Rare Books and Special Collections acquires books and pamphlets in a number of areas of specialization. Our main interests are the exploration, history, literature, maps, social life and people’s of British Columbia. We also have strong interests in Canadian history and literature, selected areas of English literature, children’s literature, maps and cartobibliography, the history of science and medicine, as well as Guangdong Province of China.
Rare Books and Special Collections’ holdings of cartographic archives and historical maps are especially strong in pre-1800 world/hemispheres, pre-1900 North America and Pacific Rim, fire insurance plans of B.C. towns and cities, and Edo-period Japan. Also acquired as parts of larger archival collections and fonds are collections of maps (both printed and hand-drawn), architectural drawings, and plans and blueprints.
The manuscript collections include materials documenting the economic, political, cultural, labour, and literary history of British Columbia. Prominent among these holdings are the records of the MacMillan Bloedel forestry company, the British Columbia Electric Railway and the Malcolm Lowry collection.
Find resources for exploring and learning about our collections below.
For a complete version of the Rare Books and Special Collection’s collection policy see the UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections General Guidelines for Collecting and List of Major Collections Print and Archival, available in PDF format.