Show and Tell: Selections from our Personal Archives and Libraries
How we remember, and what we hold dear, differs from person to person. All of us have personal archives we keep to preserve memories that are precious, that document our families, our histories and record important events. It could be a simple piece of ephemera we love and cannot part with (a ticket stub from our first concert, for example), or photographs of ancestors that offer clues to our origins, or anything we have set aside and saved for a myriad reasons. Similarly, our personal libraries hold volumes that have emotional value to us, not just for the words contained in it, but as a reflection of a time in our lives, we found them particularly relevant. This could be the first book of poetry that made us fall in love with verse, or the dog-eared copy of a classic novel that led us to our current passion for libraries and library work. This blog series explores selections from the personal libraries and archives of members of the Rare Books and Special Collections team, and other colleagues from UBC Library and beyond. We hope our stories will help you reflect on what is meaningful at this time in your, and in our, collective histories.
— Krisztina Laszlo, Archivist
Stephanie Plumb, Library Services Assistant – Records Management
I can trace my journey from Arizona to British Columbia back to a single, defining moment: when I purchased a copy of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer in 2007. The book cover looked interesting, and advertised that it had been made into a feature film. As I devoured the story of Chris McCandless, a 20-something year old who goes off the grid to connect with nature and journey to Alaska, all of my Thoreauean sensibilities were awakened and I knew I had to follow in suit. I quit my job, packed my car, and set out for a 3-month long road trip from Phoenix to Talkeetna, Alaska. There, in the shadow of Denali, I met my future Canadian husband at a local hostel. The same story had inspired him to travel to Alaska. Five years later, after much city-hopping, backpacking, and immigration paper filing, I landed in Kelowna as a Canadian permanent resident. In 2014, I was gifted this first-edition copy of Into the Wild, which holds a place of honor on my bookshelf. Though many years have gone by and I have learned how to temper my wanderlust, when I hear Eddie Vedder crooning “Big Hard Sun” from the Into the Wild soundtrack, I look off to the horizon, aware of the itch in my feet.