Archives by date

You are browsing the site archives by date.

Coordinated Arts Program visit to the Chung Collection

In January, the Rare Books and Special Collections and the Chung Collection hosted almost 100 first year undergraduate students from the Coordinated Arts Program. Students in CAP choose one of four themes and take core classes tailored to that theme.

Students from the Law and Society theme are studying early immigration, racism and community in early Vancouver, and came for two sessions: a tour of the Chung Collection exhibition space, and a session to talk about doing research in an archival environment. They will be using documents and artifacts from the Chung Collection for their research project this semester.

Students from the Individual and Society theme read Joy Kogawa’s novel Obasan so they came primarily to see the archives of Joy Kogawa, which are held in Rare Books and Special Collections. They also viewed documents from the Japanese Canadian Research Collection and a sign from an internment camp for Japanese-Canadians during World War II.

UBC faculty members who would like to bring their students to see the Chung Collection are encouraged to contact the Rare Books and Special Collections Archivist at It is a great opportunity to introduce students to using archival material for their research.

Thanks to Greg Mackie and Kathryn Grafton from the Coordinated Arts Program for coordinating these visits!

Gung hay fat choy!

Happy Chinese New Year! By way of celebration, we’re going to try to make our way through the Chinese zodiac using photographs from the Chung Collection. (Now updated to include ox and tiger!)

Since this is the year of the Rabbit, we’ll start there. This photograph is from an album of photos taken by a Chinese-American teenager between 1915 and 1918 named Jue Fong, or Frank Jue.  Aside from rabbits and other furry friends, this album is a wonderful source of images showing everyday life for Chinese-American teens in the early 20th century.  Frank and his friends were very theatrical and humorous, which comes across in the photographs and their captions.

This dragon sculpture we believe was exhibited at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver in the 1970’s. If you know more about this sculpture, please tell us about it at !





An image of a snake charmer was found in an album from the world cruise on the C.P.R. steamer Empress of Britain in 1930. Ports of call on this cruise included Spain, Italy, Egypt, India, Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Hong Kong, China, and Hawaii. This snake charmer may have been in Singapore.


This horse and wagon scene is found in the Clandonald material in the Chung Collection.  While the Chung Collection is possibly best known for its Chinese Canadian content, we also hold a valuable archive of material related to a Scottish colony in Alberta called Clandonald, one of many settled by the C.P.R. colonization department.

Another world traveler brought us this sheep photograph. It was taken in New Zealand by Ken Seaton’s on a world cruise aboard the Empress of Britain ca. 1930.






This photograph of a monkey (or possibly a baboon?) being led on a leash was taken in Indonesia. Another world cruise album, this one was taken by Franklin and Jane Sykes between 1927 and 1928 on the Empress of Australia.



The closest that can be found in the Chung Collection to a rooster is a chicken. This image, titled “A chicken in one hand…” by the photographer depicts a Chinese woman in San Francisco’s Chinatown holding a chicken in one hand, and probably her grandson in the other.  This is one of many images we have in the Chung Collection showing San Francisco’s Chinatown, and dates from around 1900.


This stunning photo of a forest on Vancouver Island depicts a man with his dog and is from an album of photographs depicting the Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich area. This album is a bit of a mystery- we have dated it to around 1910 but the photographer and original owner are both unknown.

The only pigs to be found in Chung Collection photographs unfortunately have met their end- this photograph of street vendors in Hong Kong with roast pigs is the front of a postcard, sold as souvenirs on the Canadian Pacific cruise ships.  

As for rats, we could not find any in the Chung Collection. Depending on your opinion of rats, this might be a good thing!

This photograph of oxen pushing a waterwheel in Mumbai is from an album of photographs from the Empress of Australia and Empress of Britain world tours, which we believe was assembled by a crew member who worked on these ships. Documents related to the experience of CPR crew members can bring an interesting perspective, different from that of travelers.

While we could not locate any photos of tigers per se, this photograph of traveler Kitty David was taken at Tiger Hill in Suzhou, still a popular tourist destination. You can see the Yunyan Pagoda in the background.  We have three photograph albums of Kitty David’s travels through China, this one from her 1932 tour through China . We do not know much about her, but she seems to have travelled with a partner or a guide since many of the photographs have her in them. Some of the photographs depict destruction from the Sino-Japanese War.

We hope you enjoyed this tour through the Chinese zodiac- it certainly shows how diverse material in the Chung Collection is. Gung hay fat choy!

The photographs used in this post can be found by searching for the following identifers:

Rabbit: CC-PH-00907

Dragon: CC-PH-00242

Snake: CC-PH-05131

Horse: CC-PH-02191

Sheep: CC-PH-02367

Monkey: CC-PH-04901

Rooster: CC-PH-02010

Dog: CC-PH-06418

Pig: CC-PH-03619

Ox: CC-PH-03529

Tiger: CC-PH-00544

Featured room: Ridington Room

This week, we thought that we would post on the Ridington Room, a room in the Barber Centre that is not named after a place in British Columbia. Rather, the Ridington Room (room 321)  is named after an important person in the history of the University of British Columbia Library: John Ridington. John Ridington was […]

Chinese Canadian soccer history

A favorite for visitors to the Chung Collection exhibition is the portrait of the 1926 Chinese Canadian soccer team, taken by C.B. Wand. Many are familiar with the history of Chinese Canadian soccer, and those who were not will be now: the 1933 Chinese Students Soccer team has been inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. The inductee biography describes the talent of the team and its importance to the Chinese Canadian community:

“Vancouver’s Chinatown would empty during Chinese Students’ matches down at the old Powell Street or Cambie Street grounds. The games served as a brief respite for a people living through the dual burdens of a widespread economic depression and daily racial prejudice from the surrounding white population, its most blatant forms the infamous Head Tax and the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act. The players became heroes for the community, revered for their quickness, skill, and determination in the face of white opponents who often employed openly rough and dirty tactics…Formed in 1920 and active until 1942, the team reached its apex during the 1933 season even gaining a grudging respect from the largely white Vancouver press, who marveled at the clinical goal-scoring of forward Quene Yip, a 1998 BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee, the deft passing of his brother Art Yip, and the cat-like quickness of goaltender Shupon Wong.”

The team has good company with other 2011 inductees including Trevor Linden and the B.C. team members of the 2010 Olympic Men’s hockey team! You can read more about their induction in the Globe and Mail.

To find more material in the Chung Collection related to soccer and other sports, try searching for terms such as soccer or football, athletes or sports.

New documentary art collection

A small collection of drawings and paintings from turn of the century Vancouver has been recently catalogued at Rare Books and Special Collections. The Albert Lindgren fonds contains 37 small watercolour paintings and 9 drawings, dating from ca. 1900-1903.  The paintings and drawings mostly depict Vancouver-area waterfront views, as Lindgren was a ship captain. Archives […]

“The Golden Age of Steamship Travel” at Vancouver Maritime Museum

A lot of people do not realize that the Chung Collection has a “sister-” Drs. Chung made a donation of maritime-related material to the Vancouver Maritime Museum in addition to the collection donated to UBC. The “other” Chung Collection consists of over 3800 books and periodicals, 1400 photographs and 600 posters, including technical drawings and posters on the subjects of tourism and immigration.

From Dec. 7 – till April 1 2011 the Vancouver Maritime Musuem is exhibiting items from their Chung Collection in an exhibition titled “The Golden Age of Steamship Travel: Voyages of Immigration that Changed Canada.”  Highlights include a 1929 model of the Empress of Japan (II) (like our Empress of Asia model, also restored by Dr. Chung), a biography of the Chungs, and descriptions of the Atlantic Steamship companies and ships and the evolution of the steamship industry.

Also, a few items have been borrowed from our Chung Collection, including a set of empress dishware, a head tax certificate and a poster depicting Amor de Cosmos “throwing out” a man of Chinese descent.

Check the Vancouver Maritime Museum website for hours and admission information!