Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:15 pm by cshriver
Please join us for a series of talks in honour of Remembrance Day, sponsored by Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library.
Tragic Bravery: Canada and the Battle of Hong Kong
November 4, 2016
Cameron Cathcart, President of the Royal United Services Institute – Vancouver Society (RUSI) and director of Vancouver’s Remembrance Day ceremonies at Victory Square
When asked if he thought the British Colony of Hong Kong could be defended against an invasion by the Japanese in 1941, Winston Churchill replied, “not the slightest chance”. This prediction forms the background to the fatal decision by Ottawa 75 years ago to send Canadian troops into the maelstrom that became known as the Battle of Hong Kong. As the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong approaches, Cameron Cathcart will provide an overview of the battle, its aftermath, and delve into the personal lives of the brave Canadians whose lives were changed forever.
Canada’s Secret Sailors: Asian Crewmen and Canadian Vessels in the Indo-Pacific Theatre
November 8, 2016
Clifford J. Pereira, FRGS, Independent researcher, curator, and museum consultant
Based on research gathered over the last two years from national, provincial, and naval archives in Canada, Australia, and the U.K, Clifford J. Pereira will tell the forgotten story of hundreds of non-resident Asian seamen on vessels of the Canadian Pacific Railway deployed by the British Admiralty in the Pacific and Indian Oceans during the First World War.
Remembering the Great War with Canadian Writers and Artists
November 10, 2016
Sherrill Grace, OC, FRSC, Professor Emerita of English and University Killam Professor
While Canada has been surprisingly low key about commemorating the Great War since 2014, we do have a wealth of artistic material that does important work in reconstructing and remembering the war. Dr. Sherrill Grace will consider how Canada remembers the war, and why it is important to do so, focusing on works by Canadians writing about the war from a late-20th century perspective.
All three talks are located in the Lillooet Room (301) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus. The talks are free and open to the public.
In conjunction with the talks, a special display, Empires and Empresses at War, will be featured in RBSC’s Chung Collection exhibition room from November 4-November 30, 2016. The display, curated by Clifford J. Pereira, with curatorial assistance from Katie Sloan, showcases the importance of Canadian shipping vessels and the role of Asians and Asian-Canadians serving on Canadian vessels during World War I.
For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at 604 822-2521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.No Comments
Posted on September 14, 2016 @1:13 pm by cshriver
Rare Books and Special Collections is delighted to host a new exhibition: Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna: Writing Hybridity on the Cusp of the 20th Century.
Curated by Jennifer Tang, an undergraduate research assistant at UBC; Dr. Mary Chapman, Professor of English at UBC; and Brandy Liên Worrall-Soriano, an author and editor with an MFA from UBC, the exhibition explores the fascinating story of sisters Edith Eaton and Winnifred Eaton.
Chinese-North American authors Edith Eaton (1865-1914) and Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954) were members of a large Chinese Canadian family who settled in Montreal in 1872. Their mother, Achuen Amoy (1843-1921), had been a Chinese slave girl who toured the world with a Chinese acrobatic troupe. Their father, Edward Eaton (1839-1915), was an Englishman from a Cheshire silk manufacturing town but had worked in Asia.
Born during an era of discrimination toward Chinese immigrants in North America and of even greater discrimination toward mixed-race individuals, the sisters devoted much of their writing careers to exploring the little-understood position of the mixed-race (“hapa”) individual.
Edith published most of her work under the pseudonym “Sui Sin Far,” which is the Cantonese name for a narcissus flower often presented as a gift at Christmas or Chinese New Year. As “Sui Sin Far,” Edith wrote fiction and journalism about the diasporic Chinese community.
Winnifred, by contrast, assumed the pseudo-Japanese name “Onoto Watanna” and wrote novels set in Japan, a land she had never visited. She posed in kimonos for photographers and made frequent public comments about Japanese traditions and politics. Her appropriation of Japanese culture has led some scholars to characterize Winnifred as the “bad” Eaton sister and Edith as the “good” Eaton sister. But is the story that simple?
Sui Sin Far and Onoto Watanna: Writing Hybridity on the Cusp of the 20th Century is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre through October 15, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturday, October 15, from 12-5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or email@example.com.No Comments
Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:25 pm by cshriver
It’s been an exciting week here at RBSC! We’ve been celebrating the arrival of a new book to our collection: The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, published by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press in 1896. The book, more colloquially known as the “Kelmscott Chaucer,” is one of only 438 copies printed and one of only 48 copies with a stunning binding created by the Doves Bindery and designed by Morris. This Kelmscott Press masterwork was described by the poet William Butler Yeats as the “most beautiful of all printed books.”
The Vancouver Sun, the CBC, and others have shared our excitement about the Kelmscott Chaucer this week. You can read and hear coverage about the acquisition here:
- “UBC Library acquires copy of ‘The Most Beautiful of All Printed Books’ – The Kelmscott Chaucer,” CKNW AM 980 – The Simi Sara Show, August 24, 2016. (starts at 05:17)
- “Sense of Place with Minelle Mahtani,” Roundhouse Radio, August 24, 2016.
- “UBC proud owner of $202,000 US rare book from 1896,” Vancouver Sun, August 24, 2016.
- “UBC acquires rare hand-printed Victorian Chaucer volume,” CBC British Columbia, August 24, 2016.
- “Ex-felon voting, bear conservation officer, Kelmscott Chaucer (Part 1),” CBC As It Happens, August 23, 2016. (starts at 17:00)
You can find some amazing photos here, but if you’d like to see the Kelmscott Chaucer in person (and who wouldn’t?!), drop in to our weekly tour / open house. The open house highlights materials from our diverse collections and includes a tour of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection exhibition space. The tour / open house runs every Wednesday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., no appointment necessary. We looking forward to seeing you there!1 Comment
Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:16 pm by cshriver
In honour of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Canadian première of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rare Books and Special Collections was delighted to create a display highlighting some of the unique and remarkable copies of the first Harry Potter story from its children’s literature collection. This four-case display was at the Orpheum Theatre for the three performances on July 21, July 22, and July 23, and now will be on exhibit in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room until the end of August.
The display, which features signed first editions, special editions, illustration editions, and foreign language editions of this beloved book, also highlights some of the profound and surprising connections that Vancouver shares with the Harry Potter series. (Kidsbooks in Vancouver was the first bookstore in all of Canada to carry Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and hosted four legendary book release parties, while Raincoast Books in Vancouver published the Canadian editions of the Harry Potter series until 2010.)
You can visit the Harry Potter display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from through August 31, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.No Comments
Posted on August 5, 2016 @4:20 pm by cshriver
Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library was excited to recently complete the processing for a new collection of archival materials. The Western Forest Products collection reflects the forestry operations and projects undertaken by Western Forest Products–a major harvesting and lumber manufacturing company operating in the coastal regions of British Columbia–and their predecessors. The majority of the material dates to the 1980s, with some material dating to as early as the 1950s and as late as the early 2000s. Much of the contents relates to MacMillan Bloedel Limited, in particular their tree farm licenses (TFLs), silvicultural practices, and some corporate information.
David Brownstein, the principal of Klahanie Research Ltd and the co-ordinator of “The Canadian Forest History Preservation Project,” who was involved with the transfer of the collection to Rare Books and Special Collections, has written a great blog post about the transfer process.
You can read more about these records and see photos of RBSC’s archivist, Krisztina Laszlo, hard at work at David blog post.
Posted on April 22, 2016 @8:39 am by cshriver
Join us for a special celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Governor General’s (GG) Literary Awards. In honour of this historic occasion, UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections is proud to present the exhibition, Words & Pictures: Book Illustration in Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards.
Curated by UBC Master of Library and Information Studies candidates Johanna Ahn, Chloe Humphreys, and Leah Payne, along with UBC professor Dr. Andrew Irvine, the exhibit traces the evolution of the Awards, detailing our rich Canadian heritage in the areas of book art and illustration.
The exhibit showcases a wide array of stunning original artwork, hand drawn sketches, and first edition books created by some of Canada’s most talented authors and illustrators. Isabelle Arsenault, Stéphane Jorisch, Janice Nadeau and Emily Carr represent only 4 of the 25+ creators whose work is highlighted.
Words & Pictures is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floors of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from April 22 through June 30, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. People of all ages are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or email@example.com.
We hope to see you there!No Comments
Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:29 pm by cshriver
Many thanks to guest blogger Paige Hohmann, a graduate student at UBC’s School School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, for contributing the below post!
“Time is the longest distance between two places.” – Tennessee Williams
This week marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë on April 21, 1816, and as writer Ian Frazier has said, “Every once in a while, people need to be in the presence of things that are really far away.”
The lives of the Brontës are familiar to many. The six Brontë siblings, motherless from early ages, lived, in many ways, tragic lives. All died young – two in childhood of tuberculosis, which had also claimed their mother. The four siblings that survived to adulthood – Charlotte (1816-1855), Patrick Branwell (1817-1848), Emily (1818-1848), and Anne (1820-1849) – rose to literary prominence that would endure.
Three sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, initially published pseudonymously under the respective pen names Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. All three wrote novels that would become cannon in Victorian and Gothic Literature (Jane Eyre for Charlotte, Wuthering Heights for Emily, and The Tenant and Wildfell Hall for Anne).
In a “biographical notice” written in 1850 and published in the preface of the 1922 edition of Wuthering Heights (p. xiv, PR4172 .W9 1922), Charlotte Brontë (as Currer Bell) describes the trajectory of herself and her sisters as poets and novelists:
We had very early cherished the dream of one day becoming authors. This dream, never relinquished even when distance divided and absorbing tasks occupied us, now suddenly acquired strength and consistency; it took the character of resolve. We agreed to arrange a small selection of our poems, and, if possible, get them printed. Averse to personal publicity, we veiled our own names under those of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell; the ambiguous choice being dictated by a soft of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because – without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called “feminine” – we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice ; we had noticed how critics sometimes use for their chastisement the weapon of personality, and for their reward, flattery which is not true praise.
The Brontë sisters are noteworthy not only for their writing talent, but also for a worldly sophistication and comprehension of gender dynamics that has a contemporary ring. Charlotte Brontë, specifically, in applying this insight to her writing was successful in Jane Eyre in producing:
Almost all that we require in a novelist… :perception of character and power of delineating it; picturesqueness, passion, and knowledge of life. This story is not only of singular interest, naturally evolved, unflagging to the last, but it fastens itself upon your attention and will not leave you (Westminster Review,1848. Reproduced in the “Opinions of the Press” prefatory section of the second edition).
In honour of her 200th birthday, RBSC would like to highlight some of our collection rare and special works by Charlotte Brontë and her sisters on our blog.
This rare book – The Adventures of Ernest Alembert – was in general Library circulation until January 1980, but was identified (by Professor Emeritus of English Herbert J. Rosengarten, who is also responsible for the collection bearing his name) for transfer to RBSC due to its great rarity, both as a limited edition of an unusual text, and as a production of T.J. Wise.
Wise, for his part, was a bibliographer of renown in the 19th and early 20th centuries – and also an infamous forger and thief. RBSC has a number of items in the Thomas J. Wise Collection relating to his career. The book contains two facsimiles of pages of the original 1830 manuscript (where the cursive hand is evident). The original manuscript resides today in the Carl H. Pforzheimer Library, NYPL.
Another gem from the Herbert J. Rosengarten Collection is a second edition of Jane Eyre, which includes a number of features not present in the first edition that makes it particularly valuable to researchers. The book include extracts of contemporary book reviews following Jane Eyre’s initial publication (pictured left). From the wisdom afforded by temporal distance, today’s reader can smile at the irony a review from The Examiner:
There are, it is true, in this autobiography (which though relating to a woman, we do not believe to have been written by a woman), struggles and throes, and misgivings… We confess that we like an author who throws himself into the front of the battle, as the champion of the weaker party; and when this is followed up by bold and skillful soldiership, we are compelled to yield him our respect.
This edition is also the first to have a plate stating dedication of the novel to William Makepeace Thackeray (author of Vanity Fair, PR5618 .A1 1849 at RBSC), and, also unlike the first edition, has a preface by the author herself. In addition to thanking the public, the press, and the publishers, and a “miscellaneous remark” that contextualizes both the text’s literary themes and the disposition of Brontë as a woman writer in a man’s world: “Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last… Men too often confound them; they should not be confounded ; appearance should not be mistaken for truth.”
See further commentary on the preface courtesy of the British Library’s Victorian and Romantic Literature collection.
Now out of print, this mid-century edition of Jane Eyre (at right) is a feast for the eyes. You can read more on the wood cuts by Fritz Eichenberg in The Wood and the Graver: The Work of Frize Eichenberg by Alan Fern, available at NE1112.E32 A47 1977 in the Music, Art and Architecture Library, two floors up from RBSC.
This volume of poetry (below), an anthology jointly authored by all three Brontë sisters under their assumed pen names, represents their first published work. The first issue (Aylott and Jones, 1846) sold poorly, but the edition was reissued by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1848. Re-issued again after the success of Jane Eyre in 1850, the book at last became a success.
As April 21 is also “Put a Poem in Your Pocket Day,” please enjoy “Faith and Despondency” by Ellis Bell:
The winter wind is loud and wild,
Come close to me by darling child;
Forsake they books, and mateless play;
And, while the night is gathering grey,
We’ll talk its pensive hours away.
Beyond the titles mentioned above , RBSC has a number of additional works by Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte. A list is provided below, or you can ask one of our friendly staff for assistance.
Articles on the Brontës : [a collection of articles extracted from magazines and reviews between 1849 and 1886]. From the library of the late Earl of Rosebery, K.G.
Bronte Poems: selections from the poetry of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell Brontë. Published by J. Murray, 1915. PR10.S2 B4 1915 B7
Jane Eyre : an autobiography by Currer Bell ; in three volumes. London: Smith, Elder, 1848.
PR4167 .J2 1848
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, with wood engravings by Fritz Eichenberg. New York: Random House, 1943.
PR4167 .J2 1943
Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, 1st edition, 2nd issue. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1846. PR4167 .P6 1848
The Adventures of Ernest Alembert: A Fairy Tale, by Charlotte Bronte, edited by Thomas J. Wise. London: Thomas J. Wise, for private circulation only, 1896. One of only thirty copies.
PR4167 .A3 1896
The Life of Charlotte Bronte / by E.C. Gaskell (Elizabeth Gaskell) in two volumes. London : Smith, Elder & Co., 1857. PR4168 .G212 1857
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë. With twelve coloured illustrations by Edmund Dulac. London & Toronto, J.M. Dent & Sons; New York, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1922.
PZ7.B765 Tn 1922
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. With six coloured illustrations by Edmund Dulac. London & Toronto, J.M. Dent & Sons; New York, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1922. PR4172 .W9 1922No Comments
Posted on February 28, 2017 @2:21 pm by cshriver
Did you see UBC Library’s Harry Potter and the Rain City exhibition last fall? Did you attend the Harry Potter, Brands of Magic colloquium or the Hallowe’en at Hogwarts West party? If so, we’d love to know what you thought!
Please complete our survey at the below link:
Tell us what you liked, tell us what you didn’t, and, most importantly, tell us what you want UBC Library to do next!No Comments
Posted on March 10, 2016 @7:37 pm by cshriver
2015 was an exciting year for Rare Books and Special Collections. In UBC Library’s Centennial year, RBSC worked diligently to enhance its collections to meet the present needs of UBC faculty and students, to anticipate future areas of research and scholarship, and to build on its legacy of past collecting.
What’s Old Is New Again features a small selection of highlights from RBSC’s 2015 acquisitions, including items dating from the 11th century to 2015, with geographical coverage from Japan’s Hokkaido Island to Vancouver. With materials running the gamut from books, bills, diaries, and maps to ephemera, photographs, artworks, and even toys, the exhibition reflects the breadth and variety of RBSC’s collections. Make sure to keep an eye out for the “RBSC favourites,” top picks of RBSC’s archivists, librarians, staff, and students especially selected from among many 2015 acquisitions.
What’s Old Is New Again is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from March 1 through April 8, 2016, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on March 8, 2016 @3:43 pm by cshriver
Many thanks to guest blogger Matt Warner, a graduate student in the Department of English at UBC, for contributing the below post!
The Book of Homage to Shakespeare is a strange book. The product of a very distinct moment of British imperial history, it paints a picture of its subject that is at once generously expansive and narrowly possessive. Comprising contributions from some hundred and fifty-odd critics and poets from around the world, the book fits neatly into the category of what George Bernard Shaw once termed “Bardolatry”—over-the-top and hard to justify celebration of Britain’s informal national poet.
Published on the occasion of the tricentenary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916, the Book of Homage is a polyglot compendium of scholarly essays, bad poetry and personal reflection. It shows a Shakespeare who is, the contributors claim, “for all time” as Ben Jonson put it in one of the commendatory poems attached to the First Folio of Shakespeare’s work. Like that earlier poem, much of the verse (and prose) in the Book of Homage is dedicated to Shakespeare’s allegedly unique ability to transcend time and place to move his readers, whatsoever their language and whatsoever their circumstances. Contributions to the Book of Homage include Armenian, Japanese, Persian, Chinese, French, Old Norse, Russian and dozens of other languages. Translations are far from universal—for any reader, some fairly significant portion of this book is guaranteed to be behind a language barrier of one kind or another. (And sometimes, as Gordon McMullen has noted in the case of the Gaelic contribution of Douglas Hyde, the English translation hides a politically subversive original). It is the existence of these encomia that mattered to the editors; what any of them actually says is far less important.
From its origins at the centre of British Empire, then, the Book of Homage took its collected praises and shipped them around the world. 1250 copies were produced; UBC now owns three. Our first copy entered the UBC library catalogue on March 19, 1958, and still circulates—it’s currently checked out right now—and, having changed its fancy buckram binding (complete with the embossed coat of arms of Shakespeare) for a simple library binding, it’s the least interesting, but most accessible, of UBC’s copies. Our second copy lives in RBSC, and came to UBC as a part of Norman Colbeck Collection of Nineteenth-Century and Edwardian Poetry and Belles Lettres. This copy, evidently acquired somewhere in England, has a bit of history to it. From the Colbeck Catalogue description:
Inserted is an ALS [Autograph Letter Signed] of the editor to W. W. Greg~”My dear Greg”-on his Shoot-Up-Hill notepaper dated 6 March 1916: “I’m preparing a rather elaborate Book of Homage to Shakespeare . . .,” some 17 lines, also an ALS from Morton Luce (another contributor), with one of his printed Christmas Greetings, containing an original sonnet.
It’s not clear how either of these letters relates to the copy of the book that UBC owns—given that they represent two different ends to two different lines of communication, but they give an intriguing glimpse into the cultural milieu that produced the Book of Homage (and some might find Morton Luce’s original sonnet to be quite amusingly bad).
Far more interesting, at least here in Vancouver, than Luce’s poetry and the editorial correspondence of the Colbeck Collection’s Book of Homage, however, are the inclusions in our third copy of the Book of Homage. This book, one of RBSC’s latest acquisitions, previously belonged to Mrs. Jonathan Rogers, a prominent member of the Vancouver Shakespeare Society (VSS) in 1916 when the Book of Homage was published. Pasted into the back of the book are a photograph and a letter. The photograph is of Mrs. Rogers and the Vancouver Shakespeare Society, at the ceremonial planting of the “Shakespeare Tercentenary Oak” in Stanley Park, and the letter is from the Vancouver Archives to Mrs. Rogers, January 4th, 1945, responding to her inquiry about the location of the tree—it can, we are informed, be readily located from the telephone poles in the background of the photo. (The tree still exists today).
More than just a strange piece of Vancouver history, the VSS and its tree-planting habits show the “other end” of the imperial Shakespeare project undertaken by the Book of Homage. In this photograph, and the ceremony it documents, international, connected, timeless Shakespeare is reflected locally: from metropolitan London came the Book of Homage, but Vancouver made the tercentenary its own, too, ceremonial silver spade and all.