The Chung Collection exhibition room will be closed on Tuesday Oct. 4 for repairs. Please note that this closure also affects the King James Bible exhibition.

We are sorry for the inconvenience. Please check back for updates.

Cross-posted with the Chung Collection News blog.

In honour of the City of Vancouver’s 125th birthday, an exhibition highlighting the voyages of George Vancouver and the publication of his voyage narrative is on display at Rare Books and Special Collections.  Featuring a number of late 18th- and early 19th-century editions of George Vancouver’s A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, first published in May 1798, the exhibition describes Vancouver’s expedition to the Pacific Northwest on the ships The Discovery and The Chatham.  The exhibition also displays plates and maps from A Voyage of Discovery, including the dramatic “The Discovery on the rocks in Queen Charlotte’s Sound”, shown below.

"Discovery on the rocks"

"Discovery on the rocks"

This exhibition is the first to be displayed in our new exhibition cabinets, located on the back wall in the Chung Collection exhibition room. It is free and open to the general public during Rare Books and Special Collection’s opening hours of Monday to Friday, 9-5, until September 1 (please note that we are closed on Monday August 1 for BC Day).

New exhibition display cases

New exhibition display cases

The exhibition was curated by School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS) MAS/MLIS graduate Shamin Malmas, and was mounted by SLAIS MAS/MLIS student Sarah Hillier.

This week our featured place is Fort Fraser, British Columbia.  Today, Fort Fraser,  named by the explorer, Simon Fraser in 1806,  is a community of about 1000 people that is active in the tourism and forestry industries.

Mill at Fort Fraser

Mill at Fort Fraser, BC-1456-2-11. This photograph of a lumber mill in Fort Fraser comes from the B.C. Historical Photograph Album Collection . RBSC collects photographs both individually and as parts of larger collections. On our website you will find tutorials on how to search for photographs in our collections.

Historically, Fort Fraser played an important role in the development of British Columbia for a number of reasons, including:

  • It is found near the geographical centre of British Columbia, 44 km west of Vanderhoof on The Yellowhead Highway.
  • Originally established in 1806 as a North West Company fur trading post by the explorer Simon Fraser, it is one of present-day British Columbia’s oldest permanent European-founded settlements. The area around the community is also recorded as the site of the first land in British Columbia cultivated by non-First Nations people.
  • The present community is located at the site of the last spike of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, driven on April 7, 1914.

The Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) reading room is named after the community of  Fort Fraser. We think that it is a very fitting name for our reading room. Similar to the way in which Fort Fraser is located near the geographical centre of British Columbia, physically, the RBSC reading room is located at the heart of the Barber Learning Centre.

Fort Fraser Reading Room

If you have some extra time before we close for the holidays at 3pm on December 24, please drop in to visit the RBSC Fort Fraser Reading Room and a take a look at ‘Tis the Season, a winter holiday-themed exhibition.

Holiday exhibition in the Fort Fraser Reading Room
Holiday exhibition in the Fort Fraser Reading Room
Holiday exhibition in the Fort Fraser Reading Room
Holiday exhibition in the Fort Fraser Reading Room

A fascinating exhibition that complements the release of a new book on children’s literature is now on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) division.

Picturing Canada: Canadian Children’s Illustrated Books and Publishing, highlights Canadian picturebooks from the last 200 years. The exhibition includes rare children’s books as well as popular productions from recent years. It was curated by Shannon Ozirny, Meaghan Scanlon and Geneviève Valleau, all students at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies.

The exhibition features highlights from Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Children’s Illustrated Books and Publishing, written by Judith Saltman and Gail Edwards. Saltman is an Associate Professor at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies and Chair of the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature program; Edwards is the Chair of the Department of History at Douglas College.

DRIPPYTOWN: VANCOUVER LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF INDEPENDENT CARTOONISTS--Selected Comics and Cartoons from UBC Rare Books and Special Collections

The University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), and the Alma Mater Society (AMS) Art Gallery

cordially invite you to an informal reception for the opening of the exhibition:
DRIPPYTOWN: VANCOUVER LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF INDEPENDENT CARTOONISTS–Selected Comics and Cartoons from UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, designed by the students of the UBC SLAIS “Visual Arts and Performing Arts Special Collections” course.

Featured Artists: Ken Boesem, Julian Lawrence, James Lloyd, Josué Menjivar, Jason Turner, Colin Upton

UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, Suite 470, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, Vancouver.

FRIDAY, October 23, 2009, 12noon-1:30 p.m. Please R.S.V.P. (by October 22nd) to Francesca Marini at

The Exhibition is Free and Open to the Public  on the UBC Campus:

October 23, 2009-January 31, 2010
UBC Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC)-Reading Room
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre-First Floor, 1961 East Mall, Vancouver
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 12 noon-5 p.m. Closed on Sundays and Holidays; special hours over Christmas Break. When accessing UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, please check bags and coats at the entrance.

The students: Carys Brown, Leah Bruce, Elizabeth Bryan, Michelle Chan, Alice Darnton, Kelsey Dupuis, Reagan Flaherty, Heather Hadley, Annie Jensen, Samuel King, Emma Lawson, Jessie London, Anne Low-Beer, Susannah Smith, Rebecca Slaven, Kate Sloan, Alicia Yeo, Walter Zicha

Francesca Marini, Assistant Professor and Course Instructor, UBC SLAIS
Ralph Stanton, Head, UBC RBSC
Jeremy Jaud, AMS Art Gallery Commissioner
The UBC RBSC and AMS Art Gallery Staff

Poster Design: Adrien Van Viersen (

For further information contact

An illuminating set of letters from the wife of a prominent Methodist missionary in B.C. is now freely available online.

The letters from Emma Crosby (1849-1926) provide a fascinating glimpse into the missionary experience. Due to her gender, Emma was not able to become a missionary, although her husband Thomas served as one on the north coast of B.C. The letters describe how women such as Emma sustained their husbands and served as missionaries in all but name.

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections division (RBSC) holds 87 letters written by Emma Crosby as part of the Thomas and Emma Crosby fonds. The majority of these letters were written from Fort Simpson, B.C., to her family in Ontario between 1874 and 1892.

Jan Hare, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and Jean Barman, Professor Emerita in the Department of Educational Studies, provided the inspiration for developing this digital collection. Barman offered to provide RBSC with transcriptions of Crosby’s letters, created for Hare and Barman’s recent publication, Good Intentions Gone Awry. This book discusses Emma Crosby’s missionary life and the legacy of her work at Fort Simpson.

The digitization of the Crosby letters was a collaboration between RBSC and University Archives. Bronwen Sprout, Digital Initiatives Librarian at Archives, and Katherine Kalsbeek, Reference Librarian at RBSC, led the project.

Special thanks to: April Ens, a former professional experience student from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, who digitized the letters and created the metadata for the collection; and Leslie Field, Archives Assistant, who provided expert assistance and guidance with the digitization work. Thanks also to Jan Hare and Jean Barman for the transcripts of Crosby’s letters and for their introduction that accompanies the digital collection.

You can view the collection at Please send comments to Bronwen Sprout ( or Katherine Kalsbeek (

An exhibition of nineteenth-century English chapbooks is currently on display at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC). Chapbooks are booklets that were popular in rural areas and towns from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Literature of this sort was a miscellany, spanning jestbooks to histories of depraved criminals, medieval romances to song verses. Although once read by many, chapbooks are extremely delicate and ephemeral: being cheaply produced on low-quality paper and small in size, they were not made to survive over time. Many are illustrated with luridly coloured woodcuts. There are over three hundred in RBSC, many of which are part of the Arkley Collection of Early & Historical Children’s Literature. The exhibition demonstrates the collection’s value as a catalogue of the diverse themes covered by this type of print publication in nineteenth-century Britain.

The exhibition, created by English Master’s student Catherine Whitehead, will run from July 2008 to the end of November 2008. RBSC is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

UBC Rare Books and Special Collections and Koerner Library would like to announce the opening of: Fine Lines: An exhibition on artist and writer, Heather Spears, on now at Koerner Library. Curated by students from the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies with assistance from Rare Books and Special Collections, the exhibition features material recently donated to the library.

The exhibition showcases unpublished material documenting Heather Spears’ successful career as both a visual artist and a writer. A former UBC student, Heather Spears has published 11 collections of poetry (4 with drawings), 3 science fiction novels, 3 books of drawings, and 1 crime novel. Spears has won numerous awards for her artistic works including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1989 for The Word
for Sand. Spears has also held over 75 solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

The exhibition runs through the end of August 2005 and is located in Humanities & Social Sciences, Floor 2, Koerner Library.

UBC Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) is pleased to present, Hitting the Books: the Early Canadian School Textbook Collection in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. The RBSC textbook collection is one of the country’s largest, with books dating from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Some of the texts were printed in Britain or the United States of America, but the majority were printed in Canada.

This exhibition is a reconnaissance mission to provide a glimpse into some of the unique features of the collection. It looks at three early Canadian publishers and their works. It also provides some insight into the life of Canadian students from the late eighteenth through to the early twentieth century.

This exhibition is located in the display cases in Rare Books and Special Collections and will be on display from April to the end of August.

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