One of the projects undertaken by our colleagues at UBC Rare Books and Special Collections during the COVID-19 shut-down of on-campus operations  has been to develop a new on-line guide to Chinese-Canadian materials in their collections.  One of the subjects being researched for this project was the identity of the first Chinese-Canadian graduate of UBC.

Racist attitudes towards Chinese immigrants were prevalent in Canada, especially in British Columbia, early in the 20th Century, as were discriminatory government policies.  The federal government’s head tax, charged to each Chinese person entering Canada, continued to be levied until 1923.  That year the Chinese Immigration Act abolished the tax while banning almost all immigration from China.  Nevertheless, members of the immigrant community continued to successfully improve their economic and social status despite the systemic racism they encountered in both public policy and in society at large.  As Chinese students were exempt from the immigration ban, one possible way for them to do so was to pursue higher education.

While there were no official barriers at UBC and Chinese students were presumably welcomed by the administration like any other students, the University was still part of British Columbia society and so still reflected that society’s attitudes.  White students, even if they otherwise did their best to treat a Chinese classmate as one of their own, would sometimes reveal the racist attitudes that they grew up with.  For example, terms like “Celestial” (a slang term for anybody of Chinese descent, China being nicknamed “The Celestial Kingdom”) or “Chinaman”, or worse, occasionally found their way onto the printed pages of the Annual (a.k.a. the Totem) yearbook and the Ubyssey student newspaper.

Graduation photo of Thomas Moore Whaun, Arts '27, from the 1927 Totem yearbook.The initial draft of the new RBSC on-line guide stated that Thomas Moore Whaun (left) was the first Chinese-Canadian graduate of UBC.  Born as Tung Mow Wong in China in 1893, he immigrated to Canada in 1907 – anglicizing his name in the process.  According to back issues of the UBC Calendar Whaun entered UBC in 1921.  He took two years off from his studies to work for the Canada Morning News newspaper, and eventually graduated as a member of the Arts 1927 class.  According the Totem for that year:

An ardent student of Economics and History, and an extensive reader, he loves to get to the bottom of all social problems. Thoroughly versed in Chinese affairs, Moore may often be found explaining the situation in the Far East to a group of interested students.

After reviewing the guide, UBC Chinese Language Librarian Jing Liu noted that several members of the Yip family had attended UBC earlier than 1921, and that there might have been other Chinese-Canadian students during that period.  RBSC Archivist Krisztina Laszlo then reached out to the University Archives for more information.

Searching digitized issues of both the Calendar and the yearbook did indeed reveal more information.  While the yearbooks listed the members of each graduating class, with accompanying biographical sketches and graduation photographs, in those days the Calendar listed all students registered each year, making it relatively easy to track students’ progress.  This is a case where referring to published (secondary) sources is as effective, and far easier, than going through original (primary) sources, such as old student records from the Registrar’s Office, which were not available for review anyway due to pandemic restrictions.

Photo of Quene Yip as member of 1925-26 UBC first soccer team, from 1926 Totem yearbookA search of the Calendar showed that several members of the Yip family did indeed attend UBC in those early days.  Kew Park Yip registered in the Faculty of Agriculture in 1918, then transferred to Arts in 1919.  Kew Ghim Yip registered in Arts in 1920.  Later that decade, Quene Kew Yip (right) and Kew Dock Yip entered Arts in 1925 and 1926, respectively.  Quene Yip joined the varsity soccer team and track team as a freshman, and had an immediate impact:

Quene Yip, the Chinese star, needs no introduction to Vancouver soccer lovers, but there may be some students who have not been privileged to see him perform yet. He is rated as one of the best centers on the Pacific Coast, and he well deserves that reputation. He is tricky, clean and fast. (Totem, 1926)

Other Chinese-Canadian students from that period include John Shih Chu, who joined Kew Park Yip in Agriculture in 1918; Thomas Chu, who registered in the Faculty of Arts in 1919; Violet Wong and Sow Poon Wong, both of whom entered Arts in 1922; and Shu-Yen Chen and Jung Bow Wing, listed in the Calendar as being from China, and who both entered Arts in 1916.  However, none of these individuals are listed as graduates from UBC, either in the Calendar or the yearbook.  We must assume that they either did not continue their studies, or transferred to other colleges or universities.  Whether this was due to racist attitudes that they encountered on campus, or other unrelated reasons, is unknown.

Going even further back in time, McGill University College of British Columbia, UBC’s immediate post-secondary predecessor, also attracted some Chinese-Canadians to register as students.  May Susan Ling Yipsang was registered as a first-year at McGill BC in 1914, but did not continue her studies.

Bertha Hosang registered in the Arts programme in 1910, and continued at McGill BC for two years.  She made enough of an impression for the 1911 Annual to use a quote from the classic Japanese story Genji Monogatara or The Tale of Genji to describe her as “So young and bright” (that it was incongruous, if not bizarre, to quote a Japanese work to describe a Chinese student, as if the two “Oriental” nationalities were interchangeable, didn’t seem to occur to the editors).  The 1913 Annual tells readers that Bertha went on to the Vancouver Business Institute, “where she was awarded a special prize for her accurate work”.

Photo of George Y.K. Shuen from 1913 McGill BC AnnualFinally, flipping the pages of UBC (pre)history back to 1909, the McGill BC Calendar notes that George Y.K. Shuen (right) registered in Arts that year; dropping out after one term, he returned and entered the Applied Science programme in 1911.  A recent immigrant from China, George Shuen’s residence is given as Vancouver in the McGill UBC Calendar, while in the 1913 Annual he’s described as having been “born somewhere in China or thereabouts”.  The patronizing tone of that editorial remark is exacerbated by later referring to him as a “Celestial”.

As McGill BC was only a two-year college, students would have had to go elsewhere to complete their degrees – we must assume that George Shuen did so.  However, it is safe to say that he was the first Chinese-Canadian to attend what would later become UBC.

Graduation photo of Esther Fong Dickman (Arts '26) from the 1926 Totem yearbookBut what about those Chinese-Canadian students who actually graduated from UBC?  The year before Thomas Whaun received his degree, Esther Evangeline Fong Dickman (left) was a member of Arts 1926.  Her bio in the Totem read, in part, “Mathematician, platonist, and erstwhile philosopher, Esther is the class enigma.  She divides the principal part of her time between the Students’ International Club, the Math. Club, the S.C.M., Phil. essays (of all things), Economics, and a few other cheerful divertissements. Favorite occupation, starting for the library. Esther plans to follow the teaching profession…”.  According to Lisa Smedman’s Immigrants: Stories of Vancouver’s people, She was the daughter of Reverend Fong Dickman (born Fong Tak Man), a Methodist minister and prominent member of the Vancouver Island Chinese community.  Esther Fong Dickman was the first Chinese-Canadian woman to graduate from UBC.

Graduation photo of Inglis Hosang (Arts '19) from the 1919 UBC Annual yearbookGoing back further, to 1919, the Annual lists Inglis Hosang (right), the brother of Bertha Hosang, as a graduate from the Faculty of Arts that year.  He was noted as being “… of no small scholarly attainments, and is an accomplished linguist. He won the oratorical contest (in his Sophomore year), and, as a Junior, helped to defeat Washington in the international debate”.  He returned to campus the following year to give a public lecture on “China and the Shantung Problem”.  According to the October 1945 Graduate Chronicle he went on to earn a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley (1931), after which he moved to England, was called to the English Bar in 1934, and became a barrister-at-law.  Hosang later lived in Hong Kong until the Japanese invasion of 1937 – he then moved back to Vancouver where he joined the law firm of A.J.B. Mellish.  He died in August 1945.

Neither the Annual nor the Calendar list any Chinese-Canadians by name as UBC graduates prior to 1919.  So the Archives can confirm that Inglis Hosang (Arts 1919) was the first Chinese-Canadian to graduate from this university.  He, George Y.K. Shuen, Esther Fong Dickman, and others from the McGill BC and early UBC days deserve recognition for their achievements against the prevailing attitudes of their era.  Other current and past Chinese-Canadian UBC students – indeed, all members of the UBC community – owe them a debt of gratitude for contributing to the evolution of a more diverse and welcoming institution.

(Thanks to Krisztina Laszlo and Jing Liu for their helpful comments on an early draft of this article)

[The following was written by Manfred Nissley, currently working for the UBC Archives in the Work Learn student employee programme]

A year after starting at the University of British Columbia as an archival science and library science student, a work-learn position opened up in University Archives. I applied for this position because I saw it as an excellent opportunity to put my archival science education into practice.

As an archival processing assistant for the University Archives, my job is to process accessions acquired according to University Records Management schedules or through donations from private parties.  I have discovered the clear differences between these types of accession. These differences mean there is often something unique to consider during processing.

Each project I have worked on has come with its own unique challenges. These challenges often depended on whether the creator of a fonds had a coherent records management system, a typical situation for university records, or if a private party simply tossed documents and ephemera in a box without a clear order of arrangement. While extra time must be spent with a disorganized fonds, the extra time needed allows the processor to become intimate with the materials. This intimacy would prove to be rather valuable for me during the CoVid-19 pandemic.

I have worked on so many projects that detailing all the projects I have completed is impossible. So, I am only going to highlight some of my favorites and state that my projects ranged from only a few centimetres to several metres. Some of these projects ended up providing opportunities to make personal connections with fonds creators. Others featured random situations that caused me to reflect on the importance of my work preserving records for family members and future researchers.

One such random situation came while I processed the School of Social Work fonds soon after I was hired. The records were from the late 1980’s to the early 2000’s and were rather convoluted. The fonds contained personal identifiable information (PII), deliberately preserved organic material, random coins, and student art that had been distorted due to severe off-gassing. Decisions had to be made throughout the processing about how to best preserve or destroy (especially the PII) these items or their storage containers. Halfway through the project, I became curious about the creators of the records, so I decided to begin my research for the administrative history section of the finding aid by looking into the histories of the administrators. When I researched Elaine Stoler, the department director from 1993-1998, I was surprised to learn she died a few days after I started processing the fonds!

Another favorite project featured several boxes of random ephemera and records belonging to multiple fonds. My task was to research these items, discover to which fonds they belonged, and process any unprocessed fonds. Some of my favorite finds included President Frank Wesbrook’s portfolio case (my all-time favorite find), a box of specimen slides of ocean dwelling microorganisms from the late 19th century, numerous medals and plaques, and the unprocessed accessions of Laurence Meredith and Valerie Haig-Brown. This project is a great reminder of the importance of documenting storage and recovery activities, especially during a crisis. Some of the ephemera had been temporarily misplaced in remote storage after a break-in at the archives many years ago. This misplacement resulted finding aids being updated over time to include notes about missing items.

The processing of the Meredith and Haig-Brown fonds was interesting as well. Both of these UBC Alumni and Ubyssey writers had storied careers. Valerie Haig-Brown, like her father Roderick, is an author and a particularly important conservation activist in the Pacific Northwest. She was a high-school track and field star who joined the Vancouver Olympic Club and was in consideration for the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Laurence Meredith, also a writer for the Ubyssey, was initially a high school teacher upon graduation. However, he soon moved to London and became a reporter for United Press International, eventually being made head of the Portugal office. He joined the Royal Air Force during WW2 and survived a parachuteless 1000 foot fall that did not end his military career. His fonds was sent around the world to UBC after his death in 1990.

Another project featured Florence McNeil, also a Ubyssey writer. Florence, an author, married Mr. McNeal, but she kept McNeil as her nom de plume. According to a memorial published in Trek magazine, McNeil was known for being evasive about her personal details. To ensure that McNeil can be properly identified in the future by archivists and researchers, statements about her husband’s name and nom de plume were included in the fonds’ Finding Aid.

One of my recent projects featured the fonds of Professor of Creative Writing Keith Maillard, who is also writer by profession. As a genealogist, this project was particularly interesting because the fonds includes a significant amount of family history and genealogical research. It also included a large amount of ephemera of Keith’s estranged father, which is discussed in Keith’s memoir Fatherless. I was curious about Keith’s genealogical story, his anti-war history, and the potential original order of some records. So, I reached out to him. He ended up sending me a signed copy of his memoir Fatherless, which is a must-read in my opinion.

I mentioned earlier that in some cases intimate knowledge of a fonds contents is a benefit. During CoVid-19, I was relegated to working from home. To keep me busy, I was given the main task of creating and editing Wikipedia pages dedicated to the people whose fonds on which I worked. The intimacy allowed me to use memorized information to recall what appropriate search strings and additional sources I needed to use to create and edit those pages according to Wikipedia standards.

One further note. It is rather interesting to me that many of the donated fonds I have processed were created by individuals who were editors and writers for the Ubyssey. As a genealogist, I find this relationship with the Ubyssey as almost a familial bond. It is my belief that that ties like this should be used by archives to promote the facility to those were part of that long standing culture. To that end, if you are reading this blog post and you were an editor or writer for the Ubyssey, please consider donating your papers to the University Archives. Your papers will be preserved and be in good company with other Ubyssey alumni. And don’t worry, if you moved to another nation, we can still take your papers – for example, Laurence Meredith’s archive travelled halfway around the world to get back to UBC.

[The following was written by Trang Dang, who worked in UBC Archives in the Work Learn student employee programme from September 2019 to April 2020]

Being a graduate student of the UBC School of Information with an interest in archival processing, the Work Learn position with the UBC Archives provided me significant practical experiences. It helped reinforce my knowledge of archival theory and records management.

Since September 2019, I worked on several fonds and collections, including both institutional and personal records. With little previous working experience in archives, the gradual complexity of the assigned projects certainly helped me to become more proficient with archival arrangement and description.

I found personal archives unique and interesting, but it was not short of challenges, especially when records arrived “loose” with no obvious order, making it difficult to construct the context behind each record.

I started off with the accrued accession of the Joy Coghill fonds, from a Vancouver-based theatre director and actress, and a UBC alumna. It contained personal correspondence, miscellaneous records, and photographs. As the accrual didn’t have an “original” order, and the fonds was already arranged, the challenge came from identifying the records and assigning them to the appropriate existing series.

The photographs, which came in loose with many letters and cards in a black plastic bag, also posed difficulties due to the lack of context. Only a few of the prints had written information on the back such as dates, names and events, whereas the 35mm negatives were very small, making it hard to determine the subject. After consulting with my supervisor, we decided to keep only photographs with Joy Coghill in them, both by herself and with other individuals. Most of those individuals were unidentifiable except for Coghill’s immediate family such as her mother, husband, and daughters. To help with identification of some of the events and people a relative of Coghill had agreed to come to the Archives, and she went through the photographs with us. The prints that she couldn’t identify were then scanned and emailed to Coghill’s daughter for further assistance. Unprocessed and unidentified materials were returned to Coghill’s family.

The small research collection on Sister Mary Gonzaga collected by Barbara Gibson was straight-forward in terms of arrangement and description. Nonetheless, it was fascinating to discover that Sister Gonzaga’s letters were being held at UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. These two collections are closely connected and complement each other.

Eventually, the projects became bigger in size and so did my tasks, including researching historical background, identifying the intellectual order, and compiling the description for the entire fonds. Processing the personal archives of Laurenda Daniells, the first University Archivist, was not too challenging as the majority of records relating to her professional life had already been arranged in series upon accrual. However, similar to the difficulties encountered in Joy Coghill fonds, more time was needed to process the materials recording her personal life.

On the other hand, institutional records also came with its own challenges. For the Division of Industrial Education fonds, I first needed to compile the file list of each box. As the fonds didn’t come in an “original” order, my job was to determine the series and then physically rearrange the records accordingly.

The most challenging project were the records of the Xwi7xwa Library, a sous-fonds of the Library fonds. The difficulty arose from the complicated history of the records creator. Before becoming the official branch of the UBC Library, it was part of the Indian Education Resources Centre, and then the First Nations House of Learning. As it was not easy to determine which records were created by the Xwi7xwa Library itself, we decided to keep all except for duplicate records, and those that contained personal information.

Overall, besides the hands-on experiences in archival processing, my biggest lesson taken from this Work Learn position was the importance of decision-making and its documentation. Sometimes the archivist has to determine the order of the archives, and sometimes it might not be the best arrangement, therefore, it is critical to document any decisions during the process.

 

 

Did you know that, in 1998, the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) was founded by John Willinsky in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC)? Its aim was and still is today to “improv[e] the scholarly and public quality of research”.

UBC “support[s] scholarly pursuits that contribute to knowledge and understanding within and across disciplines and seek[s] every opportunity to share them broadly” as outlined in the From UBC’s Place and Promise Strategic Plan and echoed in the Library’s Strategic Framework. Discover why PKP is a critical platform in open scholarly communications infrastructure via Digital Programs and Services at UBC Library.

 

Read the Library’s full PKP blog post

 

Explore Open Journals Systems (OJS)

 

Find out more about Open UBC

 

 

 

 

Introduced as a new service to help UBC Vancouver faculty meet Canadian copyright law and Fair Dealing Requirements, the syllabus service provides them with the ability to upload their course readings/syllabi directly into the Library Online Course Reserves system (LOCR), part of the Canvas Learning Management Platform at UBC. It ensures that course materials uphold Canadian copyright law and UBC license agreements and policies.

Copyright infringement, through the distribution of published works to students, unfortunately exposes the University and its faculty to legal jeopardy thus the Library is making copyright compliance as feasible and streamlined as possible for UBC faculty and students.

“We continue to take every possible step to support faculty in their teaching efforts, and ensure they remain knowledgeable and compliant with Canadian copyright law,” says Allan Bell, Associate University Librarian, Digital Programs and Services.

 

Read the full Library announcement

 

Explore Copyright Requirements for UBC Faculty and Staff

 

Discover Mediated Course Reserves at UBCO

 

Learn more about Scholarly Communications @ UBC

 

 

 

 

Above image is courtesy of the MURC – UBC Student Services‘ site

 

Touted as the biggest undergraduate research conference in B.C., the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC) is a key annual event highlighting the contributions of undergraduate scholarly inquiry and research at UBC. It affords an opportunity for undergraduate students campus-wide to present their singular or collaborative UBC research projects while sharing their unique UBC research perspectives and experiences.

 

Participation in the conference is on a voluntary basis, with students having the choice of giving either an oral, poster or visual arts/performance presentation of their work. Presentations are judged by graduate students, and prizes are awarded for the top oral, poster and visual arts/performance presentations at a closing celebratory reception.

 

You may know some past and most recent UBC MURC award winners but did you know that in 2012, three UBC MURC award winners – Alvin Ip (UBC Vancouver), Ben MacLeod (UBC Vancouver) and Ryan Trenholm (UBC Okanagan) – went abroad to represent UBC at the international 8th Universitas21 Undergraduate Research Conference (July 1 – 5, 2012) at the Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan? That’s just one of the noteworthy experiences enjoyed by UBC MURC award winners and shared with their fellow UBC students, academic and research mentors, family and friends at this unique conference.

 

With over 9,000 item views and 2,800 item downloads to date, check out the MURC award winner poster and slide presentations in cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository via the Library’s Open Collections digital collections’ portal!

 

 

 

 

 

The Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC) celebrates the contributions of undergraduate scholarly inquiry/research at UBC. It provides an opportunity for students from across campus to present a project they have been working on while engaging in scholarly debate amongst each other.

 

Participation in the conference is on a voluntary basis, with students having the choice of giving either an oral, poster or visual arts/performance presentation of their work. Presentations are judged by graduate students, and prizes are awarded for the top oral, poster and visual arts/performance presentations at a closing celebratory reception.

 

The next MURC conference is happening at UBC on March 16, 2019 at 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM.

 

If you’re interested in presenting at MURC 2019, visit the MURC site for more details.

 

Browse the MURC collection in cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository via the Library’s Open Collections portal

 

Above image is courtesy of the MURC – UBC Student Services‘ site

 

 

 

 

In celebration of open access and its global impact for over a decade, UBC and SFU will be participating in the 2018 International Open Access Week event during October 22-28, 2018.

 

Throughout UBC’s 2018 Open Access Week event, scholars will showcase and discuss their innovative research, teaching and learning skills and experiences while inspiring others to learn more and get involved with the global open access movement. These events will highlight the various opportunities and pathways enabling open scholarship for researchers at UBC and beyond.

 

Similar to past UBC Open Access Week events, this year will include free lectures, workshops, a panel discussion with a Q&A session, seminars, and symposia for students, faculty, staff, and the general public. Topical and timely issues will include the following ones to list just a few:

 

  • new challenges faced by practitioners and stakeholders
  • developing a scholarly/publishing profile
  • applying Creative Commons licenses to your work
  • navigating the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy (NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR)
  • discovering Open Educational Resources (OER)

 

Visit Open UBC to register and attend these free events

 

Learn more about Open Access at UBC

 

 

 

 

It is a pleasure to announce the release of cIRcle, UBC’s Research Repository Impact and Activity Report for 2017-2018!

 

In 2017-2018, cIRcle reached another milestone of over 60,000 items and saw an increase of its annual growth rate from 8% in previous years to 10%.

 

This report highlights’ include a sampling of cIRcle’s new and ongoing partnerships, its growth and development along with a snapshot of its top content contributors.

 

Two spotlights of cIRcle projects and collections included in the report are the BioMed Central/SpringerOpen project and the noteworthy additions in the UBC President’s Speeches and Writing collection.

 

Explore UBC research in cIRcle, for example, the growing number of preprints and postprints of academic journal articles, conference proceedings, departmental publications, technical reports, course notes, and much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is a pleasure to release the cIRcle Annual Impact & Activity Report 2016-2017!

 

In 2016-2017, cIRcle (UBC’s Digital Repository) had over 56,000 items. In the past two years, cIRcle has archived more than 4,000 deposits per year — an average annual growth rate of 8%.

 

Other highlights included in the report:

  • A breakdown of the increase in faculty content and a quick summary of the top content contributors
  • Developed cIRcle guidelines and practices on improving metadata for greater access and discoverability via UBC Library’s Open Collections portal
  • Featured Research Associate Emerita at the Royal British Columbia Museum and UBC alumna, Mary-Lou Florian
  • Spotlight on a few key partnerships and collaborations such as the Vancouver Institute Lecture Series and more

 

A quick sampling of new additions to cIRcle included:

Enhancing the clinical reflective capacities of nursing students http://hdl.handle.net/2429/59683

Form follows parking : strategies for mitigating the impacts of excess parking supply http://hdl.handle.net/2429/57704

Embedding the Frames of Evidence-Based Practice : Intersections in Librarianship http://hdl.handle.net/2429/58260

Research Data Management (RDM) Needs of Science and Engineering Researchers : A View from Canada http://hdl.handle.net/2429/58265

Analyzing Fire Ignition Data in the Kamloops, Lillooet and Merritt fire zones : with implications toward the effects of fire suppression on the landscape http://hdl.handle.net/2429/59241

The landscape of rare cancer : a sea of opportunity http://hdl.handle.net/2429/59312

Interventions to Improve Patient Hand Hygiene : A Systematic Review http://hdl.handle.net/2429/60520

 

And, last but not least by any means, we were thrilled to add the first fourteen items from UBC President Santa Ono and we look forward to adding more this year!

 

Make your UBC research openly accessible here

 

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