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Featured place: Stikine

In our ongoing series of places in B.C. used as room names in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, we will look at Stikine. This featured place and featured Rare Books and Special Collections resource is truly an ode to map cataloguers! The Stikine River is in northwestern B.C., emptying into the ocean in southeastern […]

Staged reading of Larry Wong’s new play, “Empress of Asia”

Friday March 23 and Saturday March 24 at 7 pm you are invited to a free staged reading of Larry Wong’s new play, Empress of Asia, based on his original one act play: Siu Yeh – A Midnight Snack. The readings will take place at the Firehall Arts Centre at 280 East Cordova Street. From the Firehall Arts Centre:

“Can a young woman, born at the dawn of the 20th Century, find happiness with a husband true to the ways of the Qing Dynasty and 20 years her senior? Only after she endures two weeks in the Pig Pen, pays her $500 Head Tax on her arrival in Canada and satisfies his foot fetish.

The development of Empress of Asia has been supported through the Community Historical Recognition Program, Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

For more information, visit or call 604.689.0926

Read by: BC Lee, Minh Ly, Lissa Neptuno, Nelson Wong, Andrea Yu

Written by Larry Wong
Director & Dramaturg: Donna Spencer
Set and Video Consultant: Craig Alfredson
Lighting Consultant: Jamie Burns
Costume Consultant: Sabrina Evertt”

Larry is well-known in the Vancouver community for his involvement with the Chinese Canadian Military Museum, the Vancouver Historical Society and the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of B.C., for which he writes the informative column “Ask Larry” on their website. It’s very exciting to have a local expert write a play with Empress of Asia as the title, since it is such an important ship to the Chung Collection!

As mentioned above, the reading is free and open to the public- no advance tickets required. Definitely a great outing for Friday or Saturday night!

New research guide: Forestry History and Archives

One of our collection’s areas of strength is the history of the forestry industry in B.C. We’re therefore happy to present a new research guide on Forestry History and Archives. Here you will find links to archival collections at Rare Books and Special Collections and University Archives about foresters and the forestry industry, information on […]

Featured photograph: McKenna Family on the S.S. Montclare

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, this month’s featured photograph is of an Irish family immigrating to Canada on the CPR steamship S.S. Montclare:

The photograph is captioned, “McKenna Family Coalisland S.S. Montclare,” which leads to the assumption that the family was probably from Coalisland in Northern Ireland. This photograph makes up part of the Clandonald material in the Chung Collection. This archival material tells the story of the settlement of Clandonald Colony in Alberta, which was a colony of immigrants from Scotland and Northern Ireland in 1926-27. This was just one community in the prairies settled under the auspices of the CPR Department of Colonization and Development (search for more records related to this department.)

Supposing you wanted to figure out the names of these passengers, the source you would want to consult is the passenger list for the voyage. While the Chung Collection does have some passenger lists (for example, search for Montclare passenger lists) the most thorough source is microfilmed passenger lists, typically available at public libraries. You can also search immigration records through this database at Library and Archives Canada. Since this photograph is dated 1927, search for the surname McKenna, in 1927, on the ship Montclare, a number of possible McKenna family members are listed.

WCILCOS Conference deadline extended

If you meant to register for the WCILCOS (World Confederation of Institutes and Libraries in Chinese Overseas Studies) conference here at UBC in May of this year but missed the deadline, there is good news: the deadline is extended until March 15. Past WCILCOS conferences “have been very successful in bringing librarians, institutes, and scholars in Chinese Overseas Studies together, not only in providing a platform for librarians to interact and exchange ideas with scholars and collectors, but also a platform for tackling issues in collection development, access, preservation, and information-sharing in the field of Chinese Overseas.”

You can check out the program here and registration information here.

Extraordinary women’s archives for International Women’s Day

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, a good day to highlight some of the archives of extraordinary women held at Rare Books and Special Collections: Rosemary Brown was a social worker and politician with the New Democratic Party. She was also an instructor of Women’s Studies at SFU, a CEO for MATCH International, and […]

Featured place: Victoria

We have been featuring resources from Rare Books and Special Collections that relate to the place names used in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre as room names. Sometimes we find it challenging to find a related resource; sometimes the challenge is in narrowing down our research! Such is the case with Victoria. Victoria B.C., […]