In our ongoing series of places in B.C. used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, we will look at Stikine. This featured place and featured Rare Books and Special Collections resource is truly an ode to map cataloguers!

The Stikine River is in northwestern B.C., emptying into the ocean in southeastern Alaska. The river and its surroundings are considered to be an important piece of B.C. wilderness to preserve.  If you search the library catalogue for the keyword Stikine, you will find a number of publications related to the preservation of this area.

Like many names of rivers and places, there have been variations of spelling in the name “Stikine” over time, including Shikene, Stachine, Stachin, Stah-Keena, Stahkin, Stakeen, Stickeen, Stickienes, Stikeen, Stikin, and Sucheen! (See the entry in BC Geographical Names). However, also like many place names, it was also known under completely different names- in the map from Rare Books and Special Collections below, it is identified as the Frances River. B.C. Geographical Names confirms that the Stikine was known by other names at different times- they cite St. Francis River, as well as Pelly’s River.

British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and the Valley of the Saskatchewan, SPAM 926B

British Columbia, Vancouver Island, and the Valley of the Saskatchewan, SPAM 926B


Detail showing "Frances" River

Detail showing "Frances" River

If the map cataloguer had not noted this detail in the catalogue record, this map would not have appeared in a search for “Stikine” in the library catalogue! There are many other helpful details in the catalogue record as well, such as names of forts and noting that the borders of B.C., the United States and Rupert’s Land are clearly visible (the map dates from the 1860’s). To see the catalogue record for this map, click here.

In the Barber Centre, the Stikine Room is room 260, a large classroom on the second floor of the building.

One of our collection’s areas of strength is the history of the forestry industry in B.C. We’re therefore happy to present a new research guide on Forestry History and Archives. Here you will find links to archival collections at Rare Books and Special Collections and University Archives about foresters and the forestry industry, information on photographic collections, theses and dissertations, and historical associations.

Felling of a BC Fir Tree, from the Capilano Timber photo collection

Felling of a BC Fir Tree, from the Capilano Timber photo collection

We are very happy to have this subject guide linked from both Rare Books and Special Collections list of guides as well as from our colleagues in the Life Sciences libraries.  Thank you to RBSC student assistant Laura Hébert for her great work on this guide!


Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, a good day to highlight some of the archives of extraordinary women held at Rare Books and Special Collections:

Rosemary Brown was a social worker and politician with the New Democratic Party. She was also an instructor of Women’s Studies at SFU, a CEO for MATCH International, and Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Her archives contains correspondence, speeches, lecture material and other documentation.

Claire Culhane was the founder and a vocal member of a Vancouver-based prisoner rights group in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Her archives contains correspondence and other documentation related to her advocacy work. (correspondence with prisoners is subject to use with a research agreement; contact the archivist for more information).

Lille d’Easum was active in the anti-nuclear movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s and was an executive member of both the B.C. Voice of Women and the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament.  Her archives includes documentation concerning nuclear power plants, uranium mining, nuclear terrorism, disarmament and the international peace movement.

Mildred Fahrni was involved in the 1940’s with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and subsequently was active as a public speaker addressing issues of war, poverty, non-violence, and social change.  Her archives reflect this work as well as her work in international development into the 1970’s and 80’s.

Irene Howard is a well-known literary figure in B.C., having contributed a number of works to the literature of the province, including the recent Gold Dust on his shirt: the true story of an immigrant mining family. Her archives includes manuscripts and other documents related to her work as well as audio tapes of oral histories completed for her research.

Grace MacInnis was heavily involved both personally and professionally in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation party (precursor to the NDP). Her interests included poverty, housing, and the status of women. Her archival collection contains both personal and professional documentation, including correspondence, diaries, notebooks and photographs.

Hilda Thomas was a community activist and politician with the provincial and federal New Democratic Party. She was particularly active with the Women’s Rights Committee provincially, and the Participation of Women Committee federally. Her archives contains extensive documentation on her political and activism activities.

These are just a few examples of the extraordinary women who we are proud to be the home of their archives.  You’ll also find the archival material of a number of women’s organizations, such as the Vancouver Council of Women, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Vancouver Women in Focus and the Vancouver Status of Women.

If you’re interested in learning more about using archival material for your research, check out our Archival Research Guide, and for more help with women’s studies research particularly, check out the Humanities and Social Science’s Women’s Studies Research guide.




By Glenn Drexhage

UBC Library is hosting an exhibition and conference to commemorate the March 11, 2011 disasters in Japan. Retell, Rethink, Recover, which begins on February 20 and runs through April, consists of three phases on display in different parts of the Library system.

The Retell section highlights disaster prints and historical maps. All materials are from the Library’s exceptional Tokugawa maps collection, housed at Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC).

Rethink includes materials gathered from members of the UBC community who were in Japan during the disasters, or otherwise impacted. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant incident is discussed, and photos and social media archives figure prominently.

Recover features items from UBC’s Asian Library collection, as well as contributions from community members and alumni. This section highlights Japan’s history of recovering from adversity, and includes information on the support between Canada and Japan during times of crisis.

A complementary display will also feature portraits of earthquake survivors, a project sponsored by the Japan Foundation and Shiseido, the cosmetics company.

On March 10, a free one-day conference co-sponsored by UBC’s Department of Asian Studies will feature talks from scholars on Japan, and personal accounts from UBC students, faculty and alumni. This conference will be held from 10am to 4pm in the Dodson Room, in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre.

Read more about Retell, Rethink, Recover in the March 2012 issue of UBC Reports.

Please visit the event site to register and for more information.

We have been featuring resources from Rare Books and Special Collections that relate to the place names used in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as room names. Sometimes we find it challenging to find a related resource; sometimes the challenge is in narrowing down our research!

Such is the case with Victoria. Victoria B.C., on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is our province’s capital and hence the place of many events in the province’s history. Rare Books and Special Collections contains almost innumerable books, maps, documents, and photographs related to Victoria.  However, to rare books enthusiasts, there is one (or two) events from Victoria’s history that are of particular note: the publication of the first book (or books) to be printed in British Columbia.

What is largely accepted to be the first book printed in B.C. is Order in council constituting the Supreme Court of Civil Justice of Vancouver Island and rules of practice and forms to be used therein, which basically amounted to a “rule book” for the Supreme Court in Victoria. It was printed at the Victoria Gazette in November 1858.

"Order in Council..."

"Order in Council..."

The copy photographed above is particularly special: it was David Cameron‘s personal copy!  David Cameron was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia- in other words, not only did he own the book, he wrote the book too. This copy was given to us by Dr. Wallace Chung, on the occasion of the re-opening of the Chung Collection in Spring 2008. David Cameron’s signature can be seen on the cover, and on the Act to provide for the Administration of Justice in Vancouver’s Island, tipped in the front:

David Cameron's signature

David Cameron's signature

So, first book printed in B.C.- straightforward story, right? There was some debate over the years regarding which came first: Order in Council or Alfred Waddington’s Fraser Mines Vindicated, or, the History of Four Months.:

"Fraser Mines Vindicated"

"Fraser Mines Vindicated"

It may have had something to do with Waddington’s preface, describing itself as “the first book published on Vancouver Island.” However, even Waddington’s own fine print explains that, “When the above was written Judge Cameron’s Book of Practice had not yet appeared.”

"Fraser Mines Vindicated" preface

"Fraser Mines Vindicated" preface

Apparently the Order in Council leapfrogged ahead of Fraser Mines by mere days. In Lowther’s A Bibliography of British Columbia, she explains that Order in Council “has the distinction of being the first book printed in the colony of Vancouver Island, coming off the press ahead of Waddington’s Fraser mines vindicated.”

In the Barber Centre, the Victoria Learning Theatre is room 182. This is a large lecture theatre and is often used for special events.

Victoria Learning Theatre, courtesy of UBC Library Communications

Victoria Learning Theatre, courtesy of UBC Library Communications


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