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VIU Special Collections - Print

The following are examples of material in the Library's Special Collections:


Artists’ Books 

Visual poetry books. A collaborative project of handmade books and expressive poems designed by Karen Hodgson’s Applied Graphics Typography class students, with poems written by Marilyn Bowering’s Creative Writing class students. (Fall 2006)

This small collection of eight books conceptually represent either the form or function of a book using a variety of media and formats (e.g. printed works, ceramics, wood, 3D representations, scrolls, and triptychs).


Canada West Magazine - The History of Western Canada, 1969-1979.  Examples of articles:

Alert Bay – Totem poles at the turn of the century, 1970
Salish Indian Basketry, 1975
Murder at the Mount Sicker Hotel, 1977
Grafton Tyler Brown: Black Artist of the West, 1978


Canadian West (magazine) - The History of Western Canada, 1985-1994. Examples of articles:

B.C.’s Biggest Bank Robbery, 1986
Chinatown, Barkerville, 1987
Historic Zebbelos, 1987
Cape Scott: An Ill Conceived Providence, 1987
When Whales were Fair Game, 1992


Canadian Homes and Gardens, (Encyclopedia), 1929-1958

This 35 volume set provides a time capsule of Canadian life and culture of this period.  Includes details concerning domestic life, architecture, interior decoration, and landscape gardening.


La Chine en Miniature  (First Edition, 1811)

A four volume set of travel books about China in the early 19thcentury. The text is in French and includes many engraved plates depicting artisans and vendors, some are hand colored etchings.


Diderot Encyclopedia : the Complete Illustrations, 1762-1777 (Encyclopédie, ou, Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers)

This 1978 edition of an 18th century encyclopedia represents the changing philosophical perspective occurring in this period which reflects an important shift regarding science and technology at the onset of the Industrial Revolution. This collection includes 3,000 illustrations of everything ranging from human anatomy to zinc processing.


Epic Tale of Hi’iakaikapoliopele  (Limited Edition, 2006)

This story highlights “Hi’iaka’s role as a healer, an inspiration and a central figure in the hula traditions of the Pele literature. Over 500 pages long with nearly 300 chants, the legend was printed from 1905-1906 in the Hawaiian-language daily paper Ka Na’i Aupuni. The most extensive version ever published, it is the first ever translated from Hawaiian, offering a wealth of detail and insights about social and religious practices, poetry and dance, healing arts and other Hawaiian customs.”


Exploration & Discovery:

1. Captain James Cook, 1728-1779

A collection containing material on the explorations of Captain James Cook.  It includes the 1st edition journals of his three voyages written by various officers (e.g. Lieutenants Elliot, Burney, and Ledyard) and shipmen (e.g. George Gilbert). In addition, there are natural history drawings from the voyages, charts and maps of the routes, marine surveys of places (e.g. Newfoundland), and accounts of Cook’s demise. 


An account of the voyages undertaken by the order of His present Majesty for making discoveries in the Southern hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: drawn up from the journals which were kept by several commanders, and from the papers of Joseph Banks, esq. (G 420 C65 H3 1773, v.1-3)

A voyage towards the South Pole, and around the world : performed in His Majesty's ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the years 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1780 / written by James Cook, Commander of the Resolution ; in which is included Captain Fureaux's narrative of his proceedings in the Adventure during the separations of the ships. (G 420 C65 C66 1777, v.1-2)

A voyage to the Pacific Ocean : undertaken by the command of His Majesty for making discoveries in the Northern hemisphere, to determine the position and extent of the west side of North America, its distance from Asia, and the practicability of a northern passage to Europe ; performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in His Majesty's ships the Resolution and Discovery, in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780. (G 420 C65 V69 1784, v.1-4)

2. Joseph Banks, 1743-1820
The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks, 1768-1771.
A botanist and naturalist, on the 1766 expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador Banks was the first botanist to identify the flora of this region. He accompanied Capt. James Cook on his first great voyage (1768–1771) to identify and collect plants.  Later, Banks became the Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, making it famous by sending out expeditions to collect plants from around the world.    (G 420 C66 B355 1963 V.1-2)

3. Captain Meares, 1756?-1809
Voyages made in the years 1788 and 1789, from China to the North West coast of America : to which are prefixed, an introductory narrative of a voyage performed in 1786, from Bengal, in the ship Nootka ; observations on the probable existence of a North West passage, and some account of the trade between the North West coast of America and China, and the latter country and Great Britain / by John Meares. (G 460 M42 1790)

4. Captain Dixon, d 1800?
A voyage round the world : but more particularly to the North-West coast of America : performed in 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, in the King George and Queen Charlotte, Captains Portlock and Dixon. (G 420 D5 1789)

The Dixon-Meares controversy : containing Remarks on the voyages of John Meares, by John Dixon, An answer to Mr. George Dixon, by John Meares, and Further remarks on the voyages of John Meares, by George Dixon. (FC 3821 D59 1929)

5. Captain Alexandro Malaspina, 1754-1810. (Spanish Exploration)
Voyages of enlightenment : Malaspina on the Northwest coast, 1791-1792. (1977)
Alejandro Malaspina : portrait of a visionary, 1999.
NW coast of America : iconographic album of the Malaspina expedition : a study, 1991.

6. Robert Brown, 1842-1895
Robert Brown and the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition. Vancouver, BC : University of British Columbia Press, 1989.

7. Captain Richards, 1820-1896
The private journal of Captain G.H. Richards: the Vancouver Island survey, 1860-1862. (2012).

8. The Hudson Bay Record Society

Special Collections contains several series of publications by the Hudson’s Bay Record Society containing the texts of letters, correspondence, and exploration journal. Some examples of titles:

  • Fort Victoria letters, 1846-1851. (Pre-confederation correspondence by Governor Douglas regarding the border dispute between Britain and the U.S. with the eventual determination of the 49th parallel, 1846.)
  • Moose Fort Journals, 1783-85
  • Letters from Hudson Bay, 1703-40
  • Simpson’s 1828 Journey to the Columbia
  • McLoughlin’s Fort Vancouver Letters, First Series, 1825-38
  • McLoughlin’s Fort Vancouver Letters, Second Series, 1839-44
  • McLoughlin’s Fort Vancouver Letters, Third Series, 1844-46

9. The Champlain Society

Special Collections contains a series of publications by the Champlain Society containing the texts of letters, correspondence, and exploration journal. Some examples of titles:

  • Franklin’s First Arctic Land Expedition, 1819-1822
  • The Rebellion of 1837
  • Lord Minto’s Canadian Papers, v.1, 1898-1900


First Nations Peoples

Collection ranges from accounts of contact with First Peoples during Canadian exploration (e.g.  Nutka/Nootka), travel, the fur trade, and settlement, to observations about Eskimo (Inuit) life in the Arctic. In addition, there is material on Indian missions (e.g.  Kootenay), heritage resources on Meares Island, Clayoquot Sound Indian land use, Cree domestic life, the Kwakiutl, legends & folklore (e.g. Totem lore),  dictionaries (e.g. Hul’qumi’num), the Chinook (trading) language, Haida art, making cedar boxes, and culturally modified trees.

The following are examples of titles in this collection:

Delgam Uukw v the Queen : Cartographic Support for the Plaintiff's Evidence, 1987.

An atlas documenting the history, culture, and the natural resources used by the peoples of the  Gitksan and  Wet’suwet’en territories commissioned by their chiefs to be presented as evidence of land/territory use during the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s Land Claim hearings of Delgam Uukw.

Plants in British Columbia Indian Technology/ Nancy Turner

The Native Tribes of British Columbia/ Alice Ravenhill

Contains information on various aspects of native life such as fishing & whaling implements &  traps (e.g. harpoon, sheath), ceremonial costumes, carved chests/handles/spoons/ladles, a chief’s copper, masks, crests, totems, potlatches, intertribal trading, games, children’s toys, food sources & food gathering.

The Newcastle Block culturally modified trees: report/ Eldridge, Morley, 1988.

Stand Tall, My Son/ George Clutesi

The Terror of the Coast: Land Alienation and Colonial War on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 1849-1863/Chris Arnett

Two Houses Half-Buried in Sand: Oral Traditions of the Hul’q’umi’num’ Coast Salish of Kuper Island/ Beryl Mildred Cryer


Gustafson Poetry Chapbook Collection

In 1998, the Ralph and Betty Gustafson Trust was established in memory of one of Canada’s distinguished poets. This Trust endows an annual Chair of Poetry.  This collection consists of  some of their lectures published in chapbooks.

  • Domanski, Don, 1950-. Poetry and the sacred : the Ralph Gustafson lecture, Malaspina University-College, 20 October 2005. Nanaimo, B.C. : Institute for Coastal Research, c2006.
  • Bringhurst, Robert, 1946-. Wild language : the Ralph Gustafson lecture, Malaspina University-College, 6 November, 2003. Nanaimo, B.C. : Institute for Coastal Research, c2006.
  • Wayman, Tom, 1945-. Songs without price : the music of poetry in a discordant world. Nanaimo, B.C.: Institute for Coastal Research, 2008.
  • Brand, Dionne, 1953-. A kind of perfect speech. Nanaimo, B.C. : Institute for Coastal Research, 2008.
  • Marlatt, Daphne. At the river's mouth : writing migrations. Nanaimo, B.C. : Institute for Coastal Research, 2009.
  • Duffy, Carol Ann, 1955-. Last post. Nanaimo, B.C. : Institute for Coastal Research, 2010.
  • McKay, Don, 1942- From here to infinity (or so). Nanaimo, B.C. : VIU Institute for Coastal Research, 2011.
  • Zwicky, Jan, 1955-. Auden as philosopher : how poets think. Nanaimo, BC : Institute for Coastal Research, 2012.
  • Geddes, Gary, 1940- Bearing witness. Nanaimo, BC : Arbutus Editions, 2016.
  • Clarke, George Elliott, 1960- On entering the echo chamber of epic : my "Canticles" vs Pound's Cantos. Nanaimo, BC : Arbutus Editions, 2016.
  • Lee, Dennis, 1939- Re-greening the undermusic. Nanaimo, BC : Arbutus Editions, 2016.


The Herbal or General History of Plantes, Gathered by John Gerarde of London, Master in Chirurgerie; Very Much Enlarged and Amended by Thomas Johnson, Citizen and Apothecarye of London.  (First Enlarged Edition, 1636)

The most widely known herbal of its day, it describes the medicinal properties of plants known at the time of its first publication in 1597. This enlarged edition includes an additional 700 prints with some hand coloured illustrations.


An Historical Relation Of the Island of Ceylon In the East Indies; Together With an Account of the Detaining in Captivity Of the Author and Divers Other Englishman Now Living There, and of the Author’s Miraculous Escape, Illustrated With Figures, and  Map of the Island. Robert Knox. (First Edition, 1681)

Recounts the author’s nineteen years of captivity in Cottier Bay, Ceylon after being shipwrecked with his father and other shipmates.  He eventually escaped to Arippu on the north-west coast of the island and returned to England in 1680. This book is considered one of the first accounts of life in Ceylon. It includes a series of copper engravings depicting the life and culture of the inhabitants.


Illustrated London News, 1891-1897

Founded in 1842 by Herbert Ingram, this publication was revolutionary in providing the first illustrated weekly news magazine. Its eclectic range of topics includes politics, social history, fashion, theatre, media, literature, advertising, and graphic design.

The Special Collection’s twelve volumes represent a myriad of events such as anarchist bombs in Paris, the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Henry Ford’s first car, the completion of the Manchester Ship Canal, the censor’s banning of Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Bernard Shaw), Princess Marie of Edinburgh in her wedding gown, the publication of Kipling’s Jungle Book, Robert Louis Stevenson’s death, Tower Bridge opened, Lord Salisbury became prime minister, X-rays were discovered, H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure were published, Dr. Nansens’ Polar Expedition, demonstrations in Ulster against the Home Rule Bill, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest opened in London, a glimpse of Professor T. H. Huxley’s residence, the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Marconi patents wireless telegraphy, William Morris’ death, a depiction of Czar Nicholas and family, gold is discovered in the Klondike (Canada), Turkey declares war on Greece, Thompson discovers the electron, Queen Victoria celebrates her diamond jubilee, and more.

Volumes include advertisements such as Beecham’s Pills, Lipton Tea, Carter’s Liver Pills, Brooke’s Soap, Scrubbs Ammonia, Pears Soap, Eastman Kodet, Hinds Hair Curlers. The ‘News’ ceased publication in 2003.


Leo Margolis Collection

Dr. Leo Margolis (1927-1997) was an eminent Canadian scientist internationally renowned for his ground breaking work distinguishing the differences between North American and Asian salmon populations in the Pacific. Although his forty-six year career was primarily as a government scientist at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, he garnered a worldwide reputation for his valuable research in fish health & management, in addition to his extensive contributions to the study of fish parasitology.

Margolis’ notable body of work is a wonderful encapsulation, demonstrating the scientific process involved in research and how scientists communicated with their colleagues around the world, prior to the Internet and the rise of electronic publications.  This collection includes 150 scientific publications and numerous technical reports, all carefully indexed in an extensive card catalogue which represents how Dr. Margolis organized his research work.


Lillian Carefoot Collection

A cookery book collection of 435 books and 1,487 pamphlets consisting of older publications of cookbooks from church and community functions, wartime recipes, government publications (e.g. agriculture, health agencies), and industry cookbooks from cookware manufacturers.

The pamphlets were produced by a wide range of sources such as food companies, grocery chains, government agencies, and newspapers. Includes some hand painted recipe booklets. (Currently, only a partial set of 142 books are catalogued and available for research.)


Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm, Duncan, B.C. - A residential school named after its founder Kingsley Ogilvie Fairbridge, it was part of the British Child Migration program which exported children to the colonies in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The Duncan farm, which ran from 1935-1952, housed ~ 350 children during its history. It’s estimated that from 130,000-150,000 children were part of this migration policy, which began in the 1920’s and ran into the late 1960s. Examples of material:

Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School, 1936-40, DVD (from bl & wh film footage). Includes farm activities, photos of buildings (e.g. dining hall, school room, training bldg., chapel), sports (swimming, baseball), picnic, staff members, Lord & Lady Tweedsmuir’s visit (1939), etc.

Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School: Newspaper Articles (DVD)/ Ron Smith.

Marjorie, Too Afraid to Cry: A Home Child Experience/ Patricia Skidmore.

Laying the Children’s Ghosts to Rest: Canada’s Home Children in the West/ Sean Arthur Joyce.

The Story of Kingsley Fairbridge, 1885-1924/ Kingsley Fairbridge.

Fairbridge Glimpses: Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School. 50th Anniversary of Founding, 1935/ Old Fairbridgians Association.

80th Anniversary of the Opening of the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School, 1935-2015/ Old Fairbridgians Association.


The Salmon (portfolio): Canada’s Plea for a Threatened Species, 1982

The Salmon portfolio was produced as a gift to be given to representatives of the Heads of State at the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in which several scientists from the Nanaimo Biological Station participated.  It includes salmon prints by three British Columbia artists: Bill Reid (silk screens), David Denbigh (gouache paintings), and Rudi Kovach (watercolours). A replica of Bill Reid’s argillite ‘Haida Salmon’ sculpture is set into the cover. The portfolio includes the book, The Salmon, by naturalist Roderick Haig-Brown (1974).


Vancouver Island Towns - History & Culture

The following are some examples of titles in this collection:

The Forgotten Valley South Wellington 1900-1952

Harewood: Land of Wakesiah/ Jim Borserio

Historic Departure Bay ... Looking Back/ Carole Davidson

Duncan 50 Years Ago/ Peggy Saunders

The Friendly Port: A History of Union Bay, 1880-1960/ Janette Glover-Geidt

The Hamlet with an Attitude, 1886-1945: /The Story of Cobble Hill Village/ Virginia Bonner

The History of Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island/ Betty and Marilyn Assaf

History of Sointula/ Aili Anderson

Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest/ Tom Koppel

Paldi Remembered: 50 Years in the Life of a Vancouver Island Logging Town/ Joan Mayo

Zeballos: It’s Gold, its People, Yesterday and Today: An Historical Documentation Warren Cullins


William C. Wonders Collection

William C. Wonders (1924-2011) was a Canadian Geographer whose research interests spanned the human geography of Canada, the western United States, Great Britain, and Nordic countries. 

In 2006, Dr. Wonders donated his extensive book collection to Malaspina University-College (VIU).  It contains many rare and important publications which, to some extent, reflect his specialty in Polar and Boreal geography.  Some titles are housed in Special Collections, while the remainder are located in the general collection.