Edith Eaton

Edith Eaton

Rare Books and Special Collections is delighted to host a new exhibition: Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna: Writing Hybridity on the Cusp of the 20th Century.

Curated by Jennifer Tang, an undergraduate research assistant at UBC; Dr. Mary Chapman, Professor of English at UBC; and Brandy Liên Worrall-Soriano, an author and editor with an MFA from UBC, the exhibition explores the fascinating story of sisters Edith Eaton and Winnifred Eaton.

Chinese-North American authors Edith Eaton (1865-1914) and Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954) were members of a large Chinese Canadian family who settled in Montreal in 1872. Their mother, Achuen Amoy (1843-1921), had been a Chinese slave girl who toured the world with a Chinese acrobatic troupe. Their father, Edward Eaton (1839-1915), was an Englishman from a Cheshire silk manufacturing town but had worked in Asia.

Born during an era of discrimination toward Chinese immigrants in North America and of even greater discrimination toward mixed-race individuals, the sisters devoted much of their writing careers to exploring the little-understood position of the mixed-race (“hapa”) individual.

winnifred-eaton

Winnifred Eaton

Edith published most of her work under the pseudonym “Sui Sin Far,” which is the Cantonese name for a narcissus flower often presented as a gift at Christmas or Chinese New Year. As “Sui Sin Far,” Edith wrote fiction and journalism about the diasporic Chinese community.

Winnifred, by contrast, assumed the pseudo-Japanese name “Onoto Watanna” and wrote novels set in Japan, a land she had never visited. She posed in kimonos for photographers and made frequent public comments about Japanese traditions and politics. Her appropriation of Japanese culture has led some scholars to characterize Winnifred as the “bad” Eaton sister and Edith as the “good” Eaton sister. But is the story that simple?

Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna: Writing Hybridity on the Cusp of the 20th Century is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre through October 15, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday, October 15, from 12-5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

29186671705_61665f2750_oIt’s been an exciting week here at RBSC! We’ve been celebrating the arrival of a new book to our collection: The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, published by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press in 1896. The book, more colloquially known as the “Kelmscott Chaucer,” is one of only 438 copies printed and one of only 48 copies with a stunning binding created by the Doves Bindery and designed by Morris. This Kelmscott Press masterwork was described by the poet William Butler Yeats as the “most beautiful of all printed books.”

The Vancouver Sun, the CBC, and others have shared our excitement about the Kelmscott Chaucer this week. You can read and hear coverage about the acquisition here:

You can find some amazing photos here, but if you’d like to see the Kelmscott Chaucer in person (and who wouldn’t?!), drop in to our weekly tour / open house. The open house highlights materials from our diverse collections and includes a tour of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection exhibition space. The tour / open house runs every Wednesday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., no appointment necessary. We looking forward to seeing you there!

IMG_4625_illustratedall_webresIn honour of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Canadian première of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rare Books and Special Collections was delighted to create a display highlighting some of the unique and remarkable copies of the first Harry Potter story from its children’s literature collection. This four-case display was at the Orpheum Theatre for the three performances on July 21, July 22, and July 23, and now will be on exhibit in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room until the end of August.

The display, which features signed first editions, special editions, illustration editions, and foreign language editions of this beloved book, also highlights some of the profound and surprising connections that Vancouver shares with the Harry Potter series. (Kidsbooks in Vancouver was the first bookstore in all of Canada to carry Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and hosted four legendary book release parties, while Raincoast Books in Vancouver published the Canadian editions of the Harry Potter series until 2010.)

You can visit the Harry Potter display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from through August 31, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

Words and Pictures poster imageRare Books and Special Collections is delighted to present a new exhibition: Words & Pictures: Book Illustration in Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards

Join us for a special celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Governor General’s (GG) Literary Awards. In honour of this historic occasion, UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections is proud to present the exhibition, Words & Pictures: Book Illustration in Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Curated by UBC Master of Library and Information Studies candidates Johanna Ahn, Chloe Humphreys, and Leah Payne, along with UBC professor Dr. Andrew Irvine, the exhibit traces the evolution of the Awards, detailing our rich Canadian heritage in the areas of book art and illustration.

The exhibit showcases a wide array of stunning original artwork, hand drawn sketches, and first edition books created by some of Canada’s most talented authors and illustrators. Isabelle Arsenault, Stéphane Jorisch, Janice Nadeau and Emily Carr represent only 4 of the 25+ creators whose work is highlighted.

Words & Pictures is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floors of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from April 22 through June 30, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. People of all ages are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

We hope to see you there!

Photo 2015-10-30, 11 54 14 AMDid you see UBC Library’s Harry Potter and the Rain City exhibition last fall? Did you attend the Harry Potter, Brands of Magic colloquium or the Hallowe’en at Hogwarts West party? If so, we’d love to know what you thought!

Please complete our survey at the below link:

https://survey.ubc.ca/s/harrypotter/

Tell us what you liked, tell us what you didn’t, and, most importantly, tell us what you want UBC Library to do next!

Image of IBBY exhibition posterRare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is proud to host a new exhibition, The Right of Every Child to Become a Reader, sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

In response to the waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East arriving in the Italian island, Lampedusa, IBBY launched the project “Silent Books, from the world to Lampedusa and back” in 2012. The project involved creating the first library on Lampedusa to be used by local and immigrant children. The organization went on to select a collection of silent books (wordless picture books) that could be understood and enjoyed by children regardless of language. These books were collected from IBBY National Sections, over one hundred books from over twenty countries.

Now IBBY has organized a traveling exhibition with stops in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto. A collection of wordless picture books from around the world, curated by local illustrator, author, and teacher Kathryn Shoemaker, will be on display at Rare Books and Special Collections from October 1-23, 2015. Learn more about the traveling exhibition here!

The exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

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