The Salzburg Collection is one of the most important collections in Canada for Central European law studies. It represents the original law collection of the Seminary Library of the Archbishop of Salzburg, acquired by the University of Alberta in 1965. Bruce Peel Special Collections houses the pre-1800 publications, considered rare books. The newer, post-1800 publications, which represent about half of the collection, are housed in other locations, including the John A. Weir Memorial Law Library, the Research & Collections Resource Facility, and the Humanities and Social Sciences Library.
Following the recommendations of the Tridentine Council (Tridentinischer Konzil) of 1562, the Salzburg Provincial Council (Salzburger Provinzialkonzil) established the Archiepiscopal Seminary in Salzburg (Erzbischöfliches Priesterseminar zu Salzburg) with its decree of May 25, 1579. Its first statutes were written and signed in July 1579 by the rector, Georg Würfel. The library was founded at the same time as the seminary, with books contributed by the private library of the Archbishop.