The BC Historical Books collection contains the digitized bibliographies of British Columbia. In the collection, there are 35 dictionaries related to BC History. Here, we will introduce some of our favourite ones!
Do you have the White or Yellow Pages at home? UBC Rare Books and Special Collections has a collection of city directories for British Columbia and Greater Vancouver area. For various reasons, the directories cannot be photocopied in RBSC. UBC Library has published microforms for the directories, which are available in the Koerner Library Microforms area.
In Open Collections, you can find 19 digitized directories that are used as the White or Yellow Pages by residents between 1877 and 1923.
The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies by Antonio de Alcedo (1735-1812)
We have digitized volume 2 to 5 of The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies written by Antonio de Alcedo (1735-1812) in Spanish and translated by George Alexander Thompson (1797-1828) in 1812. The Spanish soldier, who resided in Panama for part of his childhood while his father was the provincial governor, was interested in American geography and history, and wrote about his observation of “New World” into the 5-volume books. He called the reference books “a dictionary”.
In volume 3 from pp.214 to 223, you can find Antonio’s observation of Vancouver Island:
Dictionaries for Indigenous languages
You can find dictionaries for three Indigenous languages: Chinook, Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) and Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language).
Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) language
Nuučaan̓uɫ (Nuu-chah-nulth, Nootka, Tahkaht) language is spoken by 13 Indigenous nations residing in western Vancouver Island. Open Collections contains a digitized Tahkaht-English/English-Tahkaht dictionary published in 1868:
Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language)
Secwepemctsín (Shuswap language) is spoken by Secwépemc (Shuswap) people, Indigenous people residing in the south central part of present-day British Columbia. We have one dictionary known to be written in 1925 by Jean-Marie-Raphaël Le Jeune, a Canadian Roman Catholic priest who traveled the Kamloops region.
Who’s who in western Canada (volume 1-2) by Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932)
Charles Wallace Parker (1864-1932) was a great showman, and famous for the C. W. Parker Carousel operating in the Burnaby Village Museum. He compiled portraits and biographies of people who had contributed to Western Canada, such as politicians, railroaders, litterateurs, and merchants.
The makers of Canada by Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936) and Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873-1946)
The dictionary about Canada before confederation consists of three sections: Index and dictionary, Manuscript sources in the Dominion Archives, and A partial list of scarce maps and plans relating to Canada. One of the authors, Sir Arthur George Doughty (1860-1936) was a Dominion Archivist (the head of Canada’s national archives, the present Library and Archives Canada). Another author, Lawrence Johnstone Burpee (1873-1946) was a historian, a civil servant, a librarian and a writer, and specialized in Canadian bibliography, geography and history.
If you want to get historical references to Greater Vancouver/BC/Canada, please find our digitized dictionaries in the BC Historical Books collection!
- Antonio de Alcedo (Wikipedia)
- Chinook (Britannica.com)
- Nuučaan̓uɫ (Language Map of British Columbia)
- Secwepemctsín (Language Map of British Columbia)
- Parker and his Company (Burnavy Village Museum)
- Wilson, I., Sir Arthur George Doughty (2018). In The Canadian Encyclopedia.