We were contacted recently by author David Charles Manners, who is a descendant of Albert Lindgren. In January 2011 we announced on our blog that we had acquired a documentary art collection of sketches and watercolours by Albert Lindgren, a ship captain who lived in Vancouver near the turn of the 20th century. When David came across the collection, he was surprised- while his great-great-great-grandfather, Adolphus Lindgren, was a hobby watercolourist, to his knowledge his great-great-grandfather, Albert Lindgren, did not share his father’s artistic interests.

We were able to send scans of the (unsigned) sketches and watercolours to David who was able to confirm for us that we had gotten the provenance of this collection wrong- these are definitely watercolours of his 3+-great grandfather Adolphus. We have since updated our catalogue records to reflect this information, and thank David very warmly for both spotting the mistake, and providing us with biographical information about Adolphus!

For this post, we’re pleased to introduce a guest blogger- Cari Postnikoff is a practicum student visiting us from the School of Library and Information Studies at University of Alberta. Here’s what Cari found in our collections related to the Columbia River:

This is another installment of our series featuring B.C. places used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre; this time we are going to take a look at the Columbia River. The Columbia River originates in the B.C. Rocky Mountains and flows down to the Pacific Ocean just north of Portland, Oregon.

The resource from our collection that we would like to feature from the Columbia River area is a small publication titled A Brief Containing Suggestions for the Solution of the Freedomite Problem. Freedomites are a radical religious group that originated from the Russian Doukhobor sect which has many past and present settlements along the Columbia River in the western part of the Kootenays.

Scanned cover of publication

Cover of A Brief Containing Suggestions for the Solution of the Freedomite Problem

This booklet was released by the Advisory Committee on Doukhobor Affairs of the Kootenay Presbytery of the United Church of Canada in 1963 and contains practical information on how the government and citizens could deal with the public nudism and violent terrorism that was perpetrated by the Freedomite group at this time. One of the first things the booklet points out is the difference between Doukhobors and Freedomites. This is a very important distinction to make as the Doukhobors abhor violence of all kinds, making the actions of the Freedomite zealots very upsetting for them. Still, many British Columbians today – and even History professors – use the term ‘Doukhobor’ to refer to members of the Freedomite group, which is incorrect and can be upsetting for people of Doukhobor descent today.

Scan of page from booklet

Page from booklet

Since the Doukhobors, and subsequently the Freedomites, are an important part of B.C. history, you may want to learn more about them. Wikipedia is a great place to get started, as well as the website Doukhobor.org, which is primarily a genealogy website but also has many very informative articles on the Doukhobors as well as a number of links to other sites that can tell you more about the group. The UBC library catalogue shows many resources available to learn more about this group, over 600 of which are housed in our Rare Books and Special Collections library. We also have many primary sources to peruse in our archives, most of which can be found in the Doukhobor Collection.

In the Barber Centre, the Columbia River Room is room 316. It is a group study room located in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Library.


Please note that Rare Books and Special Collections, the Chung Collection and University Archives will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday; however, we are open as usual on Saturday the 30th, from 12-5. Please check the Library’s Hours and Locations portal to see hours for other branches over Easter weekend.

Amongst our English literature collections at Rare Books and Special Collections is the Norman Colbeck Collection which includes more than 450 authors and over 13,000 volumes. In the collection are two copies of Christmas-Eve and Easter Day by Robert Browning:

Book spine showing title

Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day by Robert Browning

This work was the first Browning published after his marriage to Elizabeth Barrett. It was published by Chapman & Hall in 1850.

Book open to title page

Title page, Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day

Book open to page

Easter-Day by Robert Browning

The two sections, Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day are often referred to as separate, but were published together in this one volume. To see what other works by Robert Browning, or Elizabeth Barrett Browning, we have in RBSC, you can search the library catalogue. If you are interested in the Colbeck Collection, the catalogue A Bookman’s Catalogue is available both in print and online.


Due to a software upgrade to our Automated Storage and Retrieval System many of our archival collections and some of our book collections will be unavailable to request during the week of March 25th. We anticipate the system being fully functional again by Tuesday April 2. Our sincere apologies for this continue inconvenience.

How do you know if an item is affected or not? If the catalogue record (like this one) gives the location as “RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ASRS storage” it will not be available. If the catalogue record (like this one) gives the location as “RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS” it will be available.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

Due to a software upgrade to our Automated Storage and Retrieval System many of our archival collections and some of our book collections will be unavailable to request on March 25 and 26. We anticipate the system being fully functional again on March 27th March 28th at noon.

How do you know if an item is affected or not? If the catalogue record (like this one) gives the location as “RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ASRS storage” it will not be available. If the catalogue record (like this one) gives the location as “RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS” it will be available.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

In this post in our series of B.C. places used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, we are going to feature Trail, B.C. We are also going to talk about archival appraisal, but first- a little bit about Trail!

Trail is a city in the Western Kootenay region of B.C., founded as a gold/copper ore mining and smelting town at the turn of the 20th century.  Smelting is still the major industry in Trail, but in their spare time Trail residents take their sports very seriously- according to the City of Trail website, “Trail has been declared BC’s Number One Sports Town offering a wealth of sports – from golfing and fishing to mountain biking, hiking and skiing, and especially hockey.”

It seems very apropos then to feature this photograph of a Trail hockey team from 1938:

Photograph of hockey team in uniform with sticks

Hockey team, Trail BC, W. G. Burch fonds

This photograph is found in the W.G. Burch fonds. Gerry Burch, as he is known, is a retired forester who grew up in Trail, and who donated his archival material to Rare Books and Special Collections, because he knows that our researchers are very interested in forest history (you can read more about our forestry history holdings through our Forestry History Research Guide).

So what, you may be wondering, does this hockey team have to do with forestry history? Why is this photograph kept as part of the collection? This is when a decision of archival appraisal is made. Unlike monetary appraisal, archival appraisal is a decision made to determine what is kept, and not kept, for long term preservation in an archival institution. Society simply creates too much documentation to preserve it all- it is an important part of an archivist’s role to make appraise archival material for what we call “retention”.

There are a lot of viewpoints that an archivist can use to make appraisal decisions, but generally, we archivists are looking for evidential or informational value in the records selected for preservation. In the example of the W.G. Burch fonds, the documents in the fonds that he generated during his career as a forester provide evidential value about forestry practices in B.C., and his activities more specifically. In the case of this hockey photograph, taken during Gerry’s youth (he’s in the back row on the far right) it provides informational value about the history of a B.C. town- in this case, Trail. Another factor that archivists would consider is the value in keeping the archives of a person or an organization together- we try our best to avoid “splitting a fonds” between archival institutions because the best way to understand a person’s life and work is to have the context of their archives remain intact.

In the Barber Centre, the Trail Meeting Room is room 491, which is part of the iSchool at UBC (the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies). iSchool students in the Masters of Archival Studies program learn about appraisal in ARST 520: Selection and Acquisition of Archival Documents.

In this installment of our blog series featuring resources from Rare Books and Special Collections relating to B.C. places used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, we will take a look at Namu. If you are not from B.C., the name “Namu” might bring memories of the famous captive whale (they even made a movie about him). To British Columbians, Namu is an abandoned cannery town and ancient First Nations site, about 150 km North of the tip of Vancouver Island, on B.C.’s central coast. In the Barber Centre, the Namu room is a meeting room on the first floor.

Namu is significant to First Nations communities and to archeologists because the site shows continuous, seasonal use for some 10,000 years (see these resources from Simon Fraser University.) In more recent times, Namu was used by fisheries as a cannery site. RBSC has a lot of collections related to canneries, including the B.C. Packer’s Association who ran the cannery in Namu throughout much of the 20th century. The photograph below, of the Namu Cannery however comes from our general historic photograph collections:


Historical photograph of cannery taken from water

Photo BC 1311/2, Namu Cannery


This photograph is on a postcard, and has been dated to around the 1920’s.

For descriptions of archival collections related to canneries:

– Perform an advanced search in the library catalogue
– Specify “archival/mixed collections” as the type and use keywords such as cannery, canning and canneries.

For more information on our photograph collections, please visit our Historical Photographs research guide.

Today marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813 by Thomas Egerton. Rare Books and Special Collections is fortunate to have a first edition in our holdings, which was generously donated by a private donor last year. At some point in its life this copy must have lost its title pages, because they are facsimiles, but it is otherwise a very fine copy and excellent for research and study.

Image of book spines of three volume Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice in RBSC

Image of title page from Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice title page

If you would like to see it in person, you are welcome to come to RBSC‘s reading room anytime during our opening hours and request it! Remember that you do not need to be affiliated with UBC to use our resources.

Some Jane Austen/Pride and Prejudice links for you:

The Jane Austen House and Museum has launched a Pride and Prejudice 200 website with events, links, and articles. If you’re interested in the publication history of Pride and Prejudice, be sure to check out the article detailing “Examining Pride and Prejudice through letters” which discusses the history of its publications through archival sources.

Jane Austen fans have three societies to get involved with – the Jane Austen Society, the Jane Austen Society of North America, and the Jane Austen Society of Australia.

We love literature and poetry at Rare Books and Special Collections, so we’re pleased to wish you a Happy Burns Day! Burns Day celebrates the birth of Robert Burns in 1759, the great Scottish bard who gave us Tam ‘O Shanter, Auld Lang Syne, and A Red, Red Rose (and many others).

RBSC has a great Robert Burns collection thanks the A.M. Donaldson Burns Collection, which was purchased for UBC Library in 1962 by the Friends of the Library. The collection includes nearly all editions of Burns published up to that point, as well as critical and biographical materials, Scottish song books, works by other Scottish writers, and works about favourite “haunts” of Burns. To find RBSC’s Robert Burns material in the library catalogue:

– Go to the advanced search page
– Enter Robert Burns as the author name (or as any keyword, if you’re also interested in works about Burns)
– Specify Rare Books and Special Collections as the Location

You can also specify a range of dates if say, you want to only see results from the 18th or 19th century.

We also have A.M. Donaldson’s archival material, which can be quite interesting if you’re either a Burns researcher, or just interested in how book collections come together. One of the interesting things we have found in this archival collections are several Burns forgeries, listed in the finding aid in Box 2 file 7  (we haven’t had these verified as of yet but it’s safe to say they’re forgeries!)

Scan of a manuscript claiming to be by Robert Burns

“Ayr Water” Burns forgery from A.M. Donaldson fonds, Box 2 File 7

You may be wondering, why would a book collector (or a rare books library) be interested in forgeries? As long as you know a forgery is a fake and are not mistaking it for the real thing, forgeries can be quite interesting. Some forgers became so famous that their forgeries become famous in their own right! RBSC has a collection related to the famous forger Thomas J. Wise.

A couple of great Burns links for you:

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum has great interactive displays and searchable online collections (and if you’re ever in Ayr, a visit in person is highly recommended!)

The Centre for Robert Burns Studies at University of Glasgow discusses their major scholarly work on Burns, and gives a great list of further links to explore.

Have you been missing our Featured Place posts as much as we’ve missed writing them? It’s a new year and we’re looking forward to featuring lots of B.C. places in 2013! For those new to our blog, this post is part of a series in which we find resources from Rare Books and Special Collections relating to B.C. places that are used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

The Allison Harbour Room in the Barber Centre is room 263, one of the group study rooms in the south hallway.  Allison Harbour the place, according to B.C. Geographical names, is a harbour in the Queen Charlotte Straight, as well as a marine park. If you search the library catalogue for the phrase “Allison Harbour” and specify Rare Books and Special Collections, you get no results. If you search our website for the same, which is a strategy for searching our finding aids for specific references in our archival collections, you get one result, which is a file of articles about Allison Harbour, written by Gilean Douglas. Douglas was a poet, author and journalist who lived and worked in coastal B.C. from the 1940’s until her death in 1993. She describes Allison Harbour at the time of writing, probably the early 40’s:

“Four years before I saw it Allison Harbour was an old logging float, with sagging buildings which had been a house, store and shed. Melville and Victor Eckstein, who live there, say that in a few more years Allison will be one of the finest trading posts upcoast and they’ve gone a long way towards proving it. But right then they and an old trapper were the only residents, with space and solitude all around them.” (Gilean Douglas, “Allison Harbour on the Make,” File 2-11, Gilean Douglas fonds.)

Supposing you wanted to find more about Allison Harbour. This is a situation when starting out with a secondary source might give you more keywords to search for. Both B.C. Geographical Names and Wikipedia mention that Allison Harbour was formerly known as False Bay or False Schooner Passage. Our website search comes up with a couple of photographs of False Bay, and a catalogue search finds a map (False Schooner doesn’t find anything). But beware- there is more than one False Bay! One of the photographs is more likely taken in the False Bay off of Nanaimo (here is a digital version of it) and another is in South Africa.  The map is of the Clayoquot Sound district, showing (yet another) False Bay. False Bay has turned out to be a false lead!

Here are some other ideas for continuing this search:

–          Depending on what aspect of Allison Harbour you are interested in, you might use other clues from the secondary sources to form a search. For example, B.C. Geographical names says it was “named after Mr. Allison, manager of logging operations for the Smith-Dollar Lumber Company, circa 1922.” You could search for the Smith-Dollar Lumber Company if that was of interest to you. Or if you are interested in the marine park, you could search for collections or publications that have to do with B.C. parks more generally. Douglas’s articles also contain other descriptions and clues about this (apparently) little known B.C. place.

–          You can expand your search geographically. Now that we know Allison Harbour is in the Queen Charlotte Straight, you could use that as your search phrase to find maps, charts, publications and documents about the area in general.

–          One of the beautiful things about digitization is that OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology allows you to full-text search a lot of scanned documents, whereas pre-digitization we relied only on the catalogue or finding aid. You can search UBC’s digital collections, or try the B.C. Historical Newspapers page for full-text searching possibilities.

Of course, no single library or archives can hold all possible information about any place or subject- it’s important to use other catalogues too. You can search the UBC Library Catalogue across all branches and online resources through Summon. You might also try MemoryBC, a database which brings together archival descriptions from across the province.

Happy 2013 and happy researching!

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