase


Creative Expression:

“Without an active and supportive community, the arts cannot exist, much less flourish. We are their lifeblood, and vice versa.”


Creative Expression

"Creative Expression" exhibit cabinet, top shelf

Top shelf

Middle Shelf



Middle Shelf

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Bottom shelf

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