It’s decidedly autumn here on the Vancouver campus of UBC. Chilly walks, a desire for soups, and some costume scheming are in the ether. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few from Open Collections.


(Pop)Culturally Appropriate, a clown from the Ubyssey:

Ubyssey cover October 31, 2003 featuring a close up picture of a clown


This photo from 1919 is a little far away, but there are some great hats throughout. Perhaps something Newsies-related would capture the time:

Group photograph of the 1919 "High Jinks" costume party

Group photograph of the 1919 “High Jinks” costume party

In1984, George Pedersen wore a Superman Costume. Bonus points for anyone who can pinpoint where on campus this photo was taken:

George Pedersen in Superman costume

George Pedersen in Superman costume

Of course, the theatre department has no shortage of costumes. Here, Joy Coghill for a performance of The Visit:

Joy Coghill in costume from production of "The Visit" 1964

Joy Coghill in costume from production of “The Visit” 1964


Regardless of costume, you can donate food at UBC Library for a reduction of fines:

Lica Chui, Charles Slonecker and Carole Forsythe with food collected by U.B.C. students

Lica Chui, Charles Slonecker and Carole Forsythe with food collected by U.B.C. students


DHSI – the Digital Humanities Summer Institute – is a humanities training program held every summer at the University of Victoria. Delivered over a week, each course is an intensive series of classes interspersed with colloquiums, unconferences, and other community-based events, and provides an ideal environment for influencing teaching, research, dissemination, creation, and preservation in different disciplines. Course offerings have historically included such topics as text analysis, data visualization, digital pedagogy, programming, topic modelling, and more.
UBC Library is continuing as a sponsoring partner of DHSI thanks to the support of University Librarian Susan Parker. As part of this sponsorship, the Library provides free registration – normally $900 with the early bird rate, or $1,250 at full cost – for five UBC library employees to attend a course at DSHI 2018, June 4-8 or 11-15.
If you would like to be considered for one of these sponsored spots, please submit the following to by Monday, October 23rd
·         A short statement of interest (300 words max)
·         Your preferred course(s)
·         Source(s) of funding you would use to cover the other costs of attending DHSI (travel, accommodation, incidentals)
·         If you have attended DHSI in the past on a UBC Library-sponsored spot, the years you attended and the courses you took
Any UBC Library staff member with an interest in Digital Humanities is invited to apply. Submissions will be reviewed by members of the Library’s Digital Humanities Working Group and we hope to notify successful applicants by October 27th
Note: Registration for 2018 is now open, and some high-demand courses fill up fast. Any participants from sponsoring institutions can also attend DHSI at a reduced rate of $650, using a discount code. If you are planning to attend DHSI in 2018 and are interested in registering with this discounted rate, please contact Larissa Ringham ( for the code *before you register*, as the discount cannot be applied retroactively.
Please feel free to contact Larissa for more information, or if you have any questions.


We hope you enjoy the long weekend, good food, and this tour through parties and Thanksgivings past in our collections:

in 1888, the Regina Lodge in Vancouver was charging $4 to attend a Social Ball and Supper:

Turkey was the thing by 1913, as Women’s Words of Western Canada encourages a poultry raising cottage industry:


Enthusiastic conversation at an unidentified dinner party in the 1940’s:

Excellent fashions at a similar party:


A visually impressive Masonic Dinner:

And those who make it all happen, the cooks (from a 1959 Faculty Club dinner):


Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? What are your favourite traditions?

The documents in our collections contain concerns ranging from global to individual. While exploring the collections this week, I was struck by the obituaries, remembrances, and memorials here is a selection.

This Obituary from The Prospector (1896) is front page news, and followed by reports of gold fields in the Kootenays.

Mrs. Ellison was remembered in the eighteenth report of the Okanagan Historical Society.

And we know nothing about Paddy Cameron’s passing, other than his friends were generous to the tune of $75 in 1985.

On the opposite end of the scale, Mrs. Jacques was remembered in verbose style by Mabel Johnson in 1955.


I love these glimpses into the lives of every day people; may we all be remembered so kindly, and found in collections for generations to come.

Welcome back to campus, UBC!

Don’t get stressed about moving into your dorm:

Moving into the new Women’s Residence, 1956


Remember that there is always a way to solve an interpersonal problem:

Photo of unidentified students, 1922

Be grateful that freshman no longer wear these:

Freshmen wear dunce caps, 1938

While in lecture, take power from all of those that have come before you. These students are at the first lecture in HEBB:

First day of lectures in the Hebb Theatre 1963

Make time to read all of those books on the syllabus.:

Bookplate from 1912

Experiment and learn new skills:

Spinning at the Rural Leadership School, UBC, 1940

First Aid at the Rural Leadership School, UBC, 1940

Before you know it, you’ll be here:

Members of the Nursing class 1923

We’re proud of you. Have the best term, and visit the Library!

The Digitization Centre’s work is housed online in Open Collections, with projects organized into collections. Occasionally, objects are digitized alone or in a small group, and these are placed in Special Projects—our own home for wayward items. Being a bit of a grab-bag, it is one of our favourite places to explore and gain insight on the breadth of the UBC collection.

This Debussy piano score has some great marginalia, including a date of 1913 on the front and many playing notes throughout- including some comments about a co-performer.

The digital copy of the Tu Fu poem “Gazing at Taishan” has only been seen 45 times in Open Collections- a truly beautiful work.

This map, with the verbose name of “Fraser River and Burrard Inlet surveyed by Captn. G.H. Richards, assisted by Lieutt. R.C. Mayne … [et al.], H.M.S. Plumper 1859-60 ; Burrard Inlet by Mr. W.J. Stewart by order of the Government of the Dominion of Canada, 1891 ; engraved by J. & C. Walker” has a most enjoyable fold-up bit in the corner.

This 1890 map of Vancouver goes both local and global: many façades of buildings found downtown, but also a world map so you know where Vancouver is in relation to everywhere else, I guess?

This week on the blog, we’ll use Open Collections to search for some images. @VanBigTrees submitted this question on Twitter:

Let’s get started!

First, we’ll go to Open Collections at

From here, we can start a search a few ways. Today, we’ll explore using the collections, and next week, we’ll work with keyword searches. First, let’s select the “Browse by Collection” button to see if there are any collections that might be helpful to us:

I chose to scroll through these collections and open up the Capilano Timber Company Fonds:


Since I’m looking for photos of old-growth forests, a logging company might feel counter-intuitive. One strategy among many is to search for the opposite of what you’re looking for: a logging company would need documentation of what was there before they cut it down.

This is the front page of the collection: Here you can see dates, subjects, and if you scroll, a brief overview of the collection. Since I don’t know what’s here, I’m going to search all the items in the collection; type an asterisk (*) in the search bar.

Here is the list of everything in the collection- all 151 items. Since I’m looking for images of forests, I’ll see what my options are in the “Subject” field over on the left hand side.

The most common subject, “Cedar Trees”, sounds like a good place to start. I’ll select that and then scroll through the images.

I like one entitled “Capilano Cedar”

An old-growth forest photo!! Come back next week for the next stage of the search: using subject terms and keywords.

Vancouver is greening up spectacularly with the warmer weather. We’re enjoying many lunchtimes in the beautiful gardens here at UBC, and soaking up as much greenery as we possibly can while it’s here! This week on the blog, we’re taking a photo tour through the Nitobe Memorial Garden. 

The Nitobe Memorial Garden is on UBC’s Vancouver campus, but it feels like another world entirely – winding paths encourage contemplation and reflection. Over the years many photographers have captured glimpses of the gardens, views that will have to satisfy us until we can make it back.

Visitors enjoy the garden in 1975:

A view of the garden in the 1960’s:

A few snaps from 1965

Mrs. Tetsuo Ban with Ishadora (Japanese Lantern) during presentation ceremony April 28, 1966


Inscribed stone in Nitobe Garden- 

Women in costume for a performance of Madame Butterfly in 1960:

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