From “Princess Belle Étoile” (PZ6 1874 C736)

Happy Friday! Just in time for weekend, we have some new fairy tales to share.

Even though the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room is currently closed, we’re excited to share through our blog the delightful results of a student assignment undertaken during the winter 2020 term for the English course “The Victorian Fairy Tale: Text and Image.”

For this assignment, Professor Pamela Dalziel asked her students to “choose five illustrated Victorian fairy tales available in Rare Books and Special Collections that you would like to have in your personal collection.” Some of Professor Dalziel’s students were kind enough to share their final selections with not only the team at RBSC, but also with the public through our blog.

From “The Selfish Giant” (PR10.R4 W5 1888 H3)

So far we have thirteen assignments that students have been willing to share, some anonymously and some with author credit. I’ll post links to the final assignments a few at a time over the coming weeks. Be sure to read all of the fairy tale assignments kindly shared by Professor Dalziel’s students.

We hope you enjoy these fairy tale selections and will perhaps be inspired to stop by RBSC to see some of the books for yourself once the RBSC reading room has reopened.

Five fairy tale selections, part IV:

 

 

From “The Wise Princess” (PZ7.D3775 Ne)

I hope everyone is taking care and staying well as we welcome April! Even though the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room is currently closed, we’re excited to share through our blog the delightful results of a student assignment undertaken during the winter 2020 term for the English course “The Victorian Fairy Tale: Text and Image.”

For this assignment, Professor Pamela Dalziel asked her students to “choose five illustrated Victorian fairy tales available in Rare Books and Special Collections that you would like to have in your personal collection.” Some of Professor Dalziel’s students were kind enough to share their final selections with not only the team at RBSC, but also with the public through our blog.

So far we have nine assignments that students have been willing to share, some anonymously and some with author credit. I’ll post links to the final assignments a few at a time over the coming weeks. Be sure to read all of the fairy tale assignments kindly shared by Professor Dalziel’s students.

“Little Poems for Little People” (PZ6 1850z B872)

We hope you enjoy these fairy tale selections and will perhaps be inspired to stop by RBSC to see some of the books for yourself once the RBSC reading room has reopened.

Five fairy tale selections, part III:

From “In Powder and Crinoline” (PZ7.3.A1 Q85 In 1913)

I hope you are all staying safe and well! Even though the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room is currently closed, we’re excited to share through our blog the delightful results of a student assignment undertaken during the winter 2020 term for the English course “The Victorian Fairy Tale: Text and Image.”

For this assignment, Professor Pamela Dalziel asked her students to “choose five illustrated Victorian fairy tales available in Rare Books and Special Collections that you would like to have in your personal collection.” Some of Professor Dalziel’s students were kind enough to share their final selections with not only the team at RBSC, but also with the public through our blog.

From “The Little Witch of the Plain” (PZ6 1897 .S537)

So far we have nine assignments that students have been willing to share, some anonymously and some with author credit. I’ll post links to the final assignments a few at a time over the coming weeks. Be sure to read all of the fairy tale assignments kindly shared by Professor Dalziel’s students.

We hope you enjoy these fairy tale selections and will perhaps be inspired to stop by RBSC to see some of the books for yourself once the RBSC reading room has reopened.

Five fairy tale selections, part II:

 

From “The Exceptional Tadpole” (PZ6 1897 .S537)

I hope you are all staying healthy and well today! While the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room is closed, we will unfortunately not be able to host some of the classes that we had scheduled to visit in the last few weeks of the winter 2020 term. We love hosting classes, as it allows us to introduce that many more students to our amazing collections. And it’s wonderful to see the interesting materials, some of which are new even to us, that professors select for the classes. But we especially love to see the results of the students’ work with our collections and the incredible insights they bring to their topics. Since we’re not open physically, we’re very happy to share some of this great student work with you virtually!

One of the assignments for Professor Pamela Dalziel’s winter 2020 course, “The Victorian Fairy Tale: Text and Image,” was a delightful project asking students to “choose five illustrated Victorian fairy tales available in Rare Books and Special Collections that you would like to have in your personal collection.” Some of Professor Dalziel’s students were kind enough to share their final selections with not only the team at RBSC, but also with the public through our blog.

From “The Old Woman who Lost her Dumpling” (PZ6 1898 H427)

So far we have seven assignments that students have been willing to share, some anonymously and some with author credit. I’ll post links to the final assignments a few at a time throughout the week. We hope you enjoy them and will perhaps be inspired to stop by RBSC to see some of these books for yourself once the RBSC reading room has reopened.

Five fairy tale selections, part I:

 

 

With the closure of UBC Library due to the quickly evolving situation with COVID-19, we apologize that this wonderful exhibition will not be open to the public in the coming weeks. Please enjoy these photos of the exhibition, which were taken by the talented student curators. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here.


Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: The Wild Ride: In and Out of Years and Over a Century of Picturebooks.

Many thanks to guest bloggers Logaine Navasques, Maureen Duteau, Jacqueline Noel, and Jordyn Zirk for contributing the below post! Logaine and Maureen, graduate students in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program, and Jacqueline and Jordyn, graduate students at the UBC School of Information, curated this magical new exhibition under the supervision of Dr. Kathryn Shoemaker, Adjunct Professor with the UBC School of Information.

The Wild Ride: In and Out of Years and Over a Century of Picturebooks is a chronological look at the evolution of the picturebook, one of the important literary art forms to emerge from the 20th Century. The exhibit features ground breaking, innovative books such as Millions of Cats, Madeline, Where the Wild Things Are,  The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I Want My Hat Back and other brilliant picturebooks responsible for forging a literary art form that reflects the culture of its time and is becoming a vital form in promoting visual and print literacy for all ages.  

The literary picturebook is a new literary art form that emerges in the 20th century, evolving from the  illustrated children’s book. It evolves concurrently with two other relatively new visual sequential narrative forms, comic/graphic novels and animated films. The three forms influence each other as they develop principally because so many of the creators worked in all three forms. This exhibit highlights key books in this evolution revealing how each changed the nature and content of the picturebook form.

The Wild Ride: In and Out of Years and Over a Century of Picturebooks is on display from March 4 through May 30, 2020. 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.

 

 

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is excited to announce a new public exhibition in the Chung Collection exhibition room, “Fashioning the Landscape: Women’s Interwar Sportswear at the Canadian Pacific Railway Resorts.” The exhibition has been guest curated by Klahanie Research.

Interwar CPR brochures courted elite female consumers by advertising resorts as more gender neutral spaces than day-to-day life. Images of progressive women’s sportswear, which borrowed from men’s fashion, were used to rationalize and naturalize the rugged activities of the recreational holiday landscape. Distant, isolated, outdoor locations helped to relax social codes that would have been more vigorously enforced in more formal, populated urban centres. With the removal of city clothes, women symbolically shed workplace and household inequalities and seized pleasure with an outfit for every activity. From arrival to an evening of glamour, this exhibit explores the sportswear of: golf, hiking, skiing, canoeing, swimming, and riding, worn across CPR resorts.

“Fashioning the Landscape: Women’s Interwar Sportswear at the Canadian Pacific Railway Resorts,” which is free and open to the public, will be on display in the exhibition room of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection, in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room. 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 James Goldie for contributing the below post! James is a graduate student at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and is currently working as a student archivist with Rare Books and Special Collections.

“They also serve:” A. Alexis Alvey and the navy’s first female service members

Unit Officer A. Alexis Alvey of the W.R.C.N.S.

Her mother calls her “the Canadian lieutenant” and the girls in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service call her “Chiefie”…

So begins a 1943 Royal Canadian Navy press release announcing the promotion of Lieutenant Amelia Alexis Alvey to Unit Officer at H.M.C.S. Stadacona, a rank equivalent to that of an army captain. This new position – granted just a year after she first enlisted – meant Alvey was in charge of more than 1,100 Halifax-based service members from the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS), known as Wrens. More than a third of all Wrens were stationed at H.M.C.S. Stadacona in Halifax.

Alvey (who went by A. Alexis Alvey) was born November 22, 1903 in Seattle, Washington. After completing her undergraduate studies in New York, Alvey studied science at McMaster University (1932-1933) and went on to work as chief photographic technician at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. It was during this period she gained Canadian citizenship. After the outbreak of World War II, Alvey helped organize the businesswomen’s company of the Toronto Red Cross Transport Corps and commanded it for two years. She had also served as lecturer to the entire Transport Corps for Military Law, Map Reading, and Military and Naval Insignia.

Recruitment advertisements ran in magazines throughout Canada from 1942-1944, reminding readers that women could now serve in the navy as part of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service.

Men Can’t Do It Alone

In 1942, top brass in the Canadian navy realized they could not solely rely on men in their fight against Hitler’s forces. They contacted the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in London requesting assistance in the formation of a Canadian counterpart. “Please send us a Mother Wren,” they said, according to Alvey. Those “mother wrens” were Joan Carpenter and Dorothy Isherwood, who came to Canada and established the WRCNS later that year. Alvey was among the first to enlist.

Until then, the Canadian navy had been an all-male service. As one member wrote in 1943: until the establishment of the WRCNS, “ships and shore establishments alike were manned by men, and knitting seamen’s stockings, or collecting magazines, games and special parcels for ships’ crews at sea was about the limit of any contribution made by women.”

Women were not permitted to serve in combat roles, however, they took over the navy’s on-land operations, which freed up male service members to join battles at sea. The Wrens worked as signallers, wireless-telegraphers, writers, information and intelligence workers, postal clerks, research assistants, cooks, stewards, wardroom attendants, laundry assistants, and more.

Rising Through The Ranks

A. Alexis Alvey (far right) with fellow “Wrens” at the W.R.C.N.S. training centre in Galt, Ontario.

In her first year with the WRCNS Alvey was appointed acting Chief Petty Officer Master-at-Arms. Her other assignments included duty as Deputy Unit Officer H.M.C.S. Bytown (Ottawa), duty with the Commanding Officer Pacific Coast H.M.C.S. Burrard (Vancouver), assignment as Unit Officer, Lieutenant H.M.C.S. Bytown, and finally Unit Officer to H.M.C.S. Stadacona (Halifax). She was responsible for training and running practice drills, developing policies, and meeting with officers from ships that arrived in Halifax.

She served with the WRCNS from August 1942 to January 1945.

The A. Alexis Alvey Fonds

After the war, Alvey returned to her home city of Seattle where she worked as a librarian at the University of Washington. However, she never forgot her time with the WRCNS. For the rest of her life, Alvey organized and attended Wrens reunions, she wrote articles and histories about the service, and collected all manner of documents, memorabilia, and ephemera related to the “The Women’s Navy” as it was sometimes called.

The Royal Canadian Navy’s certificates of service were designed with only male service members in mind.

These records along with Alvey’s personal papers and an extensive collection of photographs are housed at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections and are available for research.

The materials that make up the A. Alexis Alvey fonds express the profound sense of pride shared by Alvey and her fellow Wrens with respect to their years of military service. An essay commemorating the WRCNS silver anniversary by Isabelle NcNair (née Archer) captures this pride. In it, a grandmother tells her granddaughter the story of the Wrens. “But Grannie, I thought Grandad won the war,” asks the child.  “No dear,” responds her elder, “I did.”

Many thanks to guest blogger Alvionne Gardner-Harrison for contributing the below post! Alvionne is a graduate student at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and is currently working with UBC Library’s W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine Collection as a professional experience project.

An Ocean of Knowledge, a Sea of Books: The Ocean and its Inhabitants in the W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine Collection

For Science Literacy Week 2019, one of the exhibits shared by Rare Books and Special Collections focused on materials from the W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine collection. With exhibit items ranging from sea otters on book-bindings to hand-painted seaweed fronds, and from the earliest studies in microscopy to guides for hobbyist naturalists, “An Ocean of Knowledge, a Sea of Books” gives some historical background to the ocean science highlighted in this year’s Science Literacy Week theme.

The exhibit of European scientific literature and illustration from the 17th-19th century explores representations of oceanic life and the techniques and technologies that were used to gather, organize, and distribute information about oceanic organisms. For much of the history of science that the W.C. Gibson collection documents, manuscripts and printed books were the main format in which new scientific observations and ideas were disseminated. The physical qualities of organisms such as fish, molluscs, and sea mammals that were encountered on colonial scientific expeditions, could best be preserved through detailed illustrations that were then reproduced in copperplate and sometimes coloured by hand. These striking images, organized according to new taxonomic systems like that of Linnaeus, were distributed in books such as those in this exhibit. The books included in the exhibit’s cases, some of which are featured below, highlight both ocean science and scientific literacy prior to the 20th century.

Microscopy, Taxonomy, and Colonial Voyages

Significant advances in technology, both intellectual and material, were required for European scientists to systematically study oceanic organisms, as was the expansion of colonial voyages. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hooke contributed to the nascent biological sciences through their development of microscopes and their demonstration of how they could be used to study microscopic organisms and the structures within larger organisms.

  • Hooke, Robert. Micrographia (1665). [QH271 .H79 1665]
  • Leeuwenhoek, Antoni van. Vervolg der brieven (1704). [QH41 .L4393]
  • Mantell, Gideon Algernon. Thoughts on animalcules: or, A glimpse of the invisible world revealed by the microscope (1846). [QL365 .M35 1846]

Snow, In forbidden seas. [F5817.S3 S6].

Taxonomic systems enabled naturalists to organise newly discovered (and previously known) life forms into meaningful categories and to better understand them. Encountering unfamiliar varieties of oceanic animals and plants required journeying abroad. This usually took place in the context of voyages on merchant ships; “discovery” was funded and enabled by the processes of capitalism and colonialism.

  • Pennant, Thomas. Arctic Zoology, II (1784). [QL105 .P4]
  • Linné, Carl von. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines (1767). [QH43 .S9 1767]

The Material Science Book

The physical descriptions of organisms that were encountered on both local and colonial scientific expeditions could be communicated most effectively through detailed illustrations. These images were then reproduced as prints which were made from copperplate engravings, and which could be easily shared throughout the scientific community. In the 19th century, these illustrations were also widely printed in less expensive—but often beautifully bound—books for the general public, who enthusiastically engaged in early popular science.

  • Gosse, Philip Henry. A history of the British sea-anemones and corals: with coloured figures of the species and principal varieties (1860). [QL377.C7 G67 1860]
  • Adams, Henry Gardiner. Beautiful shells: their nature, structure, and uses familiarly explained, with directions for collection, cleaning, and arranging them in the cabinet and descriptions of the most remarkable species (1871). [QL405 .A33 1871]
  • Recent polar voyages: a record of discovery and adventure from the search after Franklin to the British polar expedition, 1875-76 (1877). [G625 .R35]

Hamilton, The natural history of the amphibious carnivora. [QL737.P6 H2 1839]

Mechanized reproduction of images reduced costs, but some book buyers still chose to have illustrations hand-painted with striking colour on top of the printed images, such as the unusually large seaweed pictured in The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H. M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror.

  • Hooker, Joseph Dalton. The botany of the Antarctic voyage of H. M. discovery ships Erebus and Terror, in the years 1839-1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross (1844). [QK5 .E6 1844]

Inconceivable Ichthyology

This case featured examples of illustrations depicting fishes identified and illustrated during global voyages of exploration and organized according to the binomial nomenclature of Linnaeus.

  • Richardson, John. Ichthyology of the voyage of H.M.S. Erebus & Terror, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross (1844). [QL636 .R52]
  • Schomburgk, Robert Hermann. Natural history of the fishes of Guiana (1843). [QL632.A3 B8 1843]
  • Bennett, James William. A selection of rare and curious fishes found upon the coast of Ceylon: from drawings made in that island, and coloured from life, with letter-press descriptions (1851). [QL634.C3 B4 1851]
  • Fries, Bengt Fredrik. A History of Scandinavian Fishes, Vol. II (1893). [QL633.S22 F74 1893 v.2]

From “Sea Monsters” to Seals

In addition to an extensive selection of books on fishes, the Gibson collection includes scientific materials on aquatic plants, molluscs, seabirds, and sea mammals, among other groups of organisms recognized during the 19th century.

  • Sowerby, George Brettingham. Genera of recent and fossil shells (1820). [QL 404 S 68]

Dewhurst, The natural history of the order cetacea. [QL737.C4 D5 1834].

Of particular note are books containing illustrations of cetaceans, a group which includes whales, and of various types of seals. These sea mammals were not only of interest from a scientific perspective; increasing awareness of their physical properties and habits improved the effectiveness and efficiency of organized hunting. The object of this was to convert these animals’ bodies into fuel and luxury goods, an effort that was often too successful to be sustainable in the long term. Some sea mammal populations remain subject to conservation efforts today as a result of this hunting.

  • Dewhurst, Henry William. The natural history of the order cetacea, and the oceanic inhabitants of the Arctic regions (1834). [QL737.C4 D5 1834]
  • Hamilton, Robert. The natural history of the amphibious carnivora, including the walrus and seals, also of the herbivorous cetacea. [QL737.P6 H2 1839]
  • Snow, Henry James. In forbidden seas: Recollections of sea-otter hunting in the Kurils (1910). [F5817.S3 S6]

The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. 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).

The Chung Collection contains more than 25,000 rare and unique items (documents, books, maps, posters, paintings, photographs, silver, glass, ceramic ware and other artifacts), and selections from the collection are on display in Rare Books and Special Collections, organized to show some of the most compelling stories of Canada’s past. RBSC offers weekly tours of the Chung Collection exhibition space. The weekly drop-in tours are held every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Rare Books and Special Collections on Level 1 of UBC Library’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre!

If you are unable to make the drop-in tour, you are welcome to browse the exhibition anytime RBSC is open, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the general public, as well as the UBC community. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at 604 822-2521.

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. A 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.

 

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