The Yolton Collection is a collection of rare books ranging from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, collected and donated by John W. Yolton (1921-2005), professor of Philosophy at York University from 1963-1978 and former acting president from 1973-1974 . The collection focuses on early editions by or connected to Scottish philosopher John Locke, the subject of Yolton's doctoral thesis.
Prof. Yolton, even after leaving in 1978 for a position at Rutger’s University in New Jersey, maintained his contacts with York University. On Oct. 23, 2003, he returned to donate his rare collection of antiquarian books to the university's special collections. The collection now resides in the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections and is considered to be one of the finest in the world. His wife, Jean Yolton (nee Sebastian), was pivotal to compiling the collection. She often combed antique bookstores and libraries for editions, and her work resulted in the publication of a definitive Locke Bibliography, which is still used as a key resource by Locke scholars.