As our previous posts described, One Hundred Poets (Hyakunin isshu, hereafter HNIS) is the most famous Waka (Japanese poem) anthology edited by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241). Did you know that HNIS was an important educational resource for Japanese women in the late Edo period (1700s-1867)? Our digitized collection has 24 books known to be used for women’s education from the 18th and 19th centuries. These publications not only contain the poems from HNIS but also explain the skills Japanese women were expected to acquire. This post shows some sample items and explores how women in Edo-period Japan were educated using HNIS.

Background: Women’s Education in Edo-period Japan

In pre-modern Japan, education was primarily for the upper-class men who serve the government as samurais.[i] The situation had gradually changed in the late 17th century to mid 18th century, and many “books for women” (josho/nyosho 女書) started to be published to educate and prepare “women for their roles within the patriarchal family system”[ii]. Their learning contents contained home management, self-discipline, courtesy or propriety, and the child rearing. It was strongly influenced by Confucianism from China, which stresses male dominance, integrity and righteousness[iii] [iv].

For instance, one of our digitized items, Onna daigaku takara-bako,女大學寶箱 ([1790]) teaches the moral need for total subordination of women to the needs of the husband and family. It lists 19 expectations for women, such as:

“A woman must ever be on the alert, and keep a strict watch over her conduct. In the morning she must rise early, and at night go late to rest. Instead of sleeping in the middle of the day, she must be intent on the duties of her household, and must not weary of weaving, sewing, and spinning. Of tea and wine she must not drink over-much, nor must she feed her eyes and ears with theatrical performances, ditties, and ballads. To temples (whether Shinto or Buddhist) and other like places, where there is a great concourse of people, she should go but sparingly till she has reached the age of forty.” (Translation by Harper’s Bazaar [v])

(一、女は常に心遣いして、其の身を堅倶謹み護るべし。朝は早く起き、夜は遅く寝ね、昼はいねずして、いえの内の事に心を用い、織り・縫い・績み・緝ぎ、怠るべからず。亦茶・酒など多く呑むべからず。歌舞妓・小歌・浄るりなどの淫れたる事を、見聴くべからず。宮・寺など都ての人のおおくあつまる処へ、四十歳より内は余りに行くべからず。pp.68-71, the pages below)[vi]

Onna daigaku takara-bako, [1790].

In addition to the Confucian values, three other categories were included in female education books:

  1. Details about everyday life (e.g., clothing, food, marriage, and childbirth),
  2. Arts (e.g., flower arrangement, tea ceremony, music, calligraphy), and
  3. Literature.

Literature education focused on reading and understanding waka in 21 imperial anthologies (Nijūichidaishū, chokusen wakashū,二十一代集,勅撰和歌集).[vii] It was different from what male children learned, such as classical Chinese texts. [viii]


How was the One Hundred Poets (Hyakunin Isshu) implemented in women’s education?

HNIS consists of 100 poems originally contained in 10 imperial anthologies, which is why they were used for female’s literature education. The following pages in [Jokyō banpō zensho azuma kagami] contain each poet’s profile (the upper row), the description of the poem with a picture (the middle row), and the poem with a poet’s portrait (the lower row).

[Jokyō banpō zensho azuma kagami], [1829].

HNIS books contain not only the HNIS poems but also useful tips for women’s lifestyles, such as etiquette, other classical literature, and practical information.[ix] Many books split a page into a couple of sections and depict life hacks in the upper row and the HNIS poems in the lower row. It sometimes uses even one page for picturing general knowledge that is unrelated to HNIS.

For example, in Waka-tsuru hyakunin isshu (稚鶴百人弌首, 1861), the left page explains the origin of mirrors with a picture of women using it. The upper row of the right page depicts the Three Gods of Poetry (Waka sanjin, 和歌三神) namely Sumiyoshi, Tamatsushima, and Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (from left). The lower row shows the first two poems of HNIS by the Emperor Tenji (天智天皇) and the Emperor Jito (持統天皇) (from left).

In addition to HNIS poems, the following pages also introduces other important figures of Japanese literature. The upper row depicts the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry (Sanjyu Rokkasen; 三十六歌仙), a group of 36 well-known Japanese poets from 600-1100s. The lower row shows four HNIS poems (From left: Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (柿本人麻呂), Yamabe no Akahito (山部赤人), Sarumaru no Taifu (猿丸大夫), Chunagon no Yakamochi (中納言家持)):

Let’s take a look at other women’s manners depicted in the upper sections. The image below provides a model for calligraphy by depicting a young girl practicing[x]:

Ogura hyakunin isshu, [Late Tokugawa Period].

The section below explains Ogasawara-ryū orikata (小笠原流折形),the formal way of folding a paper for gift wrapping and decorating.

Banpō hyakunin isshu, [Late Tokugawa period?].

You can also find sewing patterns of kimono:

Below is the list of different names used for seasons and months. It includes 8 ways for calling each season (spring, summer, fall, winter) and 13 names for each month (From left upside corner: spring, fall, summer, winter, January, April, February, May, March, June):

Ogura hyakunin isshu, [Late Tokugawa period].

As you can see, HNIS books tell us how Japanese women were educated and became literate, and what they learned in the 18th and 19th centuries. Please find more digitized books from our One Hundred Poets Collection.


See also

Past Digitizer’s Blog posts:

Subject in Open Collections

Professor Joshua Mostow, UBC Department of Asian Studies (Owner of the personal collection)

[i] Bakumatsu-ki no kyoiku. Retrieved from

[ii] Ivanova, G. (2016). Re0gendering a classic: “The Pillow Book” for early modern female readers. Japanese Langauge and Literature, 50(1), 105-154. Retrieved from

[iii] Kincard, C. (2016, Jun). Gender expectations of Edo period Japan. Retrieved from

[iv] Sugihara, Y. & Katsurada, E. (2000). Gender-role personality traits in Japanese culture. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 309-318. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2000.tb00213.x

[v] “The greater learning for women.”. (1893, Nov 11). Harper’s Bazaar (1867-1912), 26, 930.

[vi] Onna daigaku (2017, Nov.). Retrieved from

[vii] Ivanova, G. (2016). Re0gendering a classic: “The Pillow Book” for early modern female readers. Japanese Langauge and Literature, 50(1), 105-154. Retrieved from

[viii] Hmeljak Sangawa, K. (2017). Confucian learning and literacy in Japan’s schools of the Edo period. Asian Studies, 5(2), 153-166. doi: 10.4312/as.2017.5.2.153-166

[ix] Mostow, J. S. (1996). Pictures of the heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in word and image. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

[x] Mostow, J. S. (1996). Pictures of the heart: The Hyakunin Isshu in word and image. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.


In our digital project workflow, we first evaluate copyright concerns for the submitted project proposal. Even if the collection contains historically important items to be digitized and preserved, we cannot approve the project if there are copyright restrictions or issues. This post will briefly summarize what you need to know about copyright and digitization. For more detailed information about copyright, please visit Copyright at UBC (Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office).

What is Copyright? Why do we have to care about it in digitization projects?

According to Copyright at UBC, “Copyright is the sole and exclusive right of a copyright owner to produce, reproduce, perform, publish, adapt, translate and telecommunicate a work, and to control the circumstances in which others may do any of these things. Copyright owners grant permission to others through what are legally referred to as licenses.” In the digitization context, we need to ensure the item is in the public domain or we obtain permission in order (1) to make digital copies of the items and (2) to disseminate them[i]. Making digital copies can be considered as “reproducing” the original items, and disseminating as “publishing”.

Our Digital Collection Development Policy of the UBC Library defines the collection review criteria and questions for rights issues as follows:

  1. Does the Library hold copyright for the material to be digitized?
  2. Does the Library have written documentation from the rights owner allowing it to hold a digital copy of the material?
  3. Does the Library require any other permission prior to embarking on the project?


As we state in our Project Planning Toolkit, the answers to any of the following questions should be “yes” when digitizing an item and publishing it in Open Collections:

  • Is the material in the public domain?
  • Does UBC hold the copyright to the material?
  • Will the copyright holder give permission to digitize the material?


The following collections are examples of how we have dealt with copyright:

Public Domain: Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

The original items in the Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books were published between 1245 and 1680. All of the items are out of copyright, and UBC owns the materials in their entirety. Therefore, it could be digitized without worrying about copyright infringement.

[Catholicon], 1460.

Americae sive novi orbis, nova description, 1572.


Permission from Copyright holder: BC Sessional Papers[ii]

The items in the BC Sessional Papers collection are protected under parliamentary privilege, which applies to the materials printed by the Legislative Library of British Columbia (LLBC). Parliamentary privilege extended to printed parliamentary publications does not expire. In other words, intellectual property rights are held in perpetuity by Parliament.

In order to make the digital copies of the Sessional Papers and upload to Open Collections, we consulted with the Legislative Assembly Law Clerk and other copyright experts. Both parties signed a non-exclusive digitization and distribution agreement (Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and the University of British Columbia Library Digital Initiatives). By this agreement, the UBC Library has right to preserve and disseminate the Sessional Paper, and add the digitized materials to the UBC Library collections.


British Columbia. Legislative Assembly, [1929]. REPORT OF LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, 1927-28.


If interested in completing a project with us, please consider copyright issues prior to submitting a proposal.


[i] Gertz, J. (2007) 6.6 Preservation and selection for digitization. Northeast Document Center. Available at Cited in Balogun, T. (2018). The nexus between digitization, preservation and access in the context of selection of materials for archives. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal), 1893. Retrieved from


[ii] Carr-Harris, M., Curry, G., Graebner, C., Paterson, S., & Rollins, C. (2011). British Columbia Government Publications Digitization Project: Proof of Concept. Retrieved from

Ever since the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Canada in the late 19th century, Japanese Canadians have created their communities in their settlement areas. They came to a new country to find employment and to improve their economic situation. In Open Collections, we have many resources about the history and lives of Japanese Canadians. This post will introduce some of our digitized items and explore four towns where Japanese Canadians resided before relocation.

Why did Japanese people migrate to Canada in early 1900s?

Our digitized book from the Chung Collection, Japanese contribution to Canada, a summary of the role played by the Japanese in the development of Canadian commonwealth (1940) explains the background of Japanese migration. Japan ended its seclusion policy and started to establish treaties with other countries in 1854. In 1884, the Japanese government allowed its laboring-class citizens to emigrate abroad, which resulted in big waves of Japanese immigration to Canada. Having little English-language ability, most of the immigrants engaged in the primary industries which required small degree of training, such as fishing, lumbering, mining, and railroading.

Japanese contribution to Canada, a summary of the role played by the Japanese in the development of Canadian commonwealth, 1940.


Vancouver, BC: Powell St.

Many of the immigrants from Shiga, Japan, who experienced flooding, resided in the Vancouver area. They initially found employment at the Hastings Mill area, along the south shores of Burrard Inlet, and gradually started their business in the Powell Street area (Japantown, Nihonmachi, Paueru Gai, パウエル街) in today’s Downtown Eastside. Despite enduring the race riots in 1907, the community itself continued to grow.

Building damaged during Vancouver riot of 1907 – 431 Powell Street, $2, 1907.


View of people on Powell Street, Vancouver, 1941.


Steveston, BC

The first Japanese arrived at Steveston was known to be Gihei Kuno(工野儀兵衛). People from his hometown, Mio district in Wakayama, Japan had made their livings by fishing and farming, but they had faced severe economic hardship in the late 19th century. On his first visit to Steveston, he was fascinated by the amount of salmon in Fraser river, and returned back to Japan to urge people to go to Canada to fish. As a result, Steveston became the second largest Japanese-Canadian settlement area before the Second World War. His recruitment also made Mio district the largest single sources of Japanese emigrants to Canada.

A digitized book from the Chung Collection, Japanese contribution to Canada, a summary of the role played by the Japanese in the development of Canadian commonwealth (1940), notes that the Japanese population in the area was estimated to be around 4,500 in 1900.

Group photograph at Japanese Language School, Steveston, 1924.


Woodfibre, BC

Woodfibre was a small company town operating a pulp mill between early 1900s and 2006. According to Takeo Ujo Nakano’s memoir, Within the barbed wire fence : a Japanese man’s account of his internment in Canada (1980), half of the population of Woodfibre was Japanese, and majority of them were single men. Every month, the Japanese employees were assigned to a pulp-loading duty when a Japanese freighter docked at the port. They gathered and listened to the latest news about their home country.

The digitized book Japanese contribution to Canada, a summary of the role played by the Japanese in the development of Canadian commonwealth (1940) also describes Woodfibre as one of the large centres where Japanese formed a large portion of the employment population:

The Japanese workers in Woodfibre are practically all employees of B. C. Pulp and Paper Company, Limited. They first found their way to this town during the War. In 1918, 59 were working in the mills; in 1920, 100; by 1930, the total number of Japanese employed was 230; but in 1934 it had decreased to 157. Now, 200 are working. (pp.16)

The book also argues that the amount of wages for Japanese workers were lower than the Whites in the lumber, paper and pulp industries. However, it was still seven times higher than the average wage in Japan, which motivated them to continue working there and send money to their home.

Class photograph taken at Woodfibre, B.C.


Port Alberni, BC

Port Alberni on Vancouver Island had a small settlement of Japanese Canadians. They engaged in the logging and lumber operation at the McLean Mill. McLean Mill/Banbridge School was built in 1929 served as a community center, and half of the students were Japanese Canadians. However, due to the Japanese relocation, the school closed permanently in 1942.

View of Bloedel Steward Sawmill, Port Alberni, 1933.


If you are interested in other Japantowns, Japanese-Canadian’s lifestyle before and after their relocation, and Canadian attitudes towards Japanese immigrants, the following are the examples of helpful historical resources in Open Collections:


Books and Documents

Subject Headings



As a part of the digitization project for Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) fonds, we digitized an audio cassette tape entitled “The Steward”, which is a speech recording about being a union steward. Today, we will show how we digitize an audio cassette tape.



To digitize a cassette, we use the following equipment:

  • Cassette tape deck: An ION Tape 2 PC USB cassette deck
  • Audio capture and editing software: We use Audacity, a free, open-source application
  • Computer: A Mac Pro running macOS 10.14.5


Damage repair

Before starting the digitization, we had to repair the tape as it was broken (this is common with older cassette tapes), and we took this opportunity to put the tape in a new housing (the original housing is shown above). It is important to have the tape in optimal condition before digitization and preservation.


Digitization Process

We followed the sample workflow for tape digitization in the Audacity wiki.

  1. First, the cassette deck (Tape 2 PC) is connected to the Mac to export the audio for digitization. We connected the USB cable directly to a free USB port on the Mac, and turned it on.

USB port is on the left. The Tape 2 PC also has an RCA output.


  1. Since we are using a Mac, we needed to set up an audio input to ensure that the Tape 2 PC signal could be picked up by the Audacity software. We set a sample rate of 44100 Hz and 16-bit format which is the standard for CD burning. For more information, please follow the instructions in the Audacity wiki, Mac and USB input devices.
  2. Once all the settings were made, we did a test recording and made sure the levels were correct (i.e. no clipping, a form of sound distortion). We aimed for a maximum peak of -6 dB.

The green bar should not reach more than -6 dB.


  1. Then we started the digitization. We played the cassette in the deck first and clicked the recording button in Audacity immediately after. Since we recorded both sides of the tape, we paused the recording after the first side and resumed after switching to the second side.

Cassette is played for digitization.

Audacity interface on the Mac.


Exporting a file for access and preservation

Once the tape is digitized, we exported the file in WAV format. WAV with linear (uncompressed) PCM is a preferred and recommended format for long-term preservation. Once we upload it to our content management system, we will digitally preserve it with Archivematica.

For access purposes, we converted the WAV file to MP3 format. MP3 is a compressed audio file which is widely supported and playable on nearly all devices with a more manageable file size.

Once metadata is created for the exported file, the audio will be ready to upload.

Please find the recording on UBC Rare Books and Special Collections’ Access to Memory (AtoM) database. The audio will soon be available in Open Collections!


See also

Did you know that mountains cover 75 per cent of British Columbia[i]? Like the beaches we introduced in April, mountains offer beautiful scenery in summer. Today, we will focus on the Canadian Rockies depicted and described in our digitized photographs, illustrations, and books in Open Collections.


Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs

In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, you can find postcards of the Rockies:

Mt. Robson

This is a postcard of Mt. Robson, the highest peak (3,954 m; 12,972 ft) in British Columbia and of all the Canadian Rockies mountains:

Frank, Leonard. Mt. Robson, highest peak, Canadian Rockies, 1927


Mt. Field

Another postcard depicts Mt. Field (2,643 m; 8,671 ft), located within the Yoho National Park.

Mt. Field, Rockies, 1920


Mt. Stephen

The Langmann Collection has a photograph album titled, “20 real photographs of Canadian Rocky Mountains”. This is the photo of Field, BC and Mt. Stephen (3,199 m; 10,496 ft), which is also located within Yoho National Park. Mt. Stephen is the tallest of the mountains surrounding the town:

Field and Mount Stephen, [between 1920 and 1925?].

Chung Collection

Castle Mountain (Miistsukskoowa)

The Chung Collection also has numerous photographs of the Canadian Rockies mountains. Castle Mountain (Miistsukskoowa), a traditional territory of Siksika First Nation[ii], is located within Banff National park. It has numerous rock-climbing routes:

R. H. Trueman & Company. [Castle Mountain, Banff, Alberta], [between 1890 and 1899?].

The Three Sisters mountains

William Notman & Sons photography. [Three Sisters mountain range at Canmore, Alberta], 1899.

Mt. Assiniboine

Mt. Assiniboine (3,618 m; 11,870 ft) is located on the British Columbia/Alberta border.

Mt. Assiniboine, [between 1930 and 1939?].

Canadian Pacific Railway’s Advertisements

In the Chung Collection, we have digitized many advertising pamphlets of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s hotels and train tours which have beautiful illustrations on their front pages.

This 100-page booklet includes the detailed descriptions of each sightseeing spot in the Canadian Rockies:

The challenge of the mountains, 1904.

This five-page pamphlet also summarizes the resorts in the Rockies:

Through the Canadian Rockies, 1931.


BC Historical Books collection

BC Historical Books collection has books from the late 19th century and the early 19th century about the Canadian Rockies:

Outram, James, Sir. In the heart of the Canadian Rockies, 1905.

Coleman, A. P. The Canadian Rockies : new and old trails. With 3 maps and 41 illustrations, 1911.


We hope you have a chance to enjoy the mountain views this summer. If you want to explore more mountains in Open Collections, here are some items and keywords you can access:

[i] Geography of B.C. (Welcome BC)

[ii] Siksika Nation, federal government to honour Blackhoot traditions with Castle Mountain Settlement (Jan 25, 2017 in CBC News)

Next Monday is BC Day! To celebrate, this post will introduce our BC Historical Documents collection and explore the early history of BC.

Rare Books and Special Collections in the UBC Library houses an abundance of original documents related to the development of British Columbia and its economic, social, political and cultural history. We have digitized more than 1,500 items from 9 archival and special collections dated from 1789 to 1970, including the following fonds and collections:

Columbia (Ship) fonds

The fonds consists of two bound copies of the logs of the Columbia Rediviva (commonly known as Columbia), a privately-owned ship operated around 1800. It was known as the first non-Indigenous vessel to enter the Columbia River.

[Copy of a part of Haswell’s Log of the Columbia covering his trips of the Washington to the vicinity of Fuca Strait between March 16th and April 23rd 1789.], 1789.

This handwritten transcribed copy is Robert Haswell (1768-1801)’s log of the Columbia. Haswell was an American maritime fur trader to the Pacific Northwest of North America and enrolled as the third mate on the Columbia.


[Photostatic copy of Captain Robert Gray’s log for the Columbia in 1791. It records voyages along the northwest coast of Washington State and British Columbia.]

This is the photostatic copy of Captain Robert Gray (1755-1806)’s log for the Columbia. Gray was an American explorer who named the Columbia River after his ship.


Henry Doyle fonds

Henry Doyle (1874-1961) was the manager of Doyle Fishing Company (Canadian Division) and the first manager of the British Columbia Packers’ Association. The fonds consists of 666 items pertaining to the Pacific fishery industry.

Doyle, Henry. Original cannery fish wharf, Mill Bay, [between 1905 and 1915].

[Doyle, H., Manager, Kincolith Packing Co. Ltd., to G. J. Desbarats, Deputy Minister Naval Service, regarding establishing a closed season for halibut fishing], 1915.

Proposed Fish and Shellfish Cannery Inspection Act, [between 1895 and 1915].

Hastings Saw Mill Company fonds

Hastings Saw Mill Company was launched in 1867 by the B.C. and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber and Saw Mill Company (Stamps Mill) on Burrard Inlet. The previous owner was Heatley & Company of London until 1928. The fonds includes around 90 items such as correspondence, memos, maps, photographs, plans, and articles of association.

British Columbia Mills, Timber and Trading [Company’s], Hastings Sawmills, Vancouver, B.C.

[Turnour, J.B. to A.N. Birch, regarding : Spare at Burrard Inlet], [1865].

[Map: traced from map of Vancouver Island, showing the position of the timber lands surveyed and sought to be acquired by the Hastings Saw Mill Company Limited. Oct. 1871. by E. Stephens], 1871.

John Keenlyside Legal Research Collection

The collection was collected by John S. Keenlyside, a Vancouver-born UBC alumni and the founder of the investment counselling firm John S, Keenlyside & Co. The fonds have more than 300 items consisting of legal documents in the 19th century and documents related to the British Columbia Provincial Police force and various Japanese-Canadian and civil rights groups.

British Columbia Small Debts Act, 1859

Rules and Regulation for the Working of Gold Mines. Issued in conformity with the Gold Fields Act, 1859. Whereas, it is provided by the Gold Fields Act, 1859, that the Governor, for the time being, of British Columbia, may, by writing under his hand and the Public Seal of the Colony, make Rules and Regulations in the nature of by-laws, for all matters relating to Mining. …, 1859-09-07.

B.C. Provincial Police Port Essington Office fonds

The fonds consists of incoming letters to Constable Alexander Forsythe regarding fishing licenses and other matters as well as his report on the spawning grounds at Babine Lake and other locations.

Wallace Brothers Packing Company Limited. [Wallace Fisheries to A. Forsyth, regarding : 1911 licences], 1911-05-12.

Gay, Herbert L. [Handwritten list of unknown person’s effects], 1911-06-14.

R.L. Reid fonds

Robie Lewis Reid (1866-1945), a lawyer and historian, donated his Canadian collection to UBC, where he served as a member of the Board of Governors and the solicitor. Open Collections published around 15 items including correspondences, legislative proceedings, essays and contracts, legal works, and advertisements.

McLeary, J. D. [Commission prepared by McLeary, J. D., British Columbia Provincial Secretary, for A. Henderson, appointed under the Public Inquiries Act to conduct inquiries into the coal mining industry], [1921-03-02].

Smith, John F. Province of British Columbia : Indian Agencies, 1923-05-19.

Charles Semlin fonds

Charles Augustus Semlin (1836-1927) was the Premier of British Columbia between 1898 and 1900. The fonds includes his outgoing letters as the Premier, financial records, correspondence and other material relating to the Dominion Ranch, Semlin and Stuart and the Interior Stock Raisers’ Association, and we have digitized more than 50 items.

Correspondence between Lieutenant Governor McInnes and Honourable C. Semlin, Premier, in respect to the Dismissal of the Semlin Government, 1900-02.

Semlin, C.A. [Dominion Ranch : Financial records, receipts and purchase orders], 1881-1917.

G. Vernon Wellburn British Columbia History Collection

The collection was donated by G. Vernon Wellburn in 2011. He was a former lecturer in forest harvesting in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. His collection consists of four items: a letter, telegram, a document, and an invitation.

British Columbia Legislative Assembly. [Invitation to the Mr. R. E. Barkley family to attend the opening of the New Parliament Buildings in Victoria, British Columbia, February 10, 1898], 1898.

Education Library Historical Textbooks

Education Library houses historical textbooks used in Canada, and we have digitized 20 of them between 1895 and 1930.

Clement, W. H. P. History of Canada, [1895].

Spilhaus, Margaret Whiting. South African nursery rhymes, [1924].

If you enjoyed this post, please visit BC Historical Documents Collection and explore the history of BC. Happy British Columbia Day!



In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we have historic photographs depicting street scenery in Vancouver in the early 1900s. This post will explore some of our favourite photographs, showing the major streets in Vancouver. We hope you can identify where the pictures were taken and how the streets have changed since then!

Granville street

Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. [between 1904 and 1907?]

Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C. [between 1920 and 1930?].

Granville St., Vancouver. [between 1924 and 1949?]


Hastings Street

Hastings Street, Vancouver, B.C., [not after 1910]

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Hasting St., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1910 and 1920?]

Hastings Street Looking East, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1940 and 1960?]


Georgia Street

Georgia Street, Vancouver, [between 1914 and 1939].

United Fishers and Allied Workers May Day parade on Georgia Street, Vancouver, 1947.

Georgia St. W., Vancouver, B.C., [between 1924 and 1949?].

Robson Street

Barrowclough, George Alfred. Manhattan Apartments, Robson St., Vancouver, B.C., 1907.

Davie Street

[View of a trolley car on Davie Street, Vancouver], [between 1900 and 1910?].

Burrard Street

Aero Surveys Photo. Burrard Street, Vancouver, B.C., [between 1940 and 1950?]

Cambie Street

B.C. Photo Card Co. Cambie St, Vancouver, 1915.


In the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs, we also have photographs and postcards of streets from other cities (e.g., New Westminster, Fernie, and Chilliwack). The following is useful subject headings to search:


We hope you enjoyed this post. To view more historic photographs, please visit our Open Collections.


[July 29th update: We removed one photo which was not from Downtown Vancouver.]

Historical newspapers are good resources for researching the political, social and cultural trends in local areas during specific historical periods. One of the interesting components are advertisements, which contain information about local businesses, and popular industries around the time. Like today, the papers had designed their advertisements to catch readers’ eyes and attract new customers. From more than 60,000 digitized newspaper issues in Open Collections, this post will introduce our favourite advertisements.

BC Historical Newspapers collection

BC Historical Newspapers collection contains 167 historical newspapers with more than 40,000 issues dated from 1859 to 1995. All of the titles were published in British Columbia.

June 14, 1894: “Horse Sense in a Few Words”

The Advance (Midway Dispatch) was a weekly newspaper published in Midway, BC (Fairview, BC for the first four months) between 1894 and 1904 (The Advance: 1898-1902; The Midway Dispatch: 1902-1904).

This advertisement by Riley & Donald, an agent company in Kelowna, BC for the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago, IL, depicts a letter from a horse that complains about how heavy the mower is to pull and suggests that farmers buy McCormick’s lighter product.

The Advance, 1894-06-14.


June 10, 1916: “The telephone makes everyone your neighbor.”

The Cumberland Islander (1910-1931) was a weekly newspaper published in Cumberland, BC. We have digitized all 1,094 issues.

British Columbia Telephone Company (BC Tel) advertised its telephone service, which was relatively new at the time, 40 years following Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone near Brantford, ON in 1876.

Today we have the Internet that makes us feel like “neighbors”, 100 years after the publication of this advertisement!

The Islander, 1916-06-10.


September 14, 1911: “Let Mooney Do It”

Chilliwack Free Press was published from September 1911 to October 1912 in Chilliwack, BC.

Mooney Biscuit & Candy Company, based in Stratford, ON, advertises its biscuits. Using the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada running beside its factory, it exported its biscuits and chocolates to other areas of Canada. The advertisement emphasizes its freshness as a ready-made biscuit and appeal to those who do not have spare time for baking biscuits in their kitchen.

Chilliwack Free Press, 1911-09-14.


September 27, 1930: “Fall Steamship and Train Services”

The Alice Arm and Anyox Herald was published weekly in Alice Arm, BC between June 1921 and March 1935. We have 707 digitized issues.

The Canadian National Railways and Canadian National Steamship Company advertises both trains and steamship services by effectively using the vertically long rectangle area. Since the bird was flying at the top and ship is sailing at the bottom, the ad area itself looks like a scene in the ocean.

Herald, 1930-09-27.


Tairiku Nippo (The Continental News) collection

Tairiku Nippo (The Continental News) was published from 1907 until the day before Pearl Harbor in 1941 for Japanese Canadian communities in BC.

September 24, 1930: Hudson’s Bay Company

The following is the ad of Hudson’s Bay Company written in Japanese and announces its sales items for the upcoming Saturday.

Tairiku Nippo, 1930-09-30.


The Ubyssey

The Ubyssey is UBC’s student newspaper that started in October 1918. Until today, it has published the largest student paper in Western Canada, once a week during the school year. Open Collections have digitized more than 5,000 issues with a significant contribution from the Graduating Class 2002/03 as well as additional funding received from the President’s Office, The Ubyssey Publications Society and the UBC Library.

January 30, 1919: “Keep the happy memories of College days for all time.”

Bridgman’s Studio Limited (1915-1948) was a photo shooting studio located in Granville street owned by Archibald Thomas Reed Bridgman. This advertisement from January has a warm message to its audience and advertises its photo shooting services to UBC students.

The Ubyssey, 1919-01-30.


If you want to explore more newspaper advertisements, please visit our Open Collections and search our newspaper collections.




See also

The BC Historical Books collection contains the digitized bibliographies of British Columbia. In the collection, there are 35 dictionaries related to BC History. Here, we will introduce some of our favourite ones!

City Directories

Do you have the White or Yellow Pages at home? UBC Rare Books and Special Collections has a collection of city directories for British Columbia and Greater Vancouver area. For various reasons, the directories cannot be photocopied in RBSC. UBC Library has published microforms for the directories, which are available in the Koerner Library Microforms area.

In Open Collections, you can find 19 digitized directories that are used as the White or Yellow Pages by residents between 1877 and 1923.

Henderson Publishing. Henderson’s city of Vancouver directory. Comprising an improved street and avenue guide, showing a complete index to system of house numbering and a complete street directory of the city, an alphabetically arranged list of business firms and companies, professional men and private citizens. And a classified business directory. Vol. XII, 1905.


The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies by Antonio de Alcedo (1735-1812)

We have digitized volume 2 to 5 of The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies written by Antonio de Alcedo (1735-1812) in Spanish and translated by George Alexander Thompson (1797-1828) in 1812. The Spanish soldier, who resided in Panama for part of his childhood while his father was the provincial governor, was interested in American geography and history, and wrote about his observation of “New World” into the 5-volume books. He called the reference books “a dictionary”.

In volume 3 from pp.214 to 223, you can find Antonio’s observation of Vancouver Island:

Alcedo, Antonio de & Thompson, George Alexander. The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies. Containing an entire translation of the Spanish work of Colonel Don Antonio de Alcedo, captain of the Royal Spanish Guards, and member of the Royal Academy of History: with large additions and compilations from modern voyages and travels, and from original and authentic information. In five volumes. Vol. III, 1812.


Dictionaries for Indigenous languages

You can find dictionaries for three Indigenous languages: Chinook, Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) and Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language).


Chinook language is spoken by Chinookan peoples who reside in the Pacific Northwest in the United States, present-day Oregon and Washington State. Open Collections has 8 language dictionaries:

Lindley, Jo. Three years in Cariboo: being the experience and observations of a packer, what I saw and know of the country; its traveled routes, distances, villages, mines, trade and prospects. With distances, notes and facts, relative to the Salmon River and Nez Perces gold fields, 1862.


Thomas, Edward Harper. Chinook: a history and dictionary of the Northwest coast trade jargon. The centuries-old trade language of the Indians of the pacific. A history of its origin and its adoption and use by the traders, trappers, pioneers and early settlers of the northwest coast, 1935.


Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) language

Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) language is spoken by 13 Indigenous nations residing in western Vancouver Island. Open Collections contains a digitized Tahkaht-English/English-Tahkaht dictionary published in 1868:

Kripe, C. Some account of the Tahkaht language, as spoken by several tribes on the western coast of Vancouver Island, 1868.

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language)

Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language) is spoken by Secwépemc (Shuswap) people, Indigenous people residing in the south central part of present-day British Columbia. We have one dictionary known to be written in 1925 by Jean-Marie-Raphaël Le Jeune, a Canadian Roman Catholic priest who traveled the Kamloops region.

[Le Jeune, J. M. R.]. Studies on Shuswap, 1925.

About Canada

Who’s who in western Canada (volume 1-2) by Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932)

Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932) was a great showman, and famous for the C. W. Parker Carousel operating in the Burnaby Village Museum. He compiled portraits and biographies of people who had contributed to Western Canada, such as politicians, railroaders, litterateurs, and merchants.

Parker, C. W. Who’s who in western Canada: a biographical dictionary of notable living men and women in Western Canada Volume 1, 1911.


Volume 2, 1912.


The makers of Canada by Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936) and Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873-1946)

The dictionary about Canada before confederation consists of three sections: Index and dictionary, Manuscript sources in the Dominion Archives, and A partial list of scarce maps and plans relating to Canada. One of the authors, Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936) was a Dominion Archivist (the head of Canada’s national archives, the present Library and Archives Canada). Another author, Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873-1946) was a historian, a civil servant, a librarian and a writer, and specialized in Canadian bibliography, geography and history.

Doughty, Arthur G. & Burpee, Lawrence J. The makers of Canada. Index and dictionary of Canadian history, 1911.


If you want to get historical references to Greater Vancouver/BC/Canada, please find our digitized dictionaries in the BC Historical Books collection!





Open Collections has several collections related to fishing. Today, we will introduce a few of these collections and our favourite digitized items!

Fisherman Publishing Society Collection

In the Fisherman Publishing Society Collection, we have digitized around 4,000 photographs taken from 1862 to 1989. The Fisherman Publishing Society formed in 1937 and had published a bi-weekly newspaper, The Fisherman, for the Salmon Purse Seiners Union and its successor, the United Fisherman and Allied Workers’ Union. The paper was about the fishing industry and union events to promote unity among West Coast fishermen. The photographs depict labour and union activity, fish and fishing vessels, and the men and women who worked in the fishing industry. The archival collections are housed in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, with other correspondence, a scrapbook, meeting minutes, ships’ logs and the Harry Allison papers.


View of Dave Carlson’s boat the Spirit of B.C. at launching June, 1968.


Herring sale by Fishers Union at New Westminster to aid CKNW orphans fund December, 1968.


Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

UBC Library has more than 2,200 books on angling and fly-fishing, known as the Harry Hawthorn Collection. The collection started when a group of UBC professors went fishing for a holiday in 1953. They decided to launch a foundation with the accumulated money from various bets and fines for alleged illegal or non-ethical fishing methods. The current members of the Foundation are continuing this tradition to go fly-fishing in early August, and the increased funding has gone towards developing the collection.

In Open Collections, we have digitized around 50 representative titles as Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection with generous support by the Harry Hawthorn Foundation.


Sparrow, Walter Shaw. Angling in British art through five centuries: prints, pictures, books, 1923.


[Lang, Cecil]. The mighty mahseer and other fish : or hints to beginners on Indian fishing, 1906.


Traité général des pesches

Traité général des pesches consists of a digitized book with two volumes, Traité général des pesches, et histoire des poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui on rapport aux arts et au commerce, [between 1769-1782]. These volumes, written by a French physician and botanist, Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-1782) and Jean-Louis De La Marre between 1769 and 1782, were considered one of the finest works on fishing and fisheries.

Duhamel du Monceau, M. Traité général des pesches, et histoire des poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui on rapport aux arts et au commerce, [between 1769-1782].

Duhamel du Monceau, M. Traité général des pesches, et histoire des poissons qu’elles fournissent, tant pour la subsistance des hommes, que pour plusieurs autres usages qui on rapport aux arts et au commerce. Seconde partie, [between 1769-1782].

Along with the entire volumes, we also separately digitized all of the illustrated plates in the books:


Duhamel du Monceau, M. Part 1, Section 1, Plate 2, [between 1769-1782].

Duhamel du Monceau, M. Part 2, Section 1, Plate 10, [between 1769-1782].

UBC Institute of Fisheries Field Records

UBC Institute of Fisheries Field Records have more than 10,000 digitized records on fish specimens in the UBC Fish Collection housed in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, which is the third-largest fish collection in Canada.

The fish records include information about where and what kinds of fish were caught. This data has been used in environmental assessments, conservation efforts and research projects in an aquatic ecosystem.

The oldest record in 1877, for instance, shows the record of Hyperoplus lanceolatus (Greater sand eel) caught in Estonia:

UBC Institute of Fisheries Field Record B.C. 63-943, 1877.


The latest record in 1991 have 13 different types of fishes caught near Helby Island, BC:

UBC Institute of Fisheries Filed Record B.C. 90-191, 1991.


If you want to explore more about these collections, please visit our past blog posts:



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