Portrait of Chinese men and women, Vancouver. Between 1900- 1909. Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, UBC Library.

BC Library’s Chung Collection has been added to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register in recognition of its historical value.

Showcasing the most significant documents of our heritage, UNESCO’s Memory of the World program is an international initiative launched to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity against collective amnesia, neglect, the ravages of time and climatic conditions, and wilful and deliberate destruction. It calls for the preservation of valuable archival holdings, library collections and private individual compendia all over the world for posterity, the reconstitution of dispersed or displaced documentary heritage, and the increased accessibility to and dissemination of these items. The Canada Memory of the World Register highlights exceptional works and documents that reflect the wealth and diversity of Canada’s documentary heritage.

In being added to the Canadian register, the Chung Collection joins a short list of Canadian works and documentary collections including the Canadian Pacific Railway Company Fonds, The Vancouver Island Treaties and Witnesses of Founding Cultures: Early Books in Aboriginal Languages (1556-1900).

About the collection

The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection was donated to UBC Library by the Chung Family in 1999. The family added a second significant donation to the collection in 2014 and has continued to donate items over the years. Inspired to start collecting by an illustrated poster of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company’s steamship R.M.S. Empress of Asia in his father’s tailor shop in Victoria, Dr. Wallace B. Chung amassed more than 25,000 items over sixty years. The collection consists of textual records, maps, artefacts, books and other materials and focuses on three main themes: early British Columbia history and exploration, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and early immigration and settlement, with a particular focus on the Chinese experience.

“UBC Library is proud to be the home of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection and I am thrilled to see it receive this well-deserved national recognition,” says Susan E. Parker, University Librarian, “This collection is stewarded by the library and actively engaged with by our faculty, students, and staff and by the broader community. We are honoured that Dr. Chung has entrusted UBC Library to ensure this history is preserved and available for research and learning.”

“One of our core mandates at Rare Books and Special Collections is to collect and preserve materials that directly relate to the history of British Columbia and its place in the world,” says Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist.  “The Chung Collection is critical in understanding this history; it documents a story that is relevant not only to the people of Canada, but is of global importance.  For example, in preserving materials related to the Chinese diaspora and their struggles and triumphs in the New World, they teach us all lessons of resilience and triumph in the face of adversity.”    

The Chung Collection is housed in Rare Book and Special Collections in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC Library and is available to scholars and members of the public in British Columbia and beyond. Weekly drop-in tours are held every Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Read the announcement from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

Learn more about the Chung Collection.

UBC Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) has acquired the personal archive of Hanne Wassermann Walker (1893-1985), a significant figure of pre-WWII Viennese cultural and social life. Her remarkable story has been relatively unknown until now.

Born in Vienna to a Jewish family, Hanne Wassermann Walker left Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938. After living briefly in England, and then in New York, she went on to emigrate to Canada, taking up residence in Vancouver and later North Vancouver with her second husband, George Dickson Walker. She became a resident of British Columbia in 1943.

A well-known figure of Viennese society during the 1920s and 1930s, Wassermann Walker was at the forefront of the Weimar-era body culture movement. Her school of gymnastics and health manuals for women brought her international fame and recognition from reputed medical institutions and clinical specialists. Among her correspondents, friends and students were film stars, artists and members of the European aristocracy, including the Rothschild family, Lady Louis Mountbatten, Helen of Greece and Denmark and actress and wireless communications pioneer Hedy Lamarr.

UBC Library offered right of first refusal

In 1985, Hanne died without heirs, and items from her estate were acquired by a local collector. In the Fall of 2018, Katherine Kalsbeek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, and Krisztina Laszlo, RBSC Archivist were offered first refusal on the archive by a local bookseller. With the support of faculty from many UBC departments, Kalsbeek and Laszlo worked to identify the funds required to ensure that the archive would stay in British Columbia. “The response from both UBC and the larger community has been exceptional,” says Kalsbeek, “From numerous individual donors, to foundations, to key departments here at the university, there has been overwhelming support for our effort to ensure that Hanne’s archive stays in British Columbia.” The library saw generous support from the Azrieli Foundation, Reesa Greenberg and the Clematis Foundation, Lorne Greenberg and the Lorne Greenberg Family Partnership, Anthony von Mandl of Mission Hill Family Estate winery, the UBC President’s Office, the Faculty of Arts, the School of Kinesiology, and the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES).

Photo of Hanne Wassermann Walker taken by Trude Fleischmann

Hanne Wassermann Walker as photographed by Trude Fleischmann.

The archive itself is extensive, including an impressive number of documents, correspondence, print media coverage, photographs and artifacts that span over a century.

One of the highlights is the collection of documents and photographs tracing Wassermann Walker’s life-long friendship with Trude Fleischmann, ranked among the most significant portrait-photographers of the 20th century. Not unlike Wassermann herself, Fleischmann was forced to leave Vienna during the war, to relaunch her career on the North American continent. The archive contains hundreds of photographs taken by Fleischmann during the height of Wassermann Walker’s successful career in Vienna.

A large part of the archive documents Wasserman Walker’s struggle to obtain compensation for the loss of her family’s property seized by the Nazis. The archive contains letters from lawyer Gustav Rinesch, informing Hanne of the details of her parent’s estate and his work on her and her sister’s behalf with the government of Austria. 

Acquisition keeps collection together

The sheer size and breadth of the archive presents countless unique opportunities for research, teaching and learning in a number of fields from Holocaust studies, and Women’s Studies, to Kinesiology and Fine Art. Krisztina Laszlo, RBSC Archivist, notes that the acquisition of this archive “is an example of RBSC’s effort to increase our documentation of women’s role in history.  Representation of women, and their successes in the life of this province, and the larger world, needs to be celebrated, preserved and recognized.”

Postcards books and photos from the HanneWassermann Walker archive

Personal correspondence from the archive.

Dr. Patricia Vertinsky, Professor in UBC’s School of Kinesiology is particularly interested in parts of the collection that involve Wasserman-Walker’s exercise system, “What interests us in Kinesiology is exploring the provenance of these exercise systems and then understanding the way in which Hanne brought them to Vancouver. She spent forty years teaching them, first in Vienna and later in Vancouver in people’s basements and community centres – two completely different worlds.”

Faculty looking through the archive

Patricia Vertinsky, Ilinca Iuraşcu, Kyle Frackman and Katherine Kalsbeek pore over the archive.

Dr. Ilinca Iuraşcu, Assistant Professor of German at UBC is excited about how the archive will enable young people to understand the importance of women’s history as lived history. “The story that all these material testimonies tell is not merely one about reconstituting a unique biography and exceptional career. This is also a lesson about living cultural networks and building bridges among spaces and histories: Vienna and Vancouver; communities of health and aesthetic practitioners – and the sheer force of connecting the dots between them.”  

Perhaps most heartening is that the Library’s acquisition of the full archive prevents the archive from being broken up, divided and sold, which would have meant that the fulsome picture it presents of Wassermann Walker’s life and work would be lost forever.

Learn more about the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

Dr. Daniel Marshall has won the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia for his book Claiming the land: British Columbia and the making of a new El Dorado. The $2,500 prize, given by UBC Library and the Pacific BookWorld News Society, will be awarded at UBC’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in April.

Published by Rondsale Press, Marshall’s book is a carefully researched narrative of the 1858 Fraser River Valley gold rush that enriches our understanding of that pivotal period in British Columbia and the geopolitical forces at play.

“As I prospected my way down the Pacific Slope through American archival collections, following the trail of the ’58ers back to California, a significant piece of the gold rush puzzle began to emerge that was largely lost to time—an epic telling of violence, native-newcomer conflict, and war with Indigenous peoples on either side of the 49th parallel,” says Dr. Marshall. “The very roots of Indigenous rights and unrest current in the province today can be traced to the 1858 gold rush and the making of a new El Dorado.”

“Dr. Marshall’s book provides a new, richly informative look at a chaotic period in British Columbia’s history,” says Susan E. Parker, UBC’s University Librarian. “We are thrilled to be able to highlight, once again, the work of an author and academic from British Columbia.”

Dr. Daniel Marshall is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Victoria. He is also the author of Those Who Fell from the Sky: A History of the Cowichan Peoples, which received a BC2000 Millennium Award. Dr. Marshall serves as a Special Advisor on gold rushes to the Royal BC Museum.

Shortlisted titles for the prize are:

Incorporating Culture:  how Indigenous People are Reshaping the Northwest Coast Art Industry,  Solen Roth (UBC Press).

Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How: the Real Story of West Coast Rum Running, Rick James (Harbour Publishing).

About the Prize

The Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Book on British Columbia, sponsored by UBC Library and the Pacific BookWorld News Society, recognizes the best scholarly book published by a Canadian author on a B.C. subject. The book prize was established in memory of Basil Stuart-Stubbs, a bibliophile, scholar and librarian who passed away in 2012. Stuart-Stubbs’s many accomplishments included serving as the University Librarian at UBC Library and as the Director of UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. Stuart-Stubbs had a leadership role in many national and regional library and publishing activities. During his exceptional career, he took particular interest in the production and distribution of Canadian books and was associated with several initiatives beneficial to authors and their readers, and to Canadian publishing.

Photos of letter, postcard and photos

From upper left corner: photo of Yosh Nakamura (July 1942); postcard from Setsuko Fuji to Joan Gillis (May 17, 1943); letter from Yosh Nakamura to Joan Gillis (July 25 1942); photo of young woman, Setsuko Fuji; and photo of Yosh Nakamura, Jackie Takahashi and friend on a tractor.

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections has acquired an extraordinary collection of letters that provide unique insight into the devastating effects of the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

The collection of 147 letters, written to donor Joan Gillis in 1942 by a group of young Japanese Canadians she met while attending Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in Surrey, talk of daily life and the challenges faced by these young people after being ordered out of the “Security Zone” on the B.C. coast, and are filled with frequent references to acute homesickness and sadness at being removed from their homes. The writers range in age from 13 to 18. Some were very close friends with Gillis, while others were casual acquaintances.

Laura Ishiguro, an historian of Canada and the British Empire at UBC, said the letters will be an important teaching tool at UBC, contributing to new and better interpretations in classroom discussions about the internment of Japanese Canadians.

“Existing narratives around the internment tend to focus on Japanese Canadian people in isolation from others, or on the ideas and actions of major government figures, with the Japanese Canadian community rendered largely faceless victims of tragedy,” said Ishiguro. “With these letters, my students and I could explore a different war-time history from the perspective of young people.”

Henry Yu, a professor in the UBC history department, said the letters provide a window into the lives of school children going through a traumatic time in B.C.’s history.

“One of the most effective ways for people to understand the devastating effects of the forcible removal of over approximately 23,000 Japanese Canadians in 1942 and their subsequent exile through the sale of their property and possessions is not in the abstract numbers that measure their monetary loss or the numbers of people dispossessed and exiled, but in the rare and raw moments when we can see the effects through the eyes of those who suffered them,” said Yu. “Letters such as those sent to Ms. Gillis from school friends are so powerful precisely because of the authentic reality that they express of school children’s experience of the trauma, shared with a trusted friend.”

Letter from Masao Ujiye to Joan Gillis, 9 October 1943.

UBC Library is pleased to be able to add this unique acquisition to its robust Japanese Canadian Research collection that includes materials on business and commerce, mining, farming, fishing, forestry, religious activities, education, community, reminiscences and biographies in addition to materials on the Japanese Canadian evacuation.

“These letters provide a unique and important perspective on the Japanese-Canadian internment from the voices of youth,” said Krisztina Laszlo, archivist at Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library. “We’re thrilled that the letters are coming to RBSC and that UBC faculty, students and the community will be able to use them for research and teaching.  It’s a wonderful resource and we’re proud to act as their caretaker.”

The letters, which make up approximately 300-350 pages, can be viewed in person by visiting Rare Book and Special Collections or by booking a tour.

 

UBC Library has now completed its Harry Potter collection of original first editions with the recent acquisition of a U.K. first edition, first printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The library’s Rare Books and Special Collections department has been building a collection of first edition Harry Potter books since spring 2015 as part of the Arkley Collection of Early Historical Children’s Literature, which is focused on popular works.

“As the most popular children’s literature series in several generations, with global impact equaling Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Harry Potter is an important series in the children’s literature canon,” says Chelsea Shriver, UBC Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian.

Although the first Harry Potter book was published just over 20 years ago, the U.K. first edition, first printing is rare and difficult to obtain. The original print run was only 500 copies, 300 of which went directly into libraries and were never intended for sale. The latest book in the collection was purchased with money from a number of library collections funds including endowments and donations from a 2017 crowdfunding campaign.

“We are proud to join the ranks of institutions such as Princeton, Yale, the British Library, and Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries in bringing this very scarce book to UBC,” says Katherine Kalsbeek Head of Rare Books and Special Collections. “Collecting and preserving the Harry Potter series will ensure that scarce first and special editions of these works can be properly cared for and made accessible for future generations.”

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections offers weekly drop-in tours every Wednesday, for students, faculty, and the general public to come in and see the collections in person.

UBC Library Communications team behind the 2016 Open Access Awareness campaign. Designer Jasmine Devonshire, Photographer and Videographer Clare Yow, Director Becky Potvin and Strategist Michelle Blackwell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UBC Library is the first academic library to be selected as the Gold winner for the 2017 CPRS Digital Communications campaign of the year for their Open Access Awareness campaign.

The campus-wide campaign, that launched in the Fall of 2016 aimed to foster awareness and enhance student understanding around the Open Access movement and the open resources available through the Library. The campaign resulted in a significant increase in web traffic to the Library’s Open Access resources, major gains in year-over-year social media engagement and a successful launch event.

“We spent a lot of time understanding our student audience and determining the best ways to connect them with tools they need at a critical point in their academic careers,” said Michelle Blackwell Communications & Marketing strategist. “It is very gratifying to see that we made an impact.”

Celebrated annually, the CPRS Awards showcase Canada’s best public relations and communications projects and campaigns and was hosted in Kelowna, B.C.

“Thanks to CPRS for this recognition,” said Becky Potvin, Director of Communications for UBC Library, “the campaign was executed by a four-person team on a shoestring budget and was created in collaboration with our librarians and colleagues at the Centre for Teaching and Learning. It was successful in helping to raise the library’s profile and connect students with important research tools. We are very proud.”

Open Access Week 2016

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

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

Spam prevention powered by Akismet