Maps are not just for marking land. Through maps, you can travel back in time to understand how society was structured, how a region was recognized, the power structures of that time, and other cultural and societal aspects of the place being represented.

The Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection is a treasure trove for such information. The maps colorfully display information about social hierarchies, the production of villages, land claims and important figures, among other things.

The Tokugawa Era is such an important time for maps because, up until the 17th century, maps were meant for the use of the privileged ruling elite only, and mapmaking was rare. When Tokugawa reunified the archipelago in 1600, Japanese cartography began to develop at a much faster rate as people had increased access to information and could more easily move around the archipelago and the world. The result was a wide range of map options for consumers who were interested in getting to know about their neighborhood, city, country and the world at large.

Principally, three types of maps were produced during the Tokugawa Era:

  • Pocket-version: small maps that could be held in both hands, folded and slipped into the kimono sleeve. Perfect for travel.
  • Medium size: these maps with up to one meter on a side, designed to be viewed on a tatami floor.
  • Large size: maps that often exceeded three meters in length. Scholars surmise that users would stand on top of these maps to view them in large ceremonial rooms.

If you want to explore the maps more deeply, with all the background information about Japanese society and history, we encourage you to check out the book Cartographic Japan: A History in Maps. The book analyzes several Japanese maps, including some that are in our collection. If you have your UBC Library card, go check it out. If not, you can check out part of the content in Google Books.


Some maps from our collection

This map is a Mount Fuji 3-D bird’s eye view, published around 1848. Mount Fuji attracted many pilgrims during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, who visited the temples along the way. This map might have been created for the people who were not able to go on such pilgrimages. The map then functioned as a way for people to imagine the sacred places that they would never see in reality.

Find out more about this item by checking the article “A 19th-century 3-D bird’s eye map of Mt. Fuji, with all the bells and whistles”.

[Fujisan no zu], 1848

Different types of ships are represented in this map, probably meaning that Yokohama port was a place for trade with people from different parts of the world.

Yokohama onkaichi meisai no zu, 1859


The following image is only an excerpt of the complete scroll map. It was created by Yoshitora Utagawa, an ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) designer and illustrator of books and newspapers. Can you see the amazing details of this map that represents a procession?

Tokaido meisho zue, 1864


The collection

The Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection has over 500 items, making it one of the world’s largest collection of maps and guidebooks of the Tokugawa period (1600-1867).

There are many rare and unique items, varying from pocket-sized maps to large scroll format maps. The collection is focused on privately published and travel-related maps and guides published in Japan during the Tokugawa period. There is world coverage, although the majority of maps are of the whole or parts of Japan.

Kaisei chiri shoho ansha no zu, 1876


Check out some of our previous posts about this collection:

Access and explore the Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection. You might be fascinated with the details of the maps and find out something new about Japan or maps in general.



ASIA 453 001 (UBC)

ASIA 453: Japanese travel literature – maps projects (UBC)

Cartographic Japan: a history in maps

Review by Morgan Pitelka: Cartographic Japan: a history in maps (Project Muse)

Do you ever wonder what Vancouver was like just a few decades ago? What used to exist where you live or work? If you want information about Greater Vancouver, you can check out our Greater Vancouver Regional District Planning Department Land Use Maps Collection.

The collection has over 1,800 detailed maps—produced in 1965, 1980 and 1983—and covers Vancouver and several surrounding municipalities. You can explore maps of: North and West Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, and even the Howe Sound and Bowen Island!

When looking through the maps, you’ll be able to see that symbols were used to indicate what individual lots were used for. In total, there are 64 zoning categories, which indicate whether lots were residential, commercial, industrial, mixed and more.  The maps are used by urban planning and geography students at UBC, the local business community, and property development firms. The originals are held at UBC Library’s Maps & Atlas Collection, but you have access online through Open Collections.

If you want to start exploring the area, check the index to search specifically the map of your interest:

Index – Land use series


Development map series: city of Vancouver, 1971


Take a look at the map of False Creek. The Vancouver General Hospital remains, but can you see some changes that happened on the last 47 years?

Development map series: city of Vancouver, 1971


Access the Greater Vancouver Maps Collection, try to find some places that you frequent today and see what they used to be!

We here at the Digitization Centre were wondering: “What can I learn from the Early printed books and Western manuscripts”? We found the answer: “A lot of things.” This time, we chose to discuss what we found out about the history of typography.

The earliest printed books were produced to be similar to handwritten manuscripts by imitating scribal handwriting. It was common to send books to be finished by the hands of illuminators (who created initial letters and illustrations) and rubricators (who added text in red to highlight important information).

In general, people from the medieval era couldn’t distinguish manuscripts from early printed books because the books were produced in a way to imitate scribal handwriting. Even now, it can be difficult to distinguish the two forms. An example of this can be found in the Book of Hours, which is probably a manuscript rather than a book, but features the work of illuminators and rubricators.

[Book of hours], 1440

When printing the Bible, Gutenberg used the Textura quadrata script, commonly used for books in churches. To make it similar to scribal handwriting, he created and used about 300 types, which included ligatures and abbreviated letters.

Examples of other scripts that were used in manuscripts and early books in medieval Europe include:

  • Textura quadrata: a type of gothic script, where the black of the letters overcomes the white of the page. Used for books in churches.
  • Rotunda: another type of gothic script, used in books. It was created in Bologna, in the 12th
  • Bastarda: a third type of gothic script, used in documents and for formal information, such as the French and Burgundian book of hours from the 15th
  • Carolingian minuscule: created in the 8th century during the governing of Charlemagne. It is the basis for the Roman type that we use today.


Examples of gothic scripts

Can you differentiate from Textura quadrata, Rotunda and Bastarda? These materials can help you if you want to try: Fonts for Latin paleography and Dawn of Western printing.

Roemische Historien, 1574


Der Römischen Kaiserlichen Maiestat Edict wider D. Martin Luther seine Anhenger Enthalter und Nachuolger…, 1546


[Catholicon], 1460


Carolingian minuscule

This script deserves its own section. The person responsible for the creation of this type of letter is not clear. Some say that Alcuin of York was the primary creator, while others say that the style actually was developed over time. But Alcuin of York’s contributions go beyond the creation of the Carolingian minuscule. He instructed scribes to use easy-to-read letters, insert spaces between words, a capital letter at the beginning of sentences, and to use punctuation on texts.

The Carolingian minuscule had clear forms and did not make use of ligatures and abbreviations, which made the information legible. The script was used for legal documents and literary works, which in turn contributed to increased communication and information comprehension.

The Carolingian minuscule, as mentioned before, gave origin to the Roman type that we still use today.

M. Fabii Quintiliani rhetoris clarrissimi Oratoriarum institutionum libri XII : opera ac studio Ioachimi…, 1543


Orlando furioso, 1577


Check out our Western Manuscripts and early Printed Books to see the different scripts used and appreciate the beauty of these works.



8th century: the Roman letterform is revived by the Carolingians (Design history)

A guide for the perplexed (Mark Bland)

Blackletter: the gothic hands 12-15th C. (Design history)

Early printed books (First impressions)

Features of early printed books (First impressions)

Jherome of Bruyinswike (also known as Jerome of Brunswick or Hieronymus Bruncschwig or Jerome von Braunschweig), was born around 1450 in Strasburg, Germany. He was a surgeon, alchemist, and botanist, responsible for the publication of the first illustrated book on surgery in English.

Brunswick was an apprentice to a master surgeon and had success in his career. He was encouraged by a friend to write a manual on surgery in German, so people who were unable to read Latin could have access to the information.

Das Buch der Cirurgia was Brunswick’s first book, written for surgeons living in rural villages and castles who had to rely only on their own experiences and resources to perform surgeries. The book served as a guide to practitioners and apprentices to perform general surgery.

The healing of small wounds


The Noble Experyence of the Vertuous Handy warke of Surgeri (1525)

This book, which can be accessed through Open Collections, has three sections:  Anatomy of the body, Surgery, and Antidotharium. While in the first section, Brunswick gives us a glimpse into the level of anatomical knowledge present in this era, the second and third sections deal with more practical matters, including instructions on how to deal with wounds, fractures, and dislocations, as well as methods for creating plasters and ointments.

An instrument to make a crooked leg right


An instrument to make a crooked arm right


Instruments for cranial surgery


Brunswick wrote the book based on his own experiences, and explained not only how to perform surgeries, but also how to behave as a professional. He suggested that surgeons should accept money for an ailment they deemed incurable: “You shall for no gold nor silver take in hand that thing that you think is incurable or not likely to be cured, for saving of your good name.”

Similarly, he encourages his readers to resist praising themselves or blaming others, and that, in considering patient care, they should “comfort your patient howsoever it be with him. You shall show the truth and give them perfect knowledge of his disease.”


Curiosity: Knowledge of that time

Brunswick was known as a war surgeon, as he used to heal people from gunshots wounds. The treatment for gunshot wounds that Brunswick recommends in his book was common knowledge at the time but was thankfully debunked in the centuries that followed. For example, gunshot wounds were considered to be poisoned wounds, and so surgeons would first try to neutralize the effects of the poison. General practice was to cauterize the wound by injecting boiling oli, and specialized instruments were often used to dilate and enlarge the wounds to facilitate the injection of the oil.

Human anatomy and its planetary alignments


Interested in learning more? If so, check out the The Noble Experyence of the Vertuous Handy warke of Surgeri (1525) in our Western Manuscripts and Early Printed Books Collection.



16th century surgery book by Jerome of Brunswick (Science Photo Library)

Bibliotheca Britannica: or a general index to British and foreign literature (Bibliotheca Britannica)

Hieronymus Brunschwig (c. 1450-1513): his life and contributions to surgery (Classics in Pediatric Neurosurgery)

The early history of surgery (W. J. Bishop)

The thought and culture of the English Renaissance: an anthology of Tudor Prose 1481-1555 (Elizabeth M. Nugent)

Collections stand out for different reasons. The History of Nursing in Pacific Canada Collection contains many unique items, including materials from the Ethel Johns Fonds and local material (BC and Yukon) held at UBC Library. It further contains what is known as the Infant Feeders Collection, held in the Memorial Room of the Woodward Biomedical Library at the University of British Columbia.

Most of the infant feeding devices in this collection were donated to Woodward Library by Alice Lillian Wright. Wright was born on Prince Edward Island and received her early education there. She graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1918 and later received a Bachelor of Science from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Wright specialized in pediatric nursing and was an instructor at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and the Babies Hospital of New York. In 1943 Wright returned to Vancouver to become Executive Director of the Registered Nurses’ Association of British Columbia, continuing in this position until her retirement.

Here is a sampling of some of the feeding devices in the collection:


Nursing Bottles

According to an article from Nature, feeding bottles were created for nursing in the absence of the mother or when mothers were unable to nurse. Several types of nursing bottles – also known as feeding bottles – were developed over many thousands of years. This feeding bottle allowed the mother to control the flow of milk, by pressing the hole in the center top.

[Feeding bottle]

When glass-blowing became available, the “banana” type of feeding bottle emerged. The mother would press one side of the bottle to control the milk flow, while the baby could drink it in an inclined position.

[Glass feeding bottle]

There was one type of feeding bottle that was unfortunately known as the “Murder bottle”, because several babies died while using it. The bottle used a rubber tube attached to the nipple, which made it difficult for babies to suck the milk and caused several problems. Because the rubber tube was difficult to use and clean, it created a perfect environment for the development of deadly bacteria. Despite this fatal issue, this style of bottle remained popular until the 1920s.

[Nursing bottle], 1899


Rattle and teething ring

Rattles were often used as a tool to amuse a child, as they still are today. Some of them had additional elements, like this one, with a mother-of-pearl teething ring.

[Rattle and teething ring]


Pap warmer

The pap warmer was used to keep semi-liquid (or “pap”) warm during the night at the child’s bedside. They could be made of metal or ceramics and were used to keep food warm by using a vessel for oil and a wick. A complete pap warmer has several elements: the pedestal or base, with a large aperture for the godet; the godet, or vessel for oil; the liner, which was a bowl for hot water; pannikin, a bowl for the food; and a lid, with a work to hold a candle on it. Check other models of pap warmer that existed.

[Early American pap warmer]


Pap boats

Pap boats were used to feed soft foods during the first months of an infant’s life by simply pouring food into the child’s mouth. Overfeeding children was very common, and the practice in 18th and 19th century was to feed the child until they regurgitated and then continue to feed them.

Pap boat, 1810


Food pusher

This utensil was used to help the child to transition between eating food with fingers and using tableware. The food pusher was used to push food together so that it could be more easily picked up by a fork or spoon.

[Child’s food pusher], 1946

Did these items grab your attention? We have more on our collection! Access and check out the other infant feeder items in our History of Nursing in Pacific Canada Collection!

If you take a look at the Canadian Pacific Railway Company posters in our Chung Collection, you’ll be amazed by all of the wonderful paintings depicting early and mid 20th-century travel in Canada. These promotional posters were created to attract tourists to the many trains, hotels, world cruises, Canadian tours, and airplanes owned by Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

Several artists in Canada were recruited to design these materials, including Norman Fraser, A. C. Leighton, Peter Ewart, Kenneth Shoesmith, Roger Couillard and A. Y., among others.

Get to know a little about two of these artists.


Alfred Crocker Leighton (1901-1965)

Born in October 27, 1901, in Hastings, England, Leighton used his drawing skills to win a scholarship at the Brassey Institute, Hastings’ Municipal School of Art. Initially, he studied architecture to satisfy his father’s wishes, but after an intervention, his father agreed to let Leighton study art.

Between 1919 and 1924, Leighton worked as a toy designer and became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists after submitting one of his works. In 1924, he and a partner built a working scale model of the port of Liverpool, which caught the public’s attention along with the interest of certain Canadian Pacific Company executives.

Later that year, he was hired by the Canadian Pacific Company. He would travel on the company’s trains, jump off to sketch scenes, and then get back on the next train. He returned once more to the UK, before coming back to Canada and settling down in 1929. Leighton worked as Art Director of the Art Institute of Calgary, formed the Alberta Society of Artists, and established the Banff School of Fine Arts.

Learn more about Leighton’s history at the Leighton Art Centre website. This is a sample of his work in our Chung Collection:

Chateau Lake Louise, 1938


Canadian Pacific Empress of Australia, 1925


Peter Ewart (1918-2001)

Peter Ewart was born April 7, 1918, in Kisbey, Saskatchewan, but was raised in Montreal. Although Ewart enjoyed playing hockey and marbles with his friends, his true passion was painting and drawing, which lead him to study art in Montreal and later in New York City.

During World War II, Ewart enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). While in service, he was stationed in British Columbia for a time, first at Pat Bay and then at Spider Island. Ewart was so amazed by the beautiful BC scenery that he decided to settle there after the war.

After moving to Vancouver, Ewart was hired by the Canadian Pacific Company, creating over 20 posters and two serigraphic prints for them. But Ewart’s work goes beyond commercial illustrations. His paintings have been exhibited in the Royal Academy (London, England), Royal Canadian Academy, Canadian National Exhibition, and Mid-Century Exposition of Canadian Painting, among others.

If you want to get to know more about Peter Ewart’s history, check out the website Peter Ewart. This is a sample of his work in our Chung Collection:

The three sisters Canadian Rockies, 1955


Banff-Lake Louise region Canadian Rockies via Canadian Pacific, 1941


Canadian Pacific train in the Rocky Mountains, 1940


If you are interested in knowing more about Canadian Pacific Railway and graphic art, check the book “Canadian Pacific: creating a brand, building a nation“. To see these and other items of the collection, access Open Collections.



A.C. Leighton: a biographical sketch (Sharecom)

Artwork and images of the C.P.R. (The Chung Collection)

Go Canada! When gorgeous graphic design lured the world to the great white north (Collectors Weekly)

Peter Ewart: an artist’s journey (Peter Ewart)

The early years (Leighton Art Centre)

The German Consulate Fonds is a digital collection that was created in partnership with UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC). It contains documents from various German Consulates in Canada, dating from 1909 to 1939.

The collection contains documents, reports, memoranda, and correspondences from German Consulates in Ottawa, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. Items in the collection are useful source materials for research into the Canadian political and economic affairs of this time period. Export trade, currency exchange, customs regulations and information, trade agreements, boycotts, and important Canadian industries such as mining, automobile, broadcasting, and fishing are only some of the topics covered by this collection. Not to mention industrial espionage!

In 2010, the Vancouver German Consulate informed UBC Library that efforts were being made to repatriate all of the records removed from Germany Consulates during World War II. Before returning all physical items in the collection, UBC Library digitized the entirety of the German Consulate Fonds and has now made it available to the public.


Basic information about Canada


Basic information about Canada




Allegations of espionage!


Interested in checking out more of the records of the German Consulate? If so, access the fonds on the RBSC AtoM site and make sure to check back once it’s added to Open Collections. If you want just to take a glance at what items are in the collection, access the finding aid.

The Rainbow Ranche Collection was donated to the Lake Country Museum and Archives by the family of James Goldie.

James Goldie (1877-1971) was an owner and resident manager of Rainbow Ranche. Goldie was very engaged in the fruit industry, promoting the concept of central selling. For several years, he was part of the board for the Vernon Fruit Union, the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, B.C. Tree Fruits and the Winfield Okanagan Centre Irrigation District.

As one of the first independent fruit ranches in the Okanagan, Rainbow Ranche played an important role in the community. Before ending up in the hands of James Goldie, J. E. McAllister, and Robert Stanhope Dormer, who were partners for almost forty years, the Rainbow Ranche had a few different owners. But it was the first owners, the Barr Brothers, who named Rainbow Ranche in homage of the frequent rainbows that would appear on their land.

Correspondence and ledgers make up the majority of the Rainbow Ranche Collection, in which it is possible to see details from the first planting and other orchard operations. This collection also provides an idea of how work and life were in Okanagan in the early 1900s.

Take a look at some of the materials from the Rainbow Ranche Collection:

Advertisement for “Canada Empire Apples” from the Associated Growers of B.C.


Letter to “Sirs” [J.E. McAllister and Robert Stanhope Dormer] from[James Goldie], March 21, 1931

Newspaper Clipping from The Globe, August 01, [1913]

Inventory [of Rainbow Ranche] taken January 1938

Map of Lots on Barnard Ave. and Tronson Street, [1911]

Have these images got you interested? If so, check out more items in the Rainbow Ranche Collection.


James Goldie obituary, June 1971 (UBC Open Collections)

The history of Rainbow Ranche (Lake Country Museum and Archives)

The Rainbow Ranche Collection (Lake Country Museum and Archives)

The Rainbow Ranche Collection (UBC Open Collections)

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet