University Archives Blog

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.

New and revised on the UBC Archives website

We’ve recently updated several of our on-line historical resources, and also added something new:

Thanks to UBC Archives’ 2012/13 work-study students Daniel Collins, Jessica Flank, Ed Ko, and Isabel Taylor for compiling these lists.

New: “Westland” Broadcast Series

The latest addition to UBC Library Digital Collections is Westland, part of the Halleran Video Collection.

In 1983, Mike Halleran began producing and hosting a television series entitled Westland, which aired on the Knowledge Network from 1984 to 2007. Later taken over by his son Terry Halleran, the series explored a broad range of environmental issues associated with forestry practices, fresh water fisheries, endangered species, natural resource management and ecosystem restoration in British Columbia.  The programs included extensive on-site footage and interviews with experts and various stakeholders.

In 2011, the UBC Library, with support from the Columbia Basin Trust and other community partners, acquired the Westland broadcast programs, along with an extensive video library of approximately 2,000 source tapes. Collectively known as the Halleran Video Collection, the video recordings are currently housed in the University Archives. The Collection provides an incredible wealth of information relating to natural resource management, environmentalism and sustainability in British Columbia.

Recognizing the importance of this material and to facilitate its use, the Library has digitized 195 of the programs broadcast as part of the Westland series.

UBC on the cover of Maclean’s, 1956

A recent Twitter message from UBC Alumni Affairs pointed to a Reddit/UBC message linking to the digitized cover of the March 13, 1956 edition of “Canada’s National Magazine”. The Maclean’s cover shows a happy couple, walking hand-in-hand across Main Mall, lost in their young love while surrounded by other students running pell-mell to their next class. “They look like Archie and Betty”, says Candice, our archives assistant.

In the background is Main Library – recognizable as the heritage core of today’s Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. In 1956 it was still (to paraphrase former University Librarian and Dominion Archivist W. Kaye Lamb) trying to fly on one wing.

Senate Memorial Tributes & President’s Service Award

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

Included with the on-line historical resources maintained by the Archives are a series of lists of prominent individuals associated with the University.  These include Presidents, Chancellors, Deans, and other important administrative positions, and major award recipients.  Two such lists, recently updated, are the Senate Memorial Tributes and the President’s Service Award for Excellence.

It is the responsibility of the UBC Senate Tributes Committee to prepare statements regarding deceased members of Senate to be included in the minutes. These statements, known as Senate Memorial Tributes, often provide very useful biographical information on some of the University’s important figures.  For that reason we maintain an alphabetical list of these tributes, excerpted from the minutes of Senate.

Established in 1991, the President’s Service Award for Excellence recognizes staff and faculty for excellence in personal achievements and outstanding contributions to the University.

Thanks to our work-study students Isabel Taylor and Ed Ko for compiling the updates.

Records and manuscripts at UBC Archives

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

The core of the holdings of the University of British Columbia Archives are textual records. Produced by organizations or individuals in the course of their activities, they document the history of the University and its community. These records and manuscripts are acquired by the Archives from the University and its constituent offices (faculties, schools, departments, and institutes); independent student, alumni, and employee organizations; and prominent faculty and alumni.

With a few exceptions, these materials have not been digitized. Access to them is provided through inventories.  Researchers peruse these inventories, and when they find something likely to be of interest, they cite the fonds/collection title and box number for retrieval. The records may then be examined in the RBSC/Archives reading room. Photocopying and scanning services are provided for a nominal fee.

Access to institutional records (that is, records created or maintained by University offices) is governed by Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) legislation. Requests for institutional records are subject to review, and may need to be vetted by the University’s Access and Privacy Manager.  Completion of a Research Agreement is also required required.  Non-institutional records and private archives remain open, subject to donor-imposed limitations.

Time spent waiting for retrieval of archival materials can be reduced by calling or e-mailing the Archives in advance. This gives our staff time to pull the requested material from storage and have it ready upon the researcher’s arrival.

Early proposals for UBC campus

Inspired by this post from UBC Digital Initiatives, here are a few more useful/interesting links to early concepts for UBC’s Vancouver campus: