News

The Return of “The Iron Pulpit”!

Posted on May 30, 2013 @2:43 pm by kalsbeek

As part of UBC Library’s commemoration of Canada’s National Aboriginal History Month, Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) is pleased to present the return of last fall’s popular exhibition “The Iron Pulpit”: Missionary Printing Presses in British Columbia. The exhibition features materials produced on missionary printing presses in British Columbia between the 1850s and 1910s, and situates its subject in contexts of Indigenous-Christian encounter, colonialism, and print culture in the province.

Christian missionaries were deeply implicated in processes of Indigenous land dispossession and colonial assimilation in British Columbia, and printing presses supported this effort. The exhibition’s curators acknowledge that this is a sensitive topic in our contemporary climate. Current public discussions concerning residential schools are a stark reminder of Christianity’s central role in Canadian colonialism, and this project situates missionary printing presses and their imprints directly in this context. At the same time, the exhibition joins recent scholarship in advocating and advancing more nuanced interpretations of religious encounter.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

The Thompson Liturgy, printed on the St. Paul’s Mission Press, which contains surveys and inventories of the mission at Lytton, BC, including a list of villages, chiefs, and watchmen belonging to St. Paul’s as of January 1, 1873.

Jean-Marie Le Jeune’s 1897 Polyglott Manual, which translated Latin Prayers for the mass into eight different languages and dialects, including Shushwap, and was printed on the Kamloops Mission Press.

Ignis, the Nisga’a story of the formation of a large lava plain in the Naas Valley, written in both English and Nisga’a and printed by missionary James Benjamin McCullagh on the Aiyansh Mission Press in the early 20th century.

The exhibition was originally curated by the Alicia Fahey (PhD Student, Department of English) and Chelsea Horton (PhD Candidate, Department of History). Their impressive research resulted in a fascinating, scholarly, and detailed exhibition catalogue, which includes an introductory essay, item descriptions, and a checklist of extant missionary printing press imprints. Many thanks to Alicia and Chelsea for their incredible work!

The exhibition will run from June 3 until June 28, 2013, in RBSC, on level one of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, and is open to the public Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The theme for UBC Library’s Aboriginal (Un)History Month this year is “Engaging Indigenous Knowledge(s).” The month-long series of events, exhibitions, and displays will introduce ways UBC Indigenous scholars are bridging communities and transforming academic spaces through Indigenous approaches to research, pedagogy, and governance. Aboriginal (Un)History Month also aims to educate and invite dialogue about (inter)relationships between place, recognition, and memory.

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Featured place: Columbia River

Posted on April 24, 2013 @12:55 pm by sromkey

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.

 

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Easter weekend closures

Posted on March 28, 2013 @9:00 am by sromkey

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.

 

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Archival collections continue to be unavailable until April 2

Posted on March 27, 2013 @9:59 am by sromkey

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.

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Archival collections largely unavailable March 25-26

Posted on March 21, 2013 @2:55 pm by sromkey

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.

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.

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Archival collections largely unavailable March 25-28

Posted on March 21, 2013 @2:55 pm by sromkey

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.

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Featured place: Trail

Posted on March 21, 2013 @12:00 pm by sromkey

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.

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Featured place: Namu

Posted on February 13, 2013 @11:50 am by sromkey

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.

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Happy birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

Posted on January 28, 2013 @1:06 pm by sromkey

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.

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Happy Burns Day!

Posted on January 25, 2013 @9:51 am by sromkey

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.

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