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Asian Canadian History and Archives

About These Collections

The fonds and collections included here are large in size and scope, i.e., they are not necessarily by or dedicated to Asian Canadians, but contain rich materials (documents, photographs, recordings, etc.) relevant to Asian Canadian history.

Archival Collections

Born in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1926, Art Finley was active in the radio television broadcasting industry for fifty years (1944-1994) prior to his retirement in Victoria, B.C. The fonds consists of audio cassettes of interviews with a variety of personalities from the fields of entertainment, politics, medicine, and more. They were initially recorded on radio talk show programmes at KSFO San Francisco, CKNW Vancouver, KGO San Francisco, CJOR Vancouver, WNIS Norfolk, XRA San Diego, and KCBS San Francisco. Prominent interviewees of Asian descent are: Rabbi Meir Kahane (right-wing Israeli political leader); Yousuf Karsh (famous Canadian portrait photographer); Yoko Ono (artist); Krishna V.K. Menon (Indian political leader); and Shah Reza Pahlavi (Iranian monarch).

Barbara Hodgson was born in 1955 in Edmonton, Alberta and presently resides in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer best known for her fiction and non-fiction books. In her non-fiction work, she was particularly interested in representations of opium production, transportation, sale, and ingestion. This collection contains materials collected and used while working on her novels, Opium: A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon (1999) and In the Arms of Morpheus: The Tragic History of Laudanum, Morphine, and Patent Medicines (2001). Many representations of opium ingestion in the collection are orientalist in nature; individuals who have South Asian, Chinese, or Middle Eastern heritage are depicted in a racist, exoticized manner by Western film or medicine companies in order to lend an aura of “glamour” to various products.

The BC Historical Books project is a single searchable database of over 1,900 titles in the bibliography of British Columbia, based on full-text searchable versions of the historical texts contained therein. It allows scholars, students, and the public unparalleled access to knowledge about our province and includes such texts as annual reports, biographies, travel literature, periodicals, and much more. 

The B.C. Historical Photograph collection consists of photographs collected by UBC's RBSC division throughout its operation. Subjects predominantly include B.C. people, places, and events as well as photos taken throughout the Pacific Northwest, across Canada, and, in some cases, internationally. Within this collection are many photos depicting Asian Canadians.

The B.C. Historical Postcard and Photograph Albums collection consists of ninety-one albums of roughly 9,000 postcards and photographs pertaining to views and scenes mainly in B.C., but also in the rest of Canada and Europe. Individuals gathered and created the materials on a wide variety of historic subjects during their travels, many of which include images of Asian Canadians that can be found by searching the PDF finding aid.

The fonds includes records of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (1946-47). It includes trial transcripts, biographical information on defendants, prosecution evidence, and copies of contemporary news accounts and interpretations of the trials. Research notes including printed materials, photographs, ephemera, and interview transcripts used for the writing of hundreds of short articles, news programmes, and full-length books (manuscripts also included in the collection), correspondence, and radio programme transcripts reflect Conde's integral involvement in Asian foreign affairs.

The Harry Cowan (b. 1891- d. 1912) collection consists of two scrapbooks that record events relating to the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council as well as the Asiatic Exclusion League, an anti-immigration hate group based in Vancouver. 

The UBC Archives Photograph Collection contains over 40,000 photos held by the UBC Archives dating from the founding of the university to present day. They present a visual record of UBC's growth and development, the evolution of student life, and campus events over most of the past century. 

three students wearing shirts for Chinese democracy

Image source: UBC Archives Photograph Collection, UBC Open Collections

Media Services. (1989, August 14). Chinese democracy t-shirts [P]. doi:

The Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, donated by Uno and Dianne Langmann and Uno Langmann Limited, consists of more than 18,000 rare and unique early photographs from the 1850s to the 1970s. It is considered a premiere private collection of early provincial photos, and an important illustrated history of early photographic methods. The photographs were taken by a wide range of photographers. Some well-known photographers represented in the collection include William Notman, Charles MacMunn, Frederick Dally, Charles Horetzky, Charles Gentile, Philip Timms, Yucho Chow, R. Maynard, and Leonard Frank. Many of the photos depict Asian Canadians in a variety of roles, scenarios, etc. throughout B.C. history.

postcard featuring "Hindu immigrants at Vancouver BC"

Image source: Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, UBC Open Collections

Barrowclough, G. A. (1920). Hindu [Im]migrants, B.C. [P]. doi: