Since I began my archival studies degree, I have been keen to get some hands-on experience. This summer, the City of Vancouver Archives took me in for a three-month internship.
On my first day, archivist Chak Yung introduced me to fourteen boxes of records from City Stage Theatre, which I would process over the next month. I was fortunate to be assigned a fonds with a diversity of materials. The City Stage fonds includes textual records (such as correspondence and play scripts), newspaper clippings, promotional materials (such as colorful handbills, posters, and programs for plays), stage plans, Playhouse magazines, reel-to-reel audio tapes, and approximately 500 (mostly professional black and white) photographs.
A sample from the City Stage Theatre fonds – Playboard magazines, reel-to-reel audio tapes, box office reports, and sheet music from a theatrical production. Photograph by Mel Leverich.
It was a pleasure to be assigned to the City Stage Theatre fonds, as it documents a fascinating part of Vancouver’s theatre history. City Stage Theatre was a professional theatre company based in Vancouver that operated from 1972-1986 and was founded and managed by Ray Michal, a passionate advocate for theatre in this city. In its early days, the theatre was located in a converted donut shop at 591 Howe Street where they offered short shows over the noon hour for the downtown business crowd and local residents. As Michal explained in an interview, “we wanted to break some of the preconceived notions of what going to the theatre was all about … You could just walk up to the shop, and buy an hours’ worth of theatre. Just like you could walk up to the deli and get yourself a corned beef sandwich” (AM1560-S6-F50). Continue reading
This post was written by Christine Hagemoen.
As a volunteer at the Archives, I was recently tasked with sorting through boxes that contained display materials and photo enlargements from previous Archives exhibits and displays (pre-Internet days). The object was to find interesting content for possible Authenticity blog posts. One of the boxes was marked “Diners” and as a food history buff I was immediately intrigued. Curiously, the box only contained two photo enlargements. I was immediately drawn to this image of the White Lunch from 1918.
White Lunch Ltd. No. 4, 806 Granville St. Vancouver, B.C., 8 Mar. 1918. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code: AM1535-: CVA 99-5167
The photograph shows the rather elegant interior of the White Lunch including customers, servers, menu and prices. In 1918, you could get a bacon & egg sandwich for 15 cents, oyster stew for 25 cents, and a hot clubhouse sandwich for 35 cents.
My curiosity was piqued, so I decided to search the Archives’ database for more images. I started by using the subject term “Restaurants, diners, lunchrooms, etc.” to find out what and where Vancouverites were eating in the 20th century. Continue reading
From about 1894 to 1908, summer camping on the beach was considered a fashionable holiday tradition, enjoyed by many of Vancouver’s early well-to-do families.
The most popular spot was Greer’s (now Kits) Beach, where “tent town” comprised two long rows of tents on either side of an irregular “street” of beach sand. Greer’s Beach was reached by boat down False Creek from Carrall Street; on foot across the CPR trestle bridge or via a sinuous trail through the cleared area; or by buggy over a former wagon track used by loggers with their oxen.
English Bay Beach was another popular camping site, where, in 1898, “about two score tents extended to the West” and “many were commodious and richly furnished.”
These are the camping beaches shown in the images below.
Beach camping was discontinued after 1908, due to improper sanitation conditions and increased development. Continue reading
. . . I am once more entrap’d in this infernal Ocean, and am totally at a loss to say when I shall be able to quit it . . .
George Vancouver’s signature from the Petersham letter below. Reference code AM923
This post was written by Marek Bula.
The Archives has a long history. Here’s a look at how we grew.
J.S. Matthews’ home, where the archives were kept before being moved to the Holden Building in 1931. Reference code AM54-S4-: Str P90.01
In 1931, Major J.S. Matthews’ extensive personal collection of photos and documents relating to Vancouver was moved to the Holden Building, Vancouver’s temporary City Hall at 16 East Hastings. This included thousands of documents and photographs—such as interviews with early pioneers and aboriginal people—relating to the history and development of the City of Vancouver. Continue reading
Vancouver Craft Beer Week 2013 starts tomorrow!
Last year, we showed you some of our beer-related holdings. This year, we’re featuring an 1898 oil painting of the entrance to Stanley Park. Inset in one corner is the house that became the original Stanley Park Brewery. According to Major Matthews, the house was built by George Grant Mackay at the foot of Georgia Street at a what was then 725 Chilco Street.
Stanley Park entrance and Stanley Park Brewery. Painted in 1897. Artist anonymous. Reference code AM1562-: 72-574.
Thanks to funding provided by the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, we have been able to describe and digitize over one thousand of James Crookall’s images and make them available online.
James Crookall was born November 7, 1887 in Preston, Lancashire, and came to Vancouver as a child. Throughout his life, Crookall was an avid amateur photographer and an enthusiastic outdoorsman. He was an active member of the Vancouver Photographic Society and regularly exhibited his photographs in international salons. He died on July 27, 1960, and his fonds was donated to the Archives by Mrs. Doris Crookall in 1979.
Self portrait, 1938. Reference code AM640-: CVA 260-978.
Earlier this year, Harry Swain of Victoria donated a photograph to us and it caused great excitement. Here it is:
View from the Sylvia Court Apartments, May 18, 1913. Reference code AM1376-: 2013-002.1
My summer internship at the City of Vancouver Archives was filled with wonderful experiences along with the occasional adventure, so much so that it has taken me a while to catch my breath and finally write about it. As a student in the Master of Art Conservation program at Queen’s University, the Archives fostered an ideal learning environment for a conservator-in-training to reinforce the skills acquired through the past academic year. I was fortunate to learn from not one but two experienced conservators. Working under the supervision of Sue Bigelow and Rosaleen Hill, the Digital Conservators at the Archives, I had the privilege of taking in a double dose of valuable knowledge.
The Award of Merit 1943, one of the many spectacular works of art found in the Archives. This image consists of merged photographs of the parchment before (left) and after (right). treatment.
When we first told you about our new search system, we said that it was on a rapid development cycle and that there would be improvements. We’re pleased to tell you about one upgrade that gives you on-site access to thousands more digital objects and another that makes it easier to do research at home. Developed for us by Artefactual Systems, these open source enhancements could be adapted by other institutions using the same database software.
The big change
Until now, digital objects that were under the copyright of a 3rd party (other than City of Vancouver’s copyright) could only be viewed online as a tiny thumbnail. Now they can be viewed in full resolution in our Reading Room through our online search. This works on your laptop in the Reading Room (using our wifi) as well as at our public computers. Continue reading