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Judging a Book by Its Cover

Posted on December 6, 2018 @3:03 pm by cshriver

Many thanks to guest blogger Karen Ng for contributing the below post! Karen is a graduate student at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and the co-curator of Judging a Book by Its Cover.

Fantastic Books and Where to See Them!

At Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC), I work as a student assistant, and it is both exciting and daunting to learn the collections and holdings. What do we have and what’s interesting about each thing? In searching for books with visually appealing covers that draw our attention, we turned our focus to items that show the progression of bookbinding techniques over time, as well as items that highlight Vancouver’s book arts scene. The exhibition, Judging a Book By Its Cover, showcases items from the following categories: early European bindings; works from local bookbinders and designers; artists’ books and odd formats; examples of the Arts and Crafts Movement; special qualities of bindings that make books unique; and notable and aesthetically beautiful covers.

Some of my favourite items from the exhibit include The WunderCabinet: The Curious Worlds of Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen, The Canned Think, and Le trésor du fidèle. The WunderCabinet is a charming contemporary cabinet of curiosities filled with odd bits and pieces alongside a journal inside the wooden box. The Canned Think, created by Tyrrell Mendis, Joel Matthews, and Jon Matthews, is a cute selection of “poemtry” inside a can. Finally, Le trésor du fidèle is a small book published some time in the 1800s. It lives in a plain little black box, and with a beautifully sculpted ivory cover with engraved initials, it sits in delightful contrast to one of the biggest books in the exhibit, a large music chant manuscript with wonderfully obnoxious metal bosses and clasps.

When nearly all the books on the shelves were beautiful, it was easy to pick out the ones with gold lettering and decorations for display. These books formed our cases that highlighted the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late nineteenth century, when there was an emphasis on aesthetics and the fine arts, which was a response of sorts to the industrial nature of mass-produced books. A major focus in this exhibition is also on the handmade quality of books ranging from medieval manuscripts to artists’ books. At times, it became difficult for me to fully appreciate the work and craftsmanship that went into artists’ books in particular when they looked like a machine had made them, and perhaps that’s the fascinating part about the book.

This exhibition was an exciting opportunity to judge and explore the books in RBSC on a largely superficial level. These books look great and we want you to see them.

The exhibition Judging a Book by Its Cover is free and open to the public at Rare Books and Special Collections through January 4, 2019. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

 

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Winter Wonderland

Posted on December 6, 2018 @2:43 pm by cshriver

The weather outside might be frightful, but inside Rare Books and Special Collections is so delightful. To warm your heart and ward off any winter blues, we have put together a selection of winter-themed items from our archival and library collections. The display features photographs and postcards from the Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, original drawings from the H. Bullock-Webster fonds, and a variety of books and pamphlets, including a number of items from the Arkley Collection of Early and Historical Children’s Literature.

The display is free and open to the public at Rare Books and Special Collections through the end of January 2019. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

And if you need more holiday cheer in your life, our colleagues at David Lam Library and the Canaccord Learning Commons will be hosting a Winter Celebration Event on Friday, November 30, from 1-3 p.m. Join them for an afternoon of wonder with singing, hot apple cider, and maple cookies. You will also have a chance to take pictures with Santa and craft personalized cards and gift tags that you can bring home! Oh what fun!

After the event, you can begin your countdown to Christmas with the Canaccord Learning Commons’ advent calendar.

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Get to Know RBSC!

Posted on September 21, 2018 @4:25 pm by cshriver

RBSC tours poster imageHave you ever been curious about what we do or what we have at RBSC? Join our weekly tour of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of British Columbia Library for an introduction to our space and our unique materials and collections. Tours are free and open to the general public, as well as the UBC community. No need to RSVP, just drop in to learn what RBSC is all about!

Every Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1st floor
1961 East Mall, UBC Vancouver campus

For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

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Honouring Labour Day at RBSC

Posted on August 31, 2018 @2:41 pm by cshriver

Many thanks to guest blogger Claire Williams for contributing the below post! Claire is a graduate student at UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies and has worked on processing labour history-related archival materials at RBSC.

As another September rolls around, and we take the first Monday off to celebrate Labour Day, we wanted to highlight some of the primary sources we have at RBSC that document the struggles won by the labour movement.

A Brief History of Labour Day

Labour Day in Canada has its origins in a struggle that originated over a century ago. In the late 1800’s, industrial workers in North America demanded humane working conditions, including a nine-hour workday. The Toronto Typographical Union went on strike in support of these demands, and many of the leaders of the strike were subsequently arrested. Following a public outcry, including large protests of the unfair treatment of the workers, parliament passed the Trade Unions Act, legalizing union activity and the legal right to strike. The legacy of this struggle led to the declaration of Labour Day as a national holiday. So began a tradition of recognizing the power of individuals who were willing to fight for the rights of the working class. While these struggles resulted in major legal and policy changes, they also came at a high cost to some workers who faced legal punitive action, loss of employment, arrest, and on occasion, physical violence.

Exploring Records of the Labour Movement

Here at Rare Books and Special Collections, we hold a wealth of primary sources related to labour history. I work at RBSC as a student archivist, where it is my job to arrange and describe these records in order to provide for their long-term preservation and access. One of the fonds I worked on was the Jean Sheils Research Collection. Sheils’ father, Arthur “Slim” Evans, had been a leading member of the On-to-Ottawa trek in 1935. During the trek over 1,000 unemployed men rode the trains from Vancouver to Ottawa in order to appear before the federal government and request better working conditions in the labour relief camps. The trek ended in Regina on 1 July 1935 when a riot broke out between the trekkers, their supporters, and the RCMP and local police.

 

For a guide to more labour related material at RBSC, see our research guide on the topic, located at http://guides.library.ubc.ca/labourhistoryarchives. To view this and other material in person, please come down to the RBSC reading room located in the basement of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

 

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150 Years of Forestry in B.C.

Posted on August 30, 2018 @1:16 pm by cshriver

From upper left corner: Wood sample, “Effect of Fertilizer on Mature Trees,” (n.d), MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. (181-06); Penick and Co. Oils, 1957, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. (181-05); Keys to the first paper mill in B.C., ca. 1894, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. (180-22).

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: 150 Years of Forestry in British Columbia.

Curated by Ashlynn Prasad, MAS/MLIS Candidate at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of RBSC Archivist Krisztina Laszlo, 150 Years of Forestry in British Columbia takes a broad view of the forestry industry in British Columbia from 1861 to 2016. Items on display are drawn from key RBSC collections with strong ties to forestry and illustrate the evolution of a cornerstone industry in B.C.

The exhibition is being staged in honour of the 10th anniversary of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC). Dr. Irving K. Barber, who as the principal donor gave $20 million towards the building’s development and construction in 2012, was a leader within B.C.’s forestry industry for much of his career. A second exhibition, A Place of Learning: The Evolution of the Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, explores the construction and physical evolution of the 1925 Library building and its transition to the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Curated by Archivist Erwin Wodarczak, all items featured in the exhibition come from the collections of the University Archives, which serves to identify, preserve and showcase the University’s permanently valuable records. 

150 Years of Forestry in British Columbia will be on display at Rare Books and Special Collections through November 16, 2018. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca. A Place of Learning: The Evolution of the Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is on display on level 2 (main foyer) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre through October 31, 2018.

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And there’s the humor of it…

Posted on June 6, 2018 @11:30 am by cshriver

Shakespeare’s first folio. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition:And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors.

Blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm. These four humors were once thought to shape a person’s mental and physical health, behavior and even personality. Initially borrowed from Ancient Greek thinkers like Aristotle, Hippocrates, and Galen, the theory of the four humors was so ingrained into the common wisdom of Shakespeare’s time that references to melancholic displays and choleric outbursts fill his most popular plays. The interplay between medical theory and theatrical language forms the basis of a fascinating exhibition, created by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, now at UBC Library.

The traveling exhibition, “And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors, has been supplemented with additional materials from UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, exploring topics including Shakespearean theatre in British Columbia and Shakespeare in children’s literature. More information about the National Library of Medicine display and the materials at RBSC is available through the UBC Library website.

Many thanks to co-curators of the UBC Library collections materials Patricia Badir, Professor of English, Anthony Dawson, Professor Emeritus of English, and Department of English students Karol Pasciano (MA), Aiden Tait (BA Hons.), and Ana Maria Fernandez Grandizo (BA Hons.). Thank you also to John Christopoulos, Assistant Professor of History, for lending his subject matter expertise. UBC Library co-curators for the exhibition included Charlotte Beck, Chelsea Shriver, and Helen Brown.

The panels on loan from the National Library of Medicine will be on display at Woodward Library through July 14 and the books on display at Rare Books and Special Collections will be available through August 3, 2018. The RBSC reading room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For Woodward Library’s hours, check their website. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

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Student project: The Works of Ambroise Paré

Posted on June 6, 2018 @11:12 am by cshriver

This past spring term, Rare Books and Special Collections hosted a number of classes from a wide variety of disciplines, including English, history, art history, German studies, Asian studies, and many more. We love hosting classes, as it allows us to introduce so many more students to our amazing collections. We especially love to see the results of the students’ work with our collections and the incredible insights they bring to their topics. Now we’re very happy to share some of this great student work with you!

One of the assignments for Professor Patsy Badir’s course, “Image and Text in Seventeenth Century Literature,” was an in-depth exploration of a single book from a selection of 17th-century items here at RBSC. Students were asked to research the history of the item and introduce it to a public audience online. We’ve shared a few student projects to share with you and hope you’ve enjoyed them.

Finally, Millika Veltmeyer’s exploration of the 1634 edition of The Workes of That Famous Chirurgion Ambrose Parey

https://ofmonstersandprodigies.weebly.com/

This edition of Paré’s works is currently on display for the exhibition And there’s the humor of it”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors, which is free and open to the public.

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ASRS outages scheduled

Posted on May 24, 2018 @9:00 am by cshriver

Due to an upgrade to the Library’s Catalogue, patrons will not be able to request materials from ASRS starting Sunday May 13, 2018 at 6 p.m. Full service is expected to resume May 19, 2018.

A recent UBC Library service bulletin has more information about the scheduled outages and their impact on the UBC Library system more broadly.

While RBSC will not be able to retrieve materials from the ASRS (any item with the location listed as RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS ASRS storage in the catalogue record), we will still be able to retrieve materials stored in the RBSC vault (any item with the location listed as RARE BOOKS & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS in the catalogue record). Materials stored in the ASRS generally include textual archival materials and contemporary books.

If you have questions about whether an item might be available, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

 

 

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New acquisition of WWII Japanese Canadian letters

Posted on April 26, 2018 @12:30 pm by cshriver

WWII Japanese Canadian lettersRare Book and Special Collections at UBC Library is thrilled to have acquired an extraordinary collection of letters that provide unique insight into the devastating effects of the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

The collection of 147 letters, written to donor Joan Gillis in 1942 by a group of young Japanese Canadians she met while attending Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in Surrey, talk of daily life and the challenges faced by these young people after being ordered out of the “Security Zone” on the B.C. coast, and are filled with frequent references to acute homesickness and sadness at being removed from their homes. The writers range in age from 13 to 18.

RBSC is pleased to be able to add this unique acquisition to its robust Japanese Canadian Research collection that includes materials on business and commerce, mining, farming, fishing, forestry, religious activities, education, community, reminiscences and biographies in addition to materials on the Japanese Canadian evacuation.

You can learn more about the collection of letters by reading the full press release. If you’d like to see the letters in person, feel free to visit Rare Books and Special Collections and join a tour!

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Student project: Shakespeare’s second folio

Posted on April 20, 2018 @11:36 am by cshriver

Shakespeare second folioThis past spring term, Rare Books and Special Collections hosted a number of classes from a wide variety of disciplines, including English, history, art history, German studies, Asian studies, and many more. We love hosting classes, as it allows us to introduce so many more students to our amazing collections. We especially love to see the results of the students’ work with our collections and the incredible insights they bring to their topics. Now we’re very happy to share some of this great student work with you!

One of the assignments for Professor Patsy Badir’s course, “Image and Text in Seventeenth Century Literature,” was an in-depth exploration of a single book from a selection of 17th-century items here at RBSC. Students were asked to research the history of the item and introduce it to a public audience online. We have a few of these student projects to share with you and hope you enjoy them. Perhaps you will be inspired to stop by RBSC to see one of the items for yourself!

Next up: Ana Maria Fernandez Grandizo’s exploration of the second folio edition of Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies:

https://anamariafdzg.wixsite.com/ubcshakespearefolio/printing-binding

Enjoy!

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