Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is excited to announce a new public exhibition, “A Queer Century, 1869-1969,” opening to coincide with UBC’s hosting of the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

“A Queer Century” tell stories from the history of sexuality, progressing from the emergence of homosexuality as a named concept in 1869 to the announced decriminalization of homosexual activity in Canada in 1969, and highlighting cultural events in the changing perceptions of gender and sexuality. The exhibition features books, ephemera, and archival materials in English, German, and French from RBSC’s collections, as well as original correspondence held in UBC’s University Archives, and materials generously loaned by local private collectors.

This exhibition is made possible by the Queer Collections Project (QCP), a joint, interdisciplinary initiative organized by faculty in the Faculty of Arts with the support of UBC Library and housed at Rare Books and Special Collections. The QCP began with seed funding from the Jane Rule Endowment for the Study of Human Relationships (JRE), with the goal of making significant additions to the UBC Library’s collections, thereby putting in place primary resources for undergraduate and graduate research into the study of the history of sexuality.

Since 2017, the faculty curators—Dr. Kyle Frackman (Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies) and Dr. Gregory Mackie (Department of English Language and Literatures)—have aimed to add to the University’s collections and to surface items that UBC Library already owns. The QCP has received generous funding and support from the JRE, UBC Library, the UBC Provost’s Office, and the Ulrich Maché Memorial Fund.

“A Queer Century, 1869-1969,” which is free and open to the public, will be on display in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room from June 1 to September 11, 2019. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with special hours for Congress 2019 on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: Across Enchanted Lands: Universal Motifs in Illustrated Fairy Tales.

Many thanks to guest bloggers Renée Gaudet, Karen Ng, and Ashlynn Prasad for contributing the below post! Renée, Karen, and Ashlynn are graduate students at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and curated this delightful new exhibition under the supervision of Professor Kathie Shoemaker.

Our exhibition, Across Enchanted Lands: Universal Motifs in Illustrated Fairy Tales, showcases various themes and archetypes common in fairy tales, with particular attention to the ways in which those themes appear in stories from a variety of cultures. While many of the archetypes highlighted – including peril, romance, and fairies and little folk – may be familiar to consumers of modern-day fairy tales, the exhibition also features characteristics common to early fairy tales that have since changed and evolved.

Student curators Renée Gaudet, Karen Ng, and Ashlynn Prasad

Across Enchanted Lands comprises just a small portion of the vast collection of children’s literature housed at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, and also includes some items from the Education Library. Part of the strength of these materials is the fact that they span the course of hundreds of years, which allows for the exploration of illustration styles from different eras of fairy tales and the ways in which certain fairy tales have evolved over time. The illustrations highlighted here showcase both the beauty and light side of fairy tales as well as some of the darker and sinister undertones that often creep up in these narratives. In this way, Across Enchanted Lands offers a well-rounded perspective on the history of the modern fairy tale and the various roles the fairy tale genre has played in different cultures.

Across Enchanted Lands is located partly in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room and partly on level 2 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. On level 2, the cases cover the following themes: Global Fairy Tales; Cinderella and Red Riding Hood Across Cultures; Not for Children; Powerful Women; Pop-Up and Interactive Books; Illustration Styles; and Abodes. On the first floor in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room are Beautiful Books; Canonical Writers; Global Fairy Tales; Cinderella Across Cultures; Fairies and Little Folk; Animals; Mythological Creatures; Peril; and Romance. The cases work together and inform one another in order to provide a well-rounded picture of the many essential archetypes and motifs that have made fairy tales so iconic.

Across Enchanted Lands: Universal Motifs in Illustrated Fairy Tales is on display from March 1 through May 30, 2019. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

Shakespeare’s first folio. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

In honour of Dr. Patricia Badir’s new course Shakespeare Now (ENGL 241) Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to partially re-stage our popular Shakespeare exhibition from this past summer.

Exploring topics including Shakespearean theatre in British Columbia, Shakespeare in children’s literature, Shakespeare and religion, and the legacy of Shakespeare, the exhibition was co-curated by Patricia Badir, Professor of English, Anthony Dawson, Professor Emeritus of English, and Department of English students Karol Pasciano (MA), Aiden Tait (BA Hons.), and Ana Maria Fernandez Grandizo (BA Hons.).

Shakespeare and the Book will be on display in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room through February 22, 2019. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

Many thanks to guest blogger Karen Ng for contributing the below post! Karen is a graduate student at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and the co-curator of Judging a Book by Its Cover.

Fantastic Books and Where to See Them!

At Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), I work as a student assistant, and it is both exciting and daunting to learn the collections and holdings. What do we have and what’s interesting about each thing? In searching for books with visually appealing covers that draw our attention, we turned our focus to items that show the progression of bookbinding techniques over time, as well as items that highlight Vancouver’s book arts scene. The exhibition, Judging a Book By Its Cover, showcases items from the following categories: early European bindings; works from local bookbinders and designers; artists’ books and odd formats; examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement; special qualities of bindings that make books unique; and notable and aesthetically beautiful covers.

Some of my favourite items from the exhibit include The WunderCabinet: The Curious Worlds of Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen, The Canned Think, and Le trésor du fidèle. The WunderCabinet is a charming contemporary cabinet of curiosities filled with odd bits and pieces alongside a journal inside the wooden box. The Canned Think, created by Tyrrell Mendis, Joel Matthews, and Jon Matthews, is a cute selection of “poemtry” inside a can. Finally, Le trésor du fidèle is a small book published some time in the 1800s. It lives in a plain little black box, and with a beautifully sculpted ivory cover with engraved initials, it sits in delightful contrast to one of the biggest books in the exhibit, a large music chant manuscript with wonderfully obnoxious metal bosses and clasps.

When nearly all the books on the shelves were beautiful, it was easy to pick out the ones with gold lettering and decorations for display. These books formed our cases that highlighted the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late nineteenth century, when there was an emphasis on aesthetics and the fine arts, which was a response of sorts to the industrial nature of mass-produced books. A major focus in this exhibition is also on the handmade quality of books ranging from medieval manuscripts to artists’ books. At times, it became difficult for me to fully appreciate the work and craftsmanship that went into artists’ books in particular when they looked like a machine had made them, and perhaps that’s the fascinating part about the book.

This exhibition was an exciting opportunity to judge and explore the books in RBSC on a largely superficial level. These books look great and we want you to see them.

The exhibition Judging a Book by Its Cover is free and open to the public at Rare Books and Special Collections through January 4, 2019. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

 

From upper left corner: Wood sample, “Effect of Fertilizer on Mature Trees,” (n.d), MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. (181-06); Penick and Co. Oils, 1957, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. (181-05); Keys to the first paper mill in B.C., ca. 1894, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. (180-22).

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: 150 Years of Forestry in British Columbia.

Curated by Ashlynn Prasad, MAS/MLIS Candidate at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of RBSC Archivist Krisztina Laszlo, 150 Years of Forestry in British Columbia takes a broad view of the forestry industry in British Columbia from 1861 to 2016. Items on display are drawn from key RBSC collections with strong ties to forestry and illustrate the evolution of a cornerstone industry in B.C.

The exhibition is being staged in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). Dr. Irving K. Barber, who as the principal donor gave $20 million towards the building’s development and construction in 2012, was a leader within B.C.’s forestry industry for much of his career. A second exhibition, A Place of Learning: The Evolution of the Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, explores the construction and physical evolution of the 1925 Library building and its transition to the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Curated by Archivist Erwin Wodarczak, all items featured in the exhibition come from the collections of the University Archives, which serves to identify, preserve and showcase the University’s permanently valuable records. 

150 Years of Forestry in British Columbia will be on display at Rare Books and Special Collections through November 16, 2018. The RBSC reading room is open 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. A Place of Learning: The Evolution of the Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is on display on level 2 (main foyer) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre through October 31, 2018.

Shakespeare’s first folio. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition:And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors.

Blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm. These four humors were once thought to shape a person’s mental and physical health, behavior and even personality. Initially borrowed from Ancient Greek thinkers like Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen, the theory of the four humors was so ingrained into the common wisdom of Shakespeare’s time that references to melancholic displays and choleric outbursts fill his most popular plays. The interplay between medical theory and theatrical language forms the basis of a fascinating exhibition, created by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, now at UBC Library.

The traveling exhibition, “And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors, has been supplemented with additional materials from UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, exploring topics including Shakespearean theatre in British Columbia and Shakespeare in children’s literature. More information about the National Library of Medicine display and the materials at RBSC is available through the UBC Library website.

Many thanks to co-curators of the UBC Library collections materials Patricia Badir, Professor of English, Anthony Dawson, Professor Emeritus of English, and Department of English students Karol Pasciano (MA), Aiden Tait (BA Hons.), and Ana Maria Fernandez Grandizo (BA Hons.). Thank you also to John Christopoulos, Assistant Professor of History, for lending his subject matter expertise. UBC Library co-curators for the exhibition included Charlotte Beck, Chelsea Shriver, and Helen Brown.

The panels on loan from the National Library of Medicine will be on display at Woodward Library through July 14 and the books on display at Rare Books and Special Collections will be available through August 3, 2018. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For Woodward Library’s hours, check their website. 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.

“Mechanical books should look like ordinary books. Their success is to be measured by the ingenuity with which their bookish format conceals unbookish characteristics.” – Iona and Peter Opie

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: Once Upon a Pop-up!

The exhibition, curated by UBC Master of Library and Information Studies candidates Lucas Hill, Brooklyn Kemp, Sarah Khan, and Meaghan Smith, under the supervision of Professor Kathie Shoemaker, have curated a selection of pop-up books from RBSC’s children’s literature collection, ranging from the horror-filled to the historical, from the architectural to Alice in Wonderland.

Pop-up books and their movable book cousins have challenged our assumptions about books and reading for more than 700 years. They push the limits of the “book” and reinterpret the form. Pop-up books combine linear storytelling with aspects of visual spectacle and surprise to bring delight and add new facets to a narrative. Book becomes game. These pop-ups raise the question: how do you “read” something in three dimensions?

Not just for children anymore, pop-up books require exemplary teamwork from experts across the field; authors, illustrators, paper engineers, publishers, designers, and the often dozens of people responsible for putting the pop-up book together, must work as a team to perfect the form. Paper engineering is an art that requires many hands.

Once Upon a Pop-up is on display on level 1 (RBSC reading room) and level 2 (main foyer) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from April 11 through May 31, 2018. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and 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 you will admire the ingenuity and grandeur of the unassuming pop-up book in all of its papery glory as much as we do!

What's Old is New Again PosterRare Books and Special Collections is delighted to present What’s Old Is New Again: An Exhibition of RBSC Acquisition Highlights for 2017.

2017 was an exciting year as RBSC worked diligently to enhance its collections to meet the present needs of UBC faculty and students, to anticipate future areas of research and scholarship, and to build on its legacy of past collecting.

What’s Old Is New Again features a small selection of highlights from RBSC’s 2017 acquisitions, including items dating from the 17th century to 2017, with geographical coverage from Japan to Vancouver. With materials running the gamut from books and diaries to ephemera and photographs, the exhibition reflects the breadth and variety of RBSC’s collections. Make sure to keep an eye out for the “RBSC favourites,” top picks of RBSC’s archivists, librarians, staff, and students especially selected from among many 2017 acquisitions.

What’s Old Is New Again is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the second and first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre until February 13, 2018. 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.

What's Old is New Again PosterRare Books and Special Collections is delighted to present What’s Old Is New Again: An Exhibition of RBSC Acquisition Highlights for 2017.

2017 was an exciting year as RBSC worked diligently to enhance its collections to meet the present needs of UBC faculty and students, to anticipate future areas of research and scholarship, and to build on its legacy of past collecting.

What’s Old Is New Again features a small selection of highlights from RBSC’s 2017 acquisitions, including items dating from the 17th century to 2017, with geographical coverage from Japan to Vancouver. With materials running the gamut from books and diaries to ephemera and photographs, the exhibition reflects the breadth and variety of RBSC’s collections. Make sure to keep an eye out for the “RBSC favourites,” top picks of RBSC’s archivists, librarians, staff, and students especially selected from among many 2017 acquisitions.

What’s Old Is New Again is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the second and first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre until February 13, 2018. 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.

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