University of Alberta gets world’s biggest collection of Mountie materials
Al Lund shares 9,000 books, magazines and comics about the RCMP.
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The outside world had a strange fascination with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the early-to-mid 1900s.
Retired RCMP officer Al Lund has documented all of it in a collection of 9,000 books, magazines and comics gathered from around the world.
They are now all on display in the Mounties on the Cover exhibition at the University of Alberta.
“Most of the early publications featuring the mounted police on the cover – and we’re talking about a fictional illustration or artistic work – (show) the mounted police was a real hero like the American cowboy in the States,” Lund said.
“And in Europe, the British got into it big time. Thousands of comics and books written about the mounted police in England.”
Lund says about 70 per cent of his collection comes from outside of Canada.
He joined the RCMP in 1960 and bought his first book three years later. In 1967 he was stationed in Burnaby and started scouring Vancouver bookstores for more Mountie-related materials.
“By about 1995 I had about 3,000 books, magazines, comics, et cetera,” he said.
The Internet made acquiring the books infinitely easier, and his collection continued to grow.
Some notable items include the King of the Mounted newspaper comic, which ran in the 1940s, and pulp magazines written by American author James Hendricks.
“They’re all my favourites,” said Lund, who specialized in collision reconstruction and advanced driver training, and retired in 2012 at age 71.
He said he was amazed to see the U of A’s exhibition and is glad that his collection will live on.
The four-month exhibition launched Friday and runs for four months, after which the materials will stay in the university’s special collections library.
“I think that was my bottom-line wish forever. I didn’t want to sell it and see it get taken apart, so I had to find a house,” Lund said.
“I’m just so pleased that it’s protected, and it becomes a research item for people for generations to come.”