A riveting collection that highlights the effects of B.C.’s colonial justice system on Chinese and Aboriginal populations is now available at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC).

The John Keenlyside Legal Research Collection features court cases involving Chinese and Aboriginal people as both witnesses and defendants. The documents reveal how the 19th-century justice system and colonial society in British Columbia related to people of Aboriginal and Chinese descent. The collection comprises 82 files, totalling 340 documents.

John S. Keenlyside was born and raised in Vancouver and graduated from UBC with a degree in economics and political science. In 1973 he founded John S. Keenlyside & Co., an investment-counseling firm that he manages with his two sons.

Keenlyside acquired the legal collection in 1991. The documents date from 1862 to 1891 and are available to the public in the form of coloured photocopies, which are stored at Rare Books and Special Collections on the first level of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. A finding aid is available at: www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/AZ/PDF/KL/Keenlyside_John.pdf

For more information, please contact Ralph Stanton, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, at 604-822-4879 or ralph.stanton@ubc.ca.

A project that is part of the B.C. History Digitization Program – an initiative of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – was recently featured in the Jewish Independent.

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Leonora Crema of UBC Library is featured in an article on distance education in the Ubyssey, UBC’s student newspaper.

The Office of Learning Technology, which is based in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, is also featured.

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UBC Library’s free Community Card program, which is part of UBC’s Centenary celebrations, is featured in the Lake Country Calendar.

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The September 2008 issue of UBC Reports features an article on Google and the role of academic libraries and research. The article is followed by an item about UBC Library’s offer of free community borrower cards.

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A digitization project that is a collaboration between UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, UBC Archives and the City of Vancouver Archives appears in the Vancouver Sun.

The project is called The Chinese Experience in British Columbia, 1850-1950. It will explore Chinese immigration, work, and social and cultural life in B.C. through the digitization of items from the Chung Collection at UBC (www.library.ubc.ca/chung) and the Yip Sang fonds at the City of Vancouver Archives. Both collections are of national importance.

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(Please note that the luxury liner referred to in the article is called the Empress of Asia, not India.)

A Prince Rupert project that is part of the B.C. History Digitization Program – an initiative of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre – is featured in the Prince Rupert Daily News.

The article, published on August 28, 2008, appears below. Please note that the program’s successful 2008 candidates are listed at www.ikebarberlearningcentre.ubc.ca/ps/2008Projects.html.


By 2009, some of Prince Rupert’s top shots will soon be featured online courtesy of a University of British Columbia Internet initiative.

The UBC Irving K. Barber Learning Centre along with the Prince Rupert and Regional Archives, are teaming to publish a collection of nitrate and acetate negatives reliving Prince Rupert’s early history.

“People are digitizing maps, photos, artifact and all sorts of other weird stuff as part of the program, using the Learning Centre’s unique linking system,” said Chris Hives, archivist for the UBC Library.

As part of the program UBC offered the local archivists $3,000 in funding, which was matched locally by the Rupert Archives.

According to Prince Rupert director of Jean Eierf-Page, three key early Ruperite photographers will be prominent featured through the program.

Early photographers J. Dennis Allen, Earnest A. Woods and W.W. Wrathall will be included, along with 1,000 negatives from the film shooters and links other archives.

Prince Rupert Archives received $3,000 in funding for the project and matched that total as part of the agreement with UBC.

Eierf-Page also named another photographer, P.J. Ryan as major Ruperite photographer during the early days, though his origins remain a mystery to this day.

“We know very little about Ryan but he’s got some great shots, they are very sharp and on most of his shots he has written a description which he has signed and dated, which for us is nice so you know what you are looking at.

The photos are mixture of Prince Rupert scenes and scenery, with some that depict a lot of firsts like Allen’s photo of Prince Rupert’s first fire truck loaded with men rumbling down a dusty road.

W.W. Wrathall originally opened up a photography shop in 1908 in Hazelton where he was also a telegraph operator. Soon recognizing other opportunities, he closed up that shop moved over to Prince Rupert in 1912, opening up his shop Wrathall Photo Finishing Ltd.

He was soon in competition for business with English-born J. Dennis Allen, who had moved to Prince Rupert in 1907 at the age of 27 and opened up the J.D. Allen Photographic Company.
Allen was known for his postcards depicting the natural surroundings of Prince Rupert, some of them would be included in the online collection.

Allen lived in Prince Rupert – except between 1914 and 1918 when he fought in the First World War – until 1949 when he and his family moved to southern BC. Allen eventually passed away in Victoria in 1966.

Many of Wrathall’s photos depict people, buildings, railways, and industry in Prince Rupert, Hazelton, and in settlements on BC’s North Coast and Alaska’s southern coast. Eventually Wrathall gave way to his son Jack and daughter Vivian Comadina who took over the family business in March 1948.

The UBC project will eventually name 21 finalists chosen by the Learning Centre’s B.C. History Digitization program. The purpose of the project is to make as many B.C. historical artifacts accessible as possible to the public.

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