Just before the grandstand of the old stadium at the University of British Columbia was torn down in 1968, a collection of old scrapbooks of uncertain origin was rescued from a storage room. Fortunately, instead of being thrown in the trash, they were recognized as valuable historical artifacts and sent to the Library. The scrapbooks eventually became part of the collections of the University Archives.
Based on the book plates and bindings, it appears that many of these bound volumes were made by G.A. Roedde Ltd. – which represents another link to Vancouver’s history, as Roedde was the city’s first bookbinder. Their contents document the origins and early history of UBC, from 1890 to 1941: mostly newspaper clippings from Vancouver-area newspapers, regarding University issues, student activities, and special events. Some scrapbooks also include photographs, souvenir programmes, and other memorabilia.
Newspapers represented by the clippings in the scrapbooks include the Vancouver Sun, the Province, the Daily News-Advertiser, the Vancouver Daily World, the Vancouver Star, and the New Westminster Columbian. They include both articles and letters-to-the-editor, so they document both the history of UBC and the evolution of public opinion about the University.
The volumes were originally scanned in 2006 as black-and-white PDF images. In 2013, work-study student Shyla Seller was assigned to re-scan the volumes at higher resolution and in colour. Those not yet completed are marked as [BW].
The scrapbooks were compiled by several individuals over the years. Volume #1 was compiled by F.C. Wade, an early supporter of the University. Volume #3, which due to its unusual formatting has not been digitized, was presumably either compiled by UBC President Frank Wesbrook or presented to him at some point.
For many years the origins of the other scrapbooks were unknown. However, during the 2013 re-scanning project Shyla discovered a reference to William Tansley as being the compiler of many of them. An article pasted in page 90 of Volume #22 identifies him as “Custodian of the Clippings”. Tansley was originally the University custodian and groundskeeper, and later curator of the University Museum, the predecessor of the UBC Museum of Anthropology. Based on that article, and from the handwriting in the scrapbooks, it appears that he was responsible for at least Volumes #19-26, and continued to maintain and compile them until his retirement in 1941. An additional volume, numbered 27, was not among the scrapbooks discovered in the old stadium. Originally included among the Tansley papers in the University Archives, it was recently identified as being part of the collection and is now available in digital form for the first time.
Volume numbers, dates, and other title information included in the list are mostly based on the inscriptions on the covers of the original books.