Digital collection of Emma Crosby letters available online

Posted on September 30, 2008 @2:35 pm by kalsbeek

An illuminating set of letters from the wife of a prominent Methodist missionary in B.C. is now freely available online.

The letters from Emma Crosby (1849-1926) provide a fascinating glimpse into the missionary experience. Due to her gender, Emma was not able to become a missionary, although her husband Thomas served as one on the north coast of B.C. The letters describe how women such as Emma sustained their husbands and served as missionaries in all but name.

UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections division (RBSC) holds 87 letters written by Emma Crosby as part of the Thomas and Emma Crosby fonds. The majority of these letters were written from Fort Simpson, B.C., to her family in Ontario between 1874 and 1892.

Jan Hare, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and Jean Barman, Professor Emerita in the Department of Educational Studies, provided the inspiration for developing this digital collection. Barman offered to provide RBSC with transcriptions of Crosby’s letters, created for Hare and Barman’s recent publication, Good Intentions Gone Awry. This book discusses Emma Crosby’s missionary life and the legacy of her work at Fort Simpson.

The digitization of the Crosby letters was a collaboration between RBSC and University Archives. Bronwen Sprout, Digital Initiatives Librarian at Archives, and Katherine Kalsbeek, Reference Librarian at RBSC, led the project.

Special thanks to: April Ens, a former professional experience student from the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, who digitized the letters and created the metadata for the collection; and Leslie Field, Archives Assistant, who provided expert assistance and guidance with the digitization work. Thanks also to Jan Hare and Jean Barman for the transcripts of Crosby’s letters and for their introduction that accompanies the digital collection.

You can view the collection at http://angel.library.ubc.ca/crosby.html. Please send comments to Bronwen Sprout (bronwen.sprout@ubc.ca) or Katherine Kalsbeek (katherine.kalsbeek@ubc.ca).

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Rare Chapbooks Featured in Exhibition

Posted on July 24, 2008 @11:03 am by kalsbeek

An exhibition of nineteenth-century English chapbooks is currently on display at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC). Chapbooks are booklets that were popular in rural areas and towns from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Literature of this sort was a miscellany, spanning jestbooks to histories of depraved criminals, medieval romances to song verses. Although once read by many, chapbooks are extremely delicate and ephemeral: being cheaply produced on low-quality paper and small in size, they were not made to survive over time. Many are illustrated with luridly coloured woodcuts. There are over three hundred in RBSC, many of which are part of the Arkley Collection of Early & Historical Children’s Literature. The exhibition demonstrates the collection’s value as a catalogue of the diverse themes covered by this type of print publication in nineteenth-century Britain.

The exhibition, created by English Master’s student Catherine Whitehead, will run from July 2008 to the end of November 2008. RBSC is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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Fine Lines: An exhibition on artist and writer, Heather Spears

Posted on April 25, 2005 @12:33 am by kalsbeek

UBC Rare Books and Special Collections and Koerner Library would like to announce the opening of: Fine Lines: An exhibition on artist and writer, Heather Spears, on now at Koerner Library. Curated by students from the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies with assistance from Rare Books and Special Collections, the exhibition features material recently donated to the library.

The exhibition showcases unpublished material documenting Heather Spears’ successful career as both a visual artist and a writer. A former UBC student, Heather Spears has published 11 collections of poetry (4 with drawings), 3 science fiction novels, 3 books of drawings, and 1 crime novel. Spears has won numerous awards for her artistic works including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry in 1989 for The Word for Sand. Spears has also held over 75 solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

The exhibition runs through the end of August 2005 and is located in Humanities & Social Sciences, Floor 2, Koerner Library.

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Textbook Exhibition

Posted on April 17, 2004 @11:29 pm by kalsbeek

UBC Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) is pleased to present, Hitting the Books: the Early Canadian School Textbook Collection in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. The RBSC textbook collection is one of the country’s largest, with books dating from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Some of the texts were printed in Britain or the United States of America, but the majority were printed in Canada.

This exhibition is a reconnaissance mission to provide a glimpse into some of the unique features of the collection. It looks at three early Canadian publishers and their works. It also provides some insight into the life of Canadian students from the late eighteenth through to the early twentieth century.

This exhibition is located in the display cases in Rare Books and Special Collections and will be on display from April to the end of August.

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