University Archives Blog

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.

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.