This week, our featured room in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre, is the Mackenzie Seminar Room, room 112, located in Rare Books and Special Collections. The Mackenzie seminar room is a bit different from the other rooms in that it is not named after a place, but an explorer: Sir Alexander Mackenzie.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820), completed the first recorded transcontinental crossing of North America by a European north of Mexico. On July 20, 1793, Mackenzie and his party arrived at Bella Coola, where he first reached saltwater at South Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

Image credit: Alexander Mackenzie painted by Thomas Lawrence (c.1800), courtesy National Gallery of Canada

In Rare Books and Special Collections, we have many historical maps documenting Mackenzie’s explorations. For example, in the Dr. Andrew McCormick map collection, there are a number of maps that illustrating Mackenzie’s travels. For example, McCormick map 106, A map of America, between the latitudes 40 and 70, and longitudes 45 and 180 West, exhibiting Mackenzie’s Track from Montreal to Fort Chipewyan & from there to the North Sea in 1789, & to the West Pacific Ocean in 1793 (London: Alexander Mackenzie, 1801). On this map, Mackenzie’s exploration routes of 1789 and 1793 are highlighted in red and yellow, respectively.

Image credit: Dr. Andrew McCormick collection, mccormick_106

In Rare Books and Special Collections, the Mackenzie seminar room is a multi-functional space.

Image credit: UBC Library

The reference collection (e.g. bibliographies, dictionaries, city directories, encyclopedias, etc) is arranged on the shelves in the room. As well, Rare Books and Special Collections librarians and archivists use this space to teach students, faculty, staff and community members about our collections. Since it is a room connected to the Fort Fraser Reading Room, we are able to bring out a variety of material and examples for class participants to use. If you are interested in arranging a class or tour using materials from Rare Books and Special Collections, please send an email to Rare Books and Special Collections.

In our ongoing blog series about B.C. places used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, this week we are featuring the town of Oliver. Oliver describes itself as the “wine capital of Canada” and is located in the south end of the Okanagan Valley. Oliver is named after the 19th premier of B.C., John Oliver, who was premier from 1918 to 1927.

The Oliver region is the home of the Nk’Mip First Nation band, and from 1915 to the 1960’s was the home of the Inkameep Indian Day School. Under the tutelage of teacher Anthony Walsh in the 1930’s and 40’s, the First Nations children at this school were encouraged to use artwork to express their traditional culture and history. During this time the school, the teacher and the students gained a fair degree of fame, as the word spread about their highly creative and often technically proficient artwork. While Walsh’s approach was not necessarily understood or appreciated by his contemporaries (his successor at the school burned most of the students’ art) it has since been praised for its inclusiveness of First Nations culture and heritage.

The documents in Rare Books and Special Collections are part of our Vertical File collection. The term “vertical file” is used in a variety of manners in libraries and archives, usually referring to a file compiled on a specific subject. At RBSC we often use this designation for small groupings of archival material which are two small to be listed with our other archival collections. This vertical file, VF 113, consists of letters written to Anthony Walsh during his tenure at Inkameep. Writers include a number of well-known figures, such as Lawren Harris and the Walt Disney Company:

Lawren Harris letter page 1

Lawren Harris letter page 1


Lawren Harris letter page 2

Lawren Harris letter page 2

Walt Disney Company letter

Walt Disney Company letter

Vertical files can be found by searching the library catalogue. They have call numbers that start with “VF,” and will also appear in searches limited to “Archival/mixed collections.”

An excellent virtual exhibition about the Inkameep Day School called “Drawing on Identity” is available online.

In the Barber Centre, the Oliver Room is room 361, and is used by the Gateway programs- Arts One, Science One, Coordinated Arts and Coordinated Science.

A reminder that all library branches including Rare Books and Special Collections, the Chung Collection and University Archives are closed on Monday September 5 for Labour Day.

Labor Day in Vancouver, BC-1600-6

Labor Day in Vancouver, BC-1600-6

The photograph above depicts a Labour Day parade in Vancouver, taken by  Philip Timms in the early 20th century.  The photograph is undated, but is believed to have been taken at the corner of Hastings and Cambie.  RBSC has extensive holdings on the history of labour in British Columbia; try searching the library catalogue for the keyword “labour,” and limit your search to “Archival/mixed collections” (under “type”).

For more information on our historical photograph collections, please consult our Historical Photograph Research Guide, and for help with archival research, please consult our Archival Material Research Guide.

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