Aerial archives

    Image I-03188, Aerial view of new Archives building, ca. 1977.  “Spirit” in pond.

    In 1965 the Department of Public Works began to build the complex known as Heritage Court at the corner of Government and Belleville Streets in Victoria.  Heritage Court was built using Federal and Provincial Centennial funds to provide facilities for both the new Provincial Museum and the Provincial Archives of British Columbia.

    Early in the planning stage it was decided that the site should contain works of art by British Columbia artists done in the general design theme of “Man and Nature”.  A sub-committee chose 28 works including screens and murals, carved wooden building doors and massive works of sculpture.

    Four of the exterior sculptured pieces still stand today and I am lucky enough to be able to see one of them from my office window.

    This piece is called “Spirit” and it was created and cast in bronze by Elza Mayhew in 1964.  It was displayed at the Venice Biennale in the Canadian Pavilion and then made its way back to British Columbia via exhibits at Ottawa and Prince Edward Island.

    I haven’t been able to track down exactly when it was finally installed in the Archives pond, but it was probably around 1971.

    Before reaching the pond, “Spirit” spent some time in Elza Mayhew’s studio and was one of her many pieces that provided the basis for a paper rubbing.  The rubbings were done by Isamu Akino, a Japanese artist who created them by laying pieces of wet Japanese paper on the front, back and tops of the sculptures.  The paper was then formed around the relief portions of the sculpture and rubbed with charcoal or some other agent, to produce a raised paper cast.  Once dry, the paper rubbing was mounted onto a paper and wood frame.

    We were recently lucky enough to acquire a mounted rubbing showing the front view of “Spirit”.  This generous gift from the Mayhew family has given us a new view of the beautiful bronze sculpture more than 50 years after its creation.

    My colleagues Kay (Preservation Specialist) and Cindy (Exhibit Fabrication Specialist) have designed and created a special padded aluminum rail and clip system to safely hold the work in the art vault.

    Spirit Cindy secures the rubbing in its custom built aluminum rail and clip system

    I have described the rubbing as PDP10261 and you can see it in the BC Archives collections search here:

    http://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/rubbing-of-spirit

     

    Here are some more examples of Corporate Christmas cards taken from 920334-0001 (Vertical files).

    This one is from the Bank of Montreal in Nelson, B.C. The front of the card consists of the Bank of Montreal coat of arms but inside there’s a charming woodcut print showing Arthur H. Buchanan striding manfully through the snow to help bring the Nelson branch of the bank to the people.

    BMOout

    BMOin

    Next is a beautiful colour drawing of a BC Hydro generating station. I can’t tell if this is taken from a real site or if it’s more of an artist’s representation of what the new BC Hydro sites were going to look like. The card is signed by Hugh Keenleyside for BC Hydro and Power Authority and is dated 1968. Perhaps this generating station was intended for the High Arrow Dam near Castlegar? Since the dam was later named the Keenleyside dam, it’s seems fitting.

    Update January 19, 2016:

    My colleague Dennis Duffy pointed out that this is actually the Gordon Shrum generating station at the W.A.C. Bennett dam.  An Ottawa Citizen news story from last year has a nice photo, see http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Gordon+Shrum+generating+station+Bennett+capable+generating+megawatts+electricity+peak+capacity/10862165/story.html

     

    damout

    damin

    Hugh Armstrong of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway sent this next card to the Press Gallery. The image on the front of the card seems to suggest that the PGE was a real people’s train, connecting with those living in the hinterland, especially at Christmas.

    PGEout

    PGEin

    And finally a local Victoria bookstore sent out some lovely Christmas cards that also worked as an advertisement. Included in each card was a piece of history, a page from a real book to enjoy at your leisure. The Haunted Bookshop moved from Victoria to Sidney a few years ago and it’s still a charming place to visit.

    Hauntedout

    Hauntedin2

    Hauntedin

    At this time of year we often receive Christmas and other holiday cards from banks, shops, newspapers and other businesses.
    The BC Archives is lucky enough to have a nice little collection of Christmas cards mostly saved by the local journalist and historian James K. Nesbitt. These cards lived for a time in our vertical (clipping) files. When the files were microfilmed in the 1980s, material not suitable for filming was removed and some of that material ended up in a box of files that we have saved in container 920334-0001.

    There are some good examples of Corporate Christmas cards in the files and I’ve scanned a few to show the range.
    The Vancouver Sun cards from the 1960s and 70s were quite inventive. I like this one, partly because the RBCM has a Jack Harman sculpture on its premises but also because it’s just an amusing image. The Sun’s publisher Stuart Keate had a whimsical sense of humour and he sent Nesbitt quite a few interesting cards.

    Conheadcard

    Coneheadinside

    Here’s one from the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Victoria, probably from the late 19th century. The outside is elegant and plain but inside you can see the list of staff, perhaps in order of rank, as well as a photograph of the inside of the bank. They didn’t quite grasp the concept of laying out a card with all the elements oriented in the same direction or maybe the printer was rushed.

    CIBCout

    CIBCins

    Another one from the 19th century. I’m not sure what business this card represents because there is nothing on the back. It’s on a small sturdy piece of card, perhaps intended for use as a beer mat after the holidays…

    1897

    More Corporate cards to come.

    THE VICTORIA GAZETTE 25 November 1858 p.1

    LETTER FROM NEW FORT LANGLEY.

    Installation of the Government of British Columbia.

     New Fort Langley, 20th November 1858.

    Editors Gazette: – Yesterday, the birthday of British Columbia, was ushered in by a steady rain which continued perseveringly throughout the whole day, and in a great measure marred the solemnity of the proclamation of the Colony.  His Excellency, Gov. Douglas, with a suite comprising Rear Admiral Baynes, (commanding the naval forces on the Pacific Station) Mr. Cameron, the respected Chief Justice of Vancouver Island; Mr. Begbie, the newly appointed Judge of British Columbia, Mr. Lira, and others, proceeded on board H.M. ship Satellite, Capt. Provost, on Wednesday morning by the Canal de Haro to Point Roberts, where His excellency remained during the night. On Thursday morning His Excellency and suite were conveyed by the Hudson Bay Company’s screw steamer Otter to the Company’s steamship Beaver, which was lying moored within the mouth of Fraser river.  Both vessels then proceeded in company as far as Old Fort Langley, where the Otter disembarked a party of eighteen sappers under the command of Capt. Parsons, who immediately embarked in the Recovery revenue cutter, joining the command of Capt. Grant, R.E., who had previously reached the point with a party of the same corps.  Both these gallant officers have recently arrived from England with small parties of men under their command.  The Beaver then proceeded with His Excellency aboard to New Fort Langley, where preparations were made for the ceremonial of the following day.

    On Friday morning, the 19th inst., His Excellency, accompanied by his suite, and received by a guard of honor commanded by Capt. Grant, disembarked on the wet loamy bank of the Fort, and the procession proceeded up the steep bank which leads to the palisade.  Arrived there, a salute of 18 guns commenced pealing from the Beaver, awakening all the echoes of the opposite mountains.  In another moment the flag of Britain was floating, or to speak the truth, dripped over the principal entrance.  Owing to the unpropitious state of the weather, the meeting which was intended to have been held in the open air was convened in the large room at the principal building.  About 100 persons were present.

    The ceremonies were commenced by His Excellency addressing Mr. Begbie, and delivering to him Her Majesty’s commission as Judge in the Colony of British Columbia.  Mr. Begbie then took the oath of allegiance and the usual oaths on taking office, and then, addressing His Excellency took up her Majesty’s Commission appointing the Governor, and proceeded to read it at length.  Mr. Begbie then administered to Governor Douglas the usual oaths of office, viz.: allegiance, abjuration, &c.  His Excellency being thus duly appointed and sworn in, proceeded to issue the Proclamation of the same date (19th instant) viz.: one  proclaiming the act; a second, indemnifying all the officers of the Government from any irregularities which may have been committed in the interval before the proclamation of the Act; and a third, proclaiming English Law to be the Law of the Colony.  The reading of these was preceded by His Excellency’s Proclamation of the 3rd inst., setting forth the Revocation by Her Majesty of all the exclusive privileges of the Hudson Bay Company.  The proceedings then terminated.  On leaving the Fort, which His Excellency did not finally do until to-day, another salute of 17 guns was fired from the battlements, with even grander effect than the salute of the previous day.

    On leaving the river side, in front of the town, a number of the inhabitants were assembled with whom His Excellency entered into conversation previous to embarking on board the Beaver, and by whom he was loudly cheered in very good style as he was on his way to the steamer.   VIATOR

    As you may already have discovered, advanced search is not just an upgraded basic search. Basic search has features which are lacking in advanced search and which may make it a preferred option depending on your search and on your display preferences.

    Basic search is accessed from the search box (shown below) found on the top right hand corner of almost all the search pages.

    Archives search box

    Advanced search is accessed by clicking on the link below the basic search box (see above) and looks like this.

    WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

    Search logic

    When you enter more than one term into a search box, be it the basic search box or one of the advanced search boxes, the terms are searched separately, i.e. only one of the terms needs to be present in the record descriptions, although they may contain more than one or even all of the terms. This is a default OR search. To require that all terms be present the AND operator must be used between terms. For an exact match (phrase search) use quotation marks.

    Boolean operators within a search box must be in uppercase: AND, OR, NOT. Complex search logic can be used in any search box, basic or advanced, as well as wild cards (* and ?).

    Other than the Identifier field in Advanced Search, it does not matter whether upper or lower case, or both, is used.

    Search filters

    Only one filter in each filter category can be selected.

    Results display

    Fifty (50) record descriptions per page are displayed. The bottom of each page, if there are more than 50, shows what range of record descriptions is being displayed.

    When an individual record description is clicked the full display is the same regardless of whether basic or advanced search is used.

    WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

    Searching

    Basic search

    •Cannot search specific fields – all searchable fields are searched
    •Cannot limit search to a specific material type (e.g. textual records, graphic material [visual records], moving images) – all material types are searched
    •Type-ahead feature shows possible matches, including those in the Names, Places and Subjects lists.as well as in the descriptions, with the option of selecting one of the matches by clicking on it. (Note: currently this does not always work for the Names, Places, and Subjects but it can be useful to see what comes up.)

    Advanced search

    •Can search by one or more pre-defined fields, e.g. Title, Name, Identifier, as well as all fields, i.e “Any field” which functions the same as a basic search (note: some searchable fields can only be searched in an “Any fields” search, e.g. the General notes field.)
    •Can limit search – before it is executed – to a specific level of description, to a specific material type, and/or to descriptions with digital images attached (see Filters below).

    Search filters

    Basic search

    •Filters only display after a search is executed, and provide a breakdown by name, with the number of search results each is linked to.
    •Clicking on a filter automatically limits search results to those meeting that criterion. Clicking on a filter in another category automatically further limits the search results.
    •Can limit to top-level descriptions regardless of level (everything that is not linked to a higher-level description such as fonds, series and even some items) as well as by specific level.
    •Can filter by name of creator (top 10 only).

    Advanced search

    •Can set search filters before a search is executed as well as after a search but must click on Search button to redo search.
    •Cannot limit a search to top-level descriptions as a category. Clicking on the box shows a drop down list of mostly fonds and some series descriptions.
    •Filters are by type. A drop-down list of all possible options is displayed for each category. Clicking on an option may yield zero results.
    •There is no post-search breakdown by for each category type.
    •Search results can be limited to descriptions with digital objects attached.
    •Subject, name and place are search fields rather than filters.

    Results display

    Basic search

    •The total number of results is displayed at the top of each display page, together with the search term(s) and the number of digital objects with an option to display only the digital objects, as shown in this example.
    •No print icon on results page but can use browser print function.

    Advanced search

    •The search box(es) with search term(s) and logic display at top of the search results on each results page.
    •The total number of search results only displays if there are more than 50 hits, i.e. more than one page. This displays at the bottom of the page.
    •A print icon appears on the results page.

    WHEN TO USE BASIC SEARCH AND WHEN TO USE ADVANCED SEARCH

    Basic search

    I find the basic search useful when I am interested in a breakdown by description level to get a sense of the number of higher or lower level record descriptions and quickly view the results for each level. The same applies, to a certain extent to the people, organizations, subjects and places involved. However, since only 10 are displayed, if there are more than 10, those of interest may not display.

    The type-ahead feature can also be useful in seeing what pops up in terms of possible search terms.

    The results display shows me right away how many results there are and how many have digital objects attached. At the moment this means primarily images but textual records, sound recordings and video is also being added. If the number of images in the filter column (Media types) is less than the number of digital objects, clicking on the images filter will quickly bring them up.

    Advanced search

    I use advanced search for the following types of searches:

    I am looking for something very specific and searching by field(s) will eliminate irrelevant results, e.g. a certain television episode such as the Webster episode on the archives.  A basic search on WEBSTER AND ARCHIVES produces 1300 hits (the same number of results as an Any field search) whereas limiting webster to the Name field and archives to the Subject field yields one.

    I am looking for only certain material types, e.g. sound recordings or moving images.

    I want to limit my search to only higher level descriptions (usually the series level to access the pdf finding aid found in many series level descriptions) or to only item or file level descriptions.

    I am searching by call/catalogue (aka Identifier) numbers and don’t want to be bothered to enclose them in quotation marks, especially if there are more than a few. I also only want the highest level description, not all the lower level descriptions which are produced when a basic search is executed, e.g. the latter yields over 3000 hits for a search on “gr-1372” while an Identifier search on GR-1372 yields only 1 record, the series level description with the finding aid.

    Ultimately the search method choice is up to you and what works best for the kind of searches you are doing.  For more information about basic and advanced searches see the Search Guide.

    Next: Photographs

     

    Old search engine homepage

    Some 20 years ago the BC Archives launched its first remote electronic access to information about and images of its historical visual records. Searchable textual records descriptions and vital records indexes were subsequently added, as well as a library catalogue, sound recording descriptions, moving image descriptions and a cartographic records catalogue. The site was expanded and upgraded in 2002 but ultimately it began to show its age and limitations. Technology had advanced and it was decided that a new collections management system and online interface were not only desirable but necessary.

    Now the “blue and white” search site that has served researchers around the world almost as long as Internet Explorer has been around, and longer than Google, is being retired, having hung on long enough to see its successor launched. Our tech people are surprised that the UNIX server it lives on has lasted this long. As of today, when you try to access the old site you will be redirected to the new search site. It is far from perfect, but so was the old site, especially in its first few years. Please be patient and give it a chance and if you have questions or comments do not hesitate to contact us.