Here at the Digitization Centre we are fascinated and excited by the vast amount of primary-source material that our digitization work exposes us to.  Whether a document of historic significance, a beautiful illustration, or even a particularly fine typeface, we are frequently amazed by the materials we’re working to share with the world.  So much so, that not only will we crowd around to ogle a particularly interesting specimen, but we’ve started decorating our workplace with copies of some of our favorites.  But why stop there?  Surely, we can’t be the only ones geeky enough to appreciate such “gems” in our collections, and so we’ve decided to share them here with you.  Below you will find some of our favorites, hand-picked by staff from both existing and upcoming collections.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!  

TIP: To view full resolution versions of the images on any size screen, click to view in Open Collections.

Dinner Menus from the 1930’s-50’s

Posted on Apr 16, 2024 by Jillian
This week’s blog post is a selection of dinner menus from the Chung Collection, which is held at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections. The Chung Collection contains many materials including travel pamphlets, itineraries and menus from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which was a large enterprise that dealt in railway and non-railway transportation […]

Open Collections Highlight – Historical Children’s Literature Collection

Posted on Apr 02, 2024 by Jillian
The Historical Children’s Literature Collection contains eighty-five works of children’s literature spanning from the late 18th to late 19th Centuries. The collection is a collaboration between UBC’s School of Information, Department of English Language & Literatures, Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) and Digitization Centre. The physical materials are from both RBSC’s historic children’s literature […]

How a Composer was Reunited with a Long-lost Score

Posted on Mar 19, 2024 by Jillian
It’s not every day that you hear of a librarian reuniting a composer with their long-lost work. Incredibly, this is exactly what happened when a paper score that needed some TLC was brought to UBC Music Librarian Kevin Madill late last year. I spoke with Kevin, who is the Music Librarian at UBC’s Music, Art […]

Vintage Travel Pamphlets from the Chung Collection

Posted on Mar 05, 2024 by Jillian
Canadian Travel Pamphlets from the Chung Collection: Since the weather in Vancouver has been less than appealing as of late, I decided to peruse the travel pamphlets available through UBC’s Open Collections as a way of experiencing a vicarious vacation. This blog post will highlight some of the travel pamphlets from the Chung collection. These […]

Family Photographs in Open Collections

Posted on Feb 20, 2024 by Jillian
Family day is observed each year on the third Monday in February in most provinces across Canada. In British Columbia, the holiday was adopted in 2013 and was originally observed on the second Monday of February. This was the case until 2019, at which point the province moved the holiday to the third Monday of […]

B.C. Historical Books Highlight – Pacific Crest Trails from Alaska to Cape Horn (1948)

Posted on Feb 06, 2024 by Jillian
CW: the book contains some outdated, racist, and derogatory language. “You rest in the forest against a form-fitting log. Your eyes are narrow pools, your mood, dreamy lassitude. Your whole body is inert but receptive. The murmur of a distant waterfall comes alive; birds twinkle, twitter, chirp, and sing; the air you breathe has a […]

Discorder Retrospective: Early 2010’s Indie Music

Posted on Jan 23, 2024 by Jillian
Discorder Retrospective: Early 2010’s CiTR-FM’s Discorder Magazine has been published every month since February 1983, and UBC’s Open Collections offers complete online access to every single edition. This collection is an amazing time capsule into Vancouver’s indie music scene in any decade. This week’s blog post is for the 2010’s indie music fans. If you […]

Newspaper Articles on Early Paleontological Findings in Western Canada

Posted on Jan 09, 2024 by Jillian
UBC’s Open Collections contains hundreds of thousands of materials covering a vast number of topics, making it an amazing resource for anyone with historical research interests. Personally, I find great joy in interest driven research, and one collection in particular that often returns excellent materials is the BC Historical Newspaper Collection. This week I was […]

Emily Carr, 1871-1945

Posted on Dec 12, 2023 by Jillian
Tomorrow, December 13th, is the birthday of famous Canadian artist Emily Carr. In honour of her, today’s blog post is a spotlight on the artist. Carr was, as is eternalized on her gravestone, a lover of nature. She was a prolific landscape painter and developed an incredibly unique style that was influenced by early modernism […]

Vintage Advertisements from the BC Historical Newspapers Collection: 1899-1950

Posted on Nov 28, 2023 by Jillian
Looking back at old advertisements can not only be extremely entertaining, but can also provide fascinating insight into commonly accepted knowledge during a given era. Historically, lack of advertising laws or regulations resulted in exaggerated, dishonest and extreme claims being made in attempts to sell products. Advertisers were able to claim almost anything they pleased […]

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