Laurenda Daniells, University Archivist Emerita (1923-2017)

Laurenda Daniells, first Archivist of the University of British Columbia[Update: A Memorial will be held at the University Hill Congregation, 6050 Chancellor Blvd. (Google Maps), Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. The service will be preceded by lunch at noon and followed by a reception. Parking is available at the UBC Rose Garden parkade.]

Laurenda Daniells, first Archivist of the University of British Columbia, died peacefully at her home on Wednesday evening, 4 January 2017, surrounded by the love of her children and grandchildren.

Laurenda was born in Winnipeg in 1923.  She attended the University of Manitoba and graduated with a degree in social work in 1945. Her first job was with the protection division of the Children’s Aid Society of Winnipeg.

In May 1948 she married Roy Daniells, recently appointed as head of the English Department at the University of British Columbia, and moved with him to Vancouver. She and Roy purchased an empty lot on Allison Road in the University Hill neighbourhood, where they built one of the first homes in the progressive “West Coast Modern” style.  Together they raised two daughters (Susan and Sara), and enjoyed European and African travel adventures.  In particular, she and her family spent a year in Europe in 1959-60, during Roy’s sabbatical supported by a Canada Council grant.  Laurenda also served three terms as a school board trustee, and did a considerable amount of volunteer work.

In 1969 Laurenda returned to school and entered the one-year Library Science degree programme at UBC.  After graduating, she followed that with a six-week archival management course at the Public Archives of Canada.  In 1970 she was appointed the first University Archivist at UBC Library’s Special Collections Division.  Alone in this position for many years, Laurenda worked to bring some order to the institution’s historical records.  She organized those materials which had already accumulated in Special Collections, and arranged for the acquisition of additional  inactive administrative records from the various University departments, as well as private papers from prominent faculty, staff, and alumni.  By the time she retired in 1988 with the honorary title “University Archivist Emerita”, Laurenda had established the University Archives on firm foundations.

During her career at UBC Laurenda served for several years on the Faculty Association executive, and on the University Senate.  She also served a one-year term as president of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C.

After her retirement Laurenda continued with her volunteer work, in particular her continuing involvement with University Hill United Church.  She enjoyed writing, and in her eighties began recording her life stories with the Brock Hall Life Writers Group.  In 2016 these stories were collected in her published memoir, Royal Blood.

Roy Daniells died in 1978.  Laurenda is survived by her two daughters, and four grandchildren. Funeral arrangements to be announced.

UBC Buildings & Grounds

(This is another in an occasional series of introductory guides to UBC Archives’ collections and services)

Another resource for researchers maintained on the University Archives’ website is the Buildings & Grounds page.

Listed at the top is an index to UBC’s buildings, dating from 1911 to the present-day. It is presented in both chronological and alphabetical form, and includes facilities on both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses.  Each entry (for example, that of the Chemistry Building) includes information on the building’s location, date(s) of construction, architect(s), cost, history, architectural features, and other points of interest.  Also included are the published and archival sources used to compile those facts, and which researchers are recommended to consult for further information.

Also included on the page are links to images of buildings and facilities from our digitized photograph collections; lists of campus trees and graduating class tree plantings; how persons or organizations are commemorated at UBC through the naming of buildings and facilities; links to selected campus plans; virtual displays related to campus facilities; and other sources of information on the University’s physical development.  Also of interest are two articles, originally published in professional journals and now available on-line: one on the original architectural proposals for the Point Grey campus, and the other on the neighbouring residential area of University Hill.

Anybody conducting research on the built environment of the University would do well to begin by consulting with these resources.

New Virtual Display: Mungo Martin and UBC’s Early Totem Pole Collection

As part of Aboriginal (Un)History Month at the Library, the University Archives has launched a new virtual display. Entitled “Celebrating Aboriginal Heritage Month: Mungo Martin and UBC’s Early Totem Pole Collection”, the new display uses text, historical photography, and video to commemorate the University’s links to British Columbia’s First Nations peoples. To quote from the display’s opening paragraph:

One can’t help but be struck with a sense of awe when walking amongst the magnificent and massive totem poles in the Great Hall of UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. However, the history of the University’s collection and preservation of totem poles and other large scale First Nations carvings actually predates the construction of the Museum (1976) by almost fifty years and forms a very interesting chapter in the institution’s history….

For more information about Aboriginal (Un)History Month, look for this poster around the Library during the month of June.

New: UBC Legacy Video Collection

The newest addition to UBC Library’s Digital Collections is the UBC Legacy Video Collection.

These videotaped interviews are the product of an on-going project to document the personal experiences of people affiliated with the University.  The University Legacy Committee has conducted interviews and created a repository of video recordings of personal histories. Interviewees have been asked a set of generic questions developed for their respective groups, including faculty, staff, and alumni. To date the project has completed interviews with approximately 65 current and former members of the University community, and their stories are included in this collection.

As we approach the University’s upcoming centenary we hope to add many more recordings and to carry this initiative into the future.