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Recently updated archives: Doris Shadbolt and Literary Storefront

Two archival collections at Rare Books and Special Collections which were updated over the summer: Doris Shadbolt fonds: Doris Shadbolt (1918-2003) was a well-known figure in the Canadian art world for her curatorial work at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and her seminal works on Emily Carr and Bill Reid.  A recent addition to this collection […]

The Ties that Bind- new resource on Chinese Canadians and the C.P.R.

A new online resource called The Ties that Bind gives historical information and images about the Chinese involvement in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, head tax and exclusion, and the eventually success of Chinese Canadians:

“The Ties That Bind: Building the CPR, Building a Place in Canada examines the struggle of the Chinese Canadian community to establish an identity and roots in Canada. Through archival evidence and research of the men who came from China to build the transcontinental railroad in the 1880s, and the use of oral testimony of their descendants, The Ties That Bind preserves a seldom told part of Canada’s history.”

The historical stories are told along side oral histories from head tax payers and the descendants of head tax payers.  There is also a special section of Learning Resources.

Thanks to Brad Lee for bringing this terrific new resource to our attention!

New online Labour collection at USask

Rare Books and Special Collections is well-known for our extensive collections on labour in British Columbia. We were excited therefore to see a new digital collection from the University of Saskatchewan on labour in that province.   The collection contains over 2,494 images or textual documents scanned from over 32 fonds and collections at 8 different […]

Chinatown Festival

This weekend, the 11th Vancouver Chinatown Festival will be held on Columbia and Keefer Streets.  If you’re in the area be sure to check out the historic photograph/artwork exhibition at the Chinese Cultural Centre (555 Columbia Street), featuring photographs from the Chung Collection and artwork by students at Emily Carr.  The exhibition will run from now until around the end of the month, so if you don’t make it this weekend you still have time.

For more information about the Vancouver Chinatown Festival, click here.

Rare Books and Special Collections closed August 9, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Due to a special event, Rare Books and Special Collections will be closed to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, August 9, 2010. We thank-you for your understanding and regret any inconvenience this closure may cause. If you have any questions, please contact us by email or by phone at […]

Featured researcher: Family history on the S.S. Montclare

From time to time we hope to share stories from researchers using the Chung Collection.  Recently we had a request for images from an American genealogist, whose family immigrated to Canada from Poland on the S.S. Montclare, a Canadian Pacific Liner.  Here’s his story:

“The following is a summary of how I came across The Chung Collection and how I am using the photographs from this extraordinary collection. I came across The Chung Collection during an Internet search, while doing some genealogical research on my family. Over the past few years, I have been researching family members on my grandmother’s side who came from a small town called Wlodzimierzec. It was part of Poland before WWII and now is called Vladimirets, and is part of the Ukraine. Part of my research includes obtaining copies of the original passenger ship records for each family member. These records provide a phenomenal amount of information. Part of the information includes the name of the ship along with dates of departure and arrival. This particular passenger record indicated the ship was named the SS (Steam Ship) Montclare, a Canadian liner. As part of my research, I put together a detailed review of each ship that a family member had traveled on. This includes, detailed log history of port departures and arrivals and movement during WWI or WWII, if any. I also include exterior and interior photographs. This is where I came across The Chung Collection. Looking for ship photos, I came across this collection and found detailed interior and exterior photos of the ship from one its routes in the Mediterranean while serving as a pleasure cruise ship from September 23 to October 7, 1933. I was excited to be able to locate these photos and it is a testament to the University for preserving these photographs. It was even more interesting to find out that my Aunt and Uncle immigrated to Canada on this ship from Europe exactly one month after the ship completed its Mediterranean cruise.

This site has been a tremendous help in my research and I am sure many others will find something of interest. It’s through the passionate work of archivists that allow others to see through a window to the past.”

The photograph above shows another immigrant family on the Montclare, the McKenna family from Northern Ireland. You can read more about this image in the Chung Collection database.

Thank you to our featured researcher for sharing his story! If you have a Chung Collection story you would like to share, please email us at

Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) unavailable – June 24 to June 28, 2010

Due to library catalogue upgrades, the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) will be unavailable from June 24th to June 28th, 2010. Please contact Rare Books and Special Collections ( or 604-822-2521) by June 23, 2010 if you are planning to visit during this time period and wish to consult archival material.

Chinese history on the Prairies

Our colleagues at the University of Alberta have mounted an exhibition called “The other side of Gold Mountain: Glimpses of Chinese pioneer life on the Prairies.”  The Drs. Chung recently donated a number of documents related to the Chinese history on the Praries to the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library at U of A, and the exhibition also contains several items on loan from the Chung Collection here at UBC.

For more information on the exhibition, visit:

Workshop on Taishan and Zhongshan Immigrants in North America

The UBC Asian Library is presenting a workshop on Taishan and Zhongshan immigrants in North America, for genealogists, students and scholars.  After guest speeches and opportunities to collaborate, participants will have the opportunity to tour the Asian Library and the Chung Collection.

See the Asian Library for more information.