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The Absolutely Literate blog is for people interested in writing, editing, design, history and family history.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fish That Made Campbell River Famous

British Columbia History 44.4

The winter issue of British Columbia History coming to mailboxes soon includes a fish tale as well as stories about unique individuals who populate British Columbia’s history. Look for it in your mailbox or at Book Warehouse (10th or Broadway) or order a copy at bchistory.ca.

The Fish That Made Campbell River Famous
by Diana Pedersen
In 1896, news that Sir Richard Musgrave had captured a record 70-lb. salmon with a rod and line launched Campbell River to world fame as a sportfishing destination.

Pat is Pat and That is That: Rev. Thomas Patrick Freney
by R.J. (Ron) Welwood
Rev. Thomas Patrick Freney was not your ordinary, everyday man-of-the-cloth. In fact, he was cut from an entirely different and unorthodox fabric.

W.A. Ingram and the Club Cigar Store of Fernie, BC
By Ronald Greene
From cigar club to barber shop, bowling alley to athletic club, lunch counter to candy shop, Billy Ingram did it all in spite of fires and personal tragedy.

The Fort at Yorke Island: Getting to Know the Neighbours
By Catherine Marie Gilbert
The soldiers and sailors posted to Yorke Island fort during WWII were only temporary neighbours to the surrounding coastal communities but left a lasting impression.

A Useful and Practical Career
By Theresa Vogel
Sister Mary Matthew McBride, commercial instructor at St. Ann’s Academy, was responsible for creating a program that combined practical skills with poise and refinement.

Archives & Archivists
by Land Title and Survey Authority; edited by Sylvia Stopforth
The LTSA’s new state of-the-art, climate-controlled records vault enhances the preservation of BC’s historic hardcopy land title and survey records.

From the Book Review Editor’s Desk & Book Reviews
by K. Jane Watt

Index of Vol. 40 No. 1 to 40 No.4, 2007
Compiled by Melva J. Dwyer


Cabinets of Curiosities
Andrea Lister, editor and author, tells the tale of a 1911 Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary member’s card that found its way home after 100 years.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Save Library and Archives Canada

For immediate release
Canadian Association of University Teachers launches campaign to Save Library and Archives Canada

(OTTAWA: November 2, 2011) - The Canadian Association of University Teachers today unveiled a national campaign to protect Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The “Save Library and Archives Canada” is being launched by CAUT in response to funding cuts and internal managerial decisions that are threatening the quality and integrity of Canada’s only national public library and archives.

“Badly conceived restructuring, a narrowing of its mandate, and financial cutbacks are undermining LAC’s ability to acquire, preserve and make publicly available Canada’s full documentary heritage,” James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers said at a news conference in Ottawa today.

These changes, Turk added, have already led to a reduction in the number of specialist archivists and librarians, reduced public access and services, and the loss of rare and important materials.

Liam McGahern, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers of Canada, said a growing number of Canadian materials are not being collected by LAC because of reduced funding and a change in its acquisitions policy.

“Canadians recently lost a unique and irreplaceable set of journals chronicling late 19th Century stories of settlers and First Nations people of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Labrador Coast. This is just one of many examples,” McGahern explained. “Rare military documents, sheet music, and literature that would otherwise have gone to Library and Archives Canada are quietly all slipping away.”

CAUT is calling on the federal government to amend the LAC Act to ensure its mandate includes developing a comprehensive, not selective, collection of Canadian material.
“Our nation’s artistic, historical, and cultural heritage is at stake,” said Turk. “Genealogists, historians, researchers, graduate students, Aboriginal communities, and the general public are all affected by what is happening at LAC.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of 66,000 academic and general staff at 120 universities and colleges across the country.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.savelibraryarchives.ca.

Angela Regnier, Communications Officer,
613-726-5186 (O);
613-601-6304 (cell);
regnier@caut.ca (email)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Surrey Show and Tell

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Third Annual Family History Show & Tell! at the Surrey Library. It was a lot of fun and I got to hear about some great family history work being done.
Picture courtesy of Brenda L. Smith
I presented my Grossman family and their connection to the Chilliwack Hospital and the creation of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary.

Then we went off to Richmond Library for their LEST WE FORGET program to hear our friend Annette Fulford present 100 Years of Canadian War Brides.

It was a good day for history.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Feds launch War of 1812 anniversary plans - Politics - CBC News

Feds launch War of 1812 anniversary plans - Politics - CBC News

" Anew memorial in the nation's capital and a series of commemorative events are among the plans announced Tuesday by the federal government to mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall issue of British Columbia History in the mail . . .

 Here's the cover you should be looking for if you buy your British Columbia History at a bookshop.

The Flying Vet: Dr. John Roberts of Williams Lake, BC by John Roberts, introduction by Marie Elliott
Personal letters written in 1958 bring to life the unique challenges of practicing veterinary medicine to the cattle ranches in the Chilcotin Plateau.

The S.S.Beaver & the medals struck by Charles W. McCain by Ronald Greene
The S.S. Beaver was the first steamboat on the Pacific northwest. She ran aground in 1888 but her salvaged metal was converted into keepsake medals by Charles W. McCain.

British Columbia’s Debt to William C. Van Horne by Valerie Knowles
The American born dynamo overcame British Columbia’s formidable mountains to build a railroad that was part of his vision of an integrated transportation network.

The Fort St. James Cemetery by Marie Elliott
In honour of 100 years of Parks Canada, Marie explores who is interred at this National Historic Site on the southern shores of Stuart Lake in the interior of British Columbia.

People and Places of the Bedaux Expedition of 1934 by Ross Peck
Until recently, there was little on the record about the role and contribution of the sub arctic expedition’s cowboys and crew to the “Champagne Safari”.

Archives & Archivists by Sylvia Stopforth
To commemorate Trinity Western University’s fiftieth anniversary their archivist has launched a website with a treaure trove of photographs, slides and sound clips.

From the Book Review Editor’s Desk by K. Jane Watt

Book Reviews

Cabinets of Curiosities byFrances Clay Welwood, daughter of Ed and Mary Clay, tells the tale of the Southwell painting that sails above the fireplace in her Nelson home.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gave me chills

I had one of those little, exciting author moments today. I went to the Surrey Library website and searched in the catalogue for myself. . . and there it was. Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary's 100 Years, 1911-2011.

It gave me a little chill to see it there on the screen; I do hope people are taking it out of the library and enjoying it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reminder: Best of British Columbia History Contest deadline is soon

Best of British Columbia History Contest: contest ends August 31, 2011

From now to August 31, 2011, check out back issues of Federation publications

Pick your favourite articles in your own collection of:
• British Columbia Historical Association Report and Proceedings 1923 to 1929
• British Columbia Historical Quarterly 1937 to 1958
• British Columbia Historical News 1968 to 2004
• British Columbia History 2005 to Present

or at your local library or used book store or online at http://bchistory.library.ubc.ca/?db=bchf#

Send entries to:
BCHF Publications Committee
10991 No. 1 Road Box 36105
Richmond BC V7E 1S0

or email bcheditor(at)bchistory.ca

Contest Rules
The BCHF Publications Committee are the contest judges. Judges will select from the nominations and will have discretion with final selection of winners. If your suggestion is selected then you win a prize. Multiple contest entries from the same person are allowed but each entry must be for a different article.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do you have an object of curiosity in your cabinet?

Every object has a story.

The Fall 2010 issue of British Columbia History told the story of piece of trench art in the collection of the Maple Ridge Museum & Archives.

The Winter 2010 issue of British Columbia History told the story of a piece of mail lost in the Fraser River in 1899.

Do you have an object of curiosity in your cabinet? Send me 300 to 400 words with a high-resolution image of the object, telling me the story of the object. Email your story to: bcheditor(at)bchistory.ca, or mail it to: Editor, British Columbia History, PO Box 21187, Maple Ridge BC, V2X 1P7

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

100+ Years of Library Service Book Launch

100+ Years of Library Services to British Columbians

Vancouver Public Library
Library Square

350 West Georgia Street

Lower Level – Meeting Rooms

June 29th - 9:30am

Check it out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Issue

The summer issue of British Columbia History should be arriving in mail boxes soon..........

WWII Japanese Internment Camps along the Upper Fraser by Megan Heitrich
Interviews conducted by the Northern BC Archives reveal a unique relationship between the Japanese men and the people of the surrounding communities.

SS PRINCE GEORGE Goes to War by Jon Johnson and Barbara Bavinton
The story of the SS Prince George, the only Canadian hospital ship to sail with the Canadian Navy and the six nurses who served on it is a story that has been missing from history.

An Unforgettable Afternoon by Irene Shirley
A sunny Vancouver afternoon in 1958 turns unexpectedly into an indelible memory linked to one of most significant events in the city’s 125 year history.

Athabasca Pass — BC — Alberta Heritage Trail by John A. Whittaker
As a member of the BCHF Historical Trails Committee, John has a propensity for the mountain pass trails and finds the trails through the Rocky Mountains difficult to beat.

1917 Car Trip by Henry Stevenson
The story of the Stevenson family’s six day car trip from Granum, AB to Nelson, BC when Henry was a baby of a year old was recounted many times by Henry’s father.

Archives & Archivists by Kobi Christian; edited by Sylvia Stopforth
Kobi Christian writes about The King’s Speech and Langley Centennial Museum

From the Book Review Editor’s Desk by K. Jane Watt

Book Reviews

Cabinets of Curiosities by Andy Motherwell, writes about Paul Krestenuk, a enterprising trader in a very remote and under-populated area of Quesnel in the 1930s and 1940s.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Arg, a good day for a pirate story

"Important News" ran the headline from the Dawson Daily News, July 2, 1909. The story goes on to say that the man named Kirkconnel was believed to be Francis Bailey and had been arrested in Whonnock. He had obtained a hundred and fifty thousand dollars of merchandise and sailed to Honduras. He was arrested there but had jumped overboard at night and swam ashore. "It was supposed at the time he had made a meal for the sharks."

The papers of the time are full of stories about the arrest and trial.

"FRANCIS G. BAILEY PUT IN JAIL HERE; Sailed with Pirate Ship Laden with Goods to Make Fortune in South America." read the headline from the New York Times July 30, 1909.

Read more about the "pirate of Whonnock" on the Maple Ridge Museum & Archives website and in digitized newspapers:

The British Colonist
New York Tribune
New York Times: July 8, 1908, July 2, 1909

Thanks to Annette Fulford for the newspaper links.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nelson Star - Local historian honored

A story about a B.C. journalist who went missing after speaking to Hitler has earned North Shore resident Frances Welwood the Anne and Philip Yandle award for best article in British Columbia History magazine.

Nelson Star - Local historian honored

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sad News for Historians

The Boston Phoenix is reporting that Google has decided to quit further work on Google News Archive, its plan to scan and index 250 years’ worth of microfilm copies of newspapers and turn them into a searchable database.

This is sad news for historians and genealogists. They purchased PaperofRecord.com and then continued the work and it seemed like an exciting prospect. The searching power of Google and digitized newspapers - what a gold mine.

However, the searching and filtering features were not as robust as with other Google projects. The project did seem well advertised and it was hard to determine what newspapers were in the collection.

Despite these problems, I found many interesting historical articles in their collection and was hoping to find more as the collection grew. I am disappointed that this project has been abandoned.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thank you, thank you very much

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of joining the women of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary to celebrate their 100 year anniversary. Founded in May 1911, the women of the Auxiliary have baked pies, made jam, knitted, sold raffle tickets, fund-raised, forged friendships, and had fun.

The amazing legacy of the women that came before and the dedication of the current Auxilians was evident in the Coast Chilliwack Hotel on May 14.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of the women that I had read and written about in the book Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011.

The fun was clear when 'Elvis' (Steve Elliot) hit the floor, hence the title of the post. Thank you for an enjoyable afternoon.

If you have time to volunteer and live in Chilliwack - considering joining these women in their work or if you have gently used clothing, household items, books or toys please consider donating them to the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shoppe.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BCHF announces the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing

April 11, 2011

The BC Historical Federation annually awards the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing to authors of British Columbia history.

1st Place: Sylvia Olsen, Working with Wool: A Coast Salish Legacy and the Cowichan Sweater
2nd Place: Dan Savard, Images from the Likeness House
3rd Place: Dorothy Faulkner, Elaine Park and Cathy Jenks, Women of Pender Harbour: Their Voices, Their History

Honourable Mentions:

  • Alan Twigg, The Essentials: 150 Great BC Books & Authors
  • Robert Budd, Voices of British Columbia: Stories from Our Frontier
  • Jane Stevenson, The Railroader’s Wife: Letters from the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Congratulations to all the authors!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Elva's Birthday

Today would have been Elva Grossman's birthday. She was born 25 Apr 1880 in Hamilton, Ontario and moved to Chilliwack in 1908.

Elva was the first secretary of the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary, 1911-1913, and again in 1926-1931. She was president from 1923-1925 and again from 1932-1933. In 1940 she was made an honorary member of the Executive. She passed away in 1963.

There are other stories of Elva, hard working volunteer, tragic figure of lost fianc├ęs. However, I like this picture of her from 1909 dressed up for her role in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Despite the tragedy it looks like she was having fun and raising money for a worthy cause.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ian McLeod has lived in Port Haney for 11 years and is involved with the Maple Ridge Historical Society

Grab your walking shoes and learn about the history of Port Haney.

At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, area resident and Maple Ridge Historical Society member Ian McLeod will lead a free 90-minute walking tour looking at historic remains and future plans.

The 10:30 a.m. walk is part of Think City Tours, an annual celebration of the history of various neighbourhoods across the Lower Mainland.

Ian McLeod’s walk is titled “Port Haney: Past, Present and Future.”

McLeod has lived in Maple Ridge for 11 years and served for three years as a vice president of the historical society.

There are 11 spots remaining on the tour. Visit www.thinkcitytours.ca/tours to register.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hospital Auxiliary Launches Website

The Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary has launched its website.


It will advertise events, meetings, and their ongoing fundraising work.

The website's content will continue to grow over the coming weeks so keep your eye on it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Announcement: New Book, Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011

(Chilliwack, BC, March 15, 2011) Commitment to Caring is the story of determined women, in a time before they were considered persons under the law, who fundraised, sewed, canned, and knitted to establish Chilliwack’s first hospital. The Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary announced today the publication of a new book Commitment to Caring: Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary’s 100 Years, 1911-2011, ($20.00) by Andrea Lister.

In a time before medicare these women formed the Chilliwack Hospital Auxiliary in 1911 and recruited their sisters-in-laws, daughters, and friends to join them in their efforts and take over for them as they aged. They enlisted the support of the community in supporting the hospital for 100 years through wars, depressions, and social changes. They have left, and continue to leave a lasting legacy, with their hard work and dedicated volunteerism. Richly illustrated with seldom-seen photographs Commitment to Caring is a celebration of these women. All proceeds from the sale of this book go towards the purchase of equipment for the Chilliwack General Hospital.

To purchase Commitment to Caring look for Auxiliary members at the following Chilliwack locations: Walmart, April 7, 8, and 9; PriceSmart April 14, 15, and 16; and Minter Country Gardens (Young Rd) and Cottonwood Mall (in front of Sears) April 28, 29, and 30.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

British Columbia History in the mailbox soon

Issue 44.1 of British Columbia History with guest editor Penney Clark in people's mailboxes soon.

140 Years of May Day in New Westminster, 1870-2010 by Gerald Thomson
The May Day fete in New Westminster with its deep historical roots in the community it remains both a source of pride and controversy among local teachers and parents.

Remembering the School Christmas Concert by Helen Raptis
Critics argue that Christmas festivities have no place in secular schools; but even in the early 20th century, Christmas concerts served more secular purposes than religious.

History Comes Alive for a Student with Dreams of Flight by Michael Gurney
When students gather at BC Heritage Fairs to celebrate history, they do more than show and tell: original research and cultural exchanges are vital parts of these exhibitions.

Meet Mr. Coyote by Mary Leah de Zwart
Did Alice Ravenhill, social reformer, and Noel Stewart, Indian Residential school art teacher, distort aboriginal legends or encourage young artists in “Meet Mr. Coyote”?

Art Learning at Van Tech and Kits, 1925–1950 by Wendy Stephenson
After 1925, art learning at both Kits and Van Tech schools flourished in response to progressivist aims. Why, then, was their student art so different?

St. Ann’s Commercial Course by Ronald Greene
Ronald Greene looks at how your mother may have learned to handle money.

Three British Columbia Mysteries: History Online by Ruth Sandwell
Old and young alike are invited to explore British Columbia’s thrilling history by ‘solving’ a series of historical mysteries using hundreds of online historical documents.

Teaching Teachers Revisited by Eric Damer
UBCs new teacher training programs in the 1920s promised new leadership for BC schools. But what sort of leadership did the provincial university actually provide?

A College Without Walls Opened Worlds of Opportunity by Anne Russell
An instant college that launched without buildings to call its own in 1974 transformed the educational and cultural landscape of the very staid and traditional Fraser Valley.

Archives & Archivists by Val Patenaude and Sylvia Stopforth; edited by Sylvia Stopforth
Val Patenaude talks about the lack of a mechanism for preserving school records. Sylvia Stopforth highlights some of the records that have been preserved in BC.

From the Book Review Editor’s Desk by K. Jane Watt

Cabinets of Curiosities, King Edward High School in Vancouver celebrated 100 years in July 2010.

Check us out on the Magazine Association of BC website.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Heritage Getting Coverage

It is nice to see heritage getting media coverage. The 2011 Heritage Awards received coverage in both local papers.

Maple Ridge News


Maple Ridge Times

Check out the stories.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Arts Career Expo 2011

I was recently asked to be an alumni panelist at the UBC Arts Career Expo. I am a huge advocate for education and so I was happy to impart any wisdom I might have.

I was part of “The Social Network: Careers in Media and Communications” panel speaking on career diversity and social media in the industry. My co-panelists were Rick Chung, Broadcast Journalist, BCIT Broadcast Journalism/CBC Radio-Canada/RickChung.com and senior communications coordinator Phoenix Lam. The panel was moderated by third-year Human Geography/International Relations, Aaron Lao.

Rick, Phoenix and I all agreed that recent grads had to recognize that they should volunteer, join groups, and do co-ops to gain skills and build a network. We agreed that students needed to be open to opportunities; you may not get the dream job right after you graduate.

I learnt a lot from Rick about social media but in reflection later I realized that we only touched on one side of the story. I used to work for national software and services provider to the financial services industry. As their client base is not the general public and having a completive edge is essential, social media is not part of their toolkit. Tweeting about the latest software development would get you fired. Suffice to say "know your audience", confidentiality and information security are the keys for some industries.

I was reminded by Phoenix that we Arts grads have a unique skill set: writing, researching skills, questioning, the ability to put information into context, and the ability to accept that there is more than one point of view. We can distill information and package it for different audiences.

It felt a little strange to be back at UBC speaking as an alumnus, as I have supplemented my B.A. with continuing studies courses at UBC, SFU, classes at BCIT, software courses, and industry specific courses but it gave me pause to reflect on what a great foundation my Arts degree has given me for my career.

I hope that I helped the students of my alma mater feel a little less terrified about their future. If there are any history students out there who would like to get published I am always looking for submissions and the British Columbia Historical Federation offers two W. Kaye Lamb Scholarships for student essays relating to the history of British Columbia.
• Lower prize for a student in the 1st or 2nd year is $750
• Upper prize for a student in the 3rd or 4th year is $1,000

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Course on Writing Local History

This sounds like an interesting course at SFU:

We can’t alter the past, but we can create history. In this course we will examine practical approaches to writing the history of the people, places, and events that interest us.

The focus is on finding approaches that work for you and your project, from collecting documentary and oral evidence, shaping it into something meaningful, putting words on paper (or screen), and sharing the finished product.

We will consider how to add significance to a research project while enriching our own “historical consciousness.”

This course is most suited to people who have a history project in mind, have begun to identify and consider evidence, and have read something about their topic but are uncertain how to put their thoughts into writing.

It will be taught by Eric Damer, PhD, wrote MA and PhD theses at UBC on educational history and subsequently published three books in that field. He has an article in the upcoming spring issue of British Columbia History about UBC’s new teacher training programs in the 1920s.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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