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Forest History and Archives

A guide to archival materials related to forests and forestry at UBC's Rare Books and Special Collections



UBC's Rare Books & Special Collections Library has a wealth of materials related to the history of forests and forestry in British Columbia. This Research Guide has been organised to represent our holdings of records from forestry companies, individuals connected to forests and forestry, and organisations concerned with forests and forestry in British Columbia. We hope that this guide may provide an introduction to the complex and critical histories of and between forests and the peoples of British Columbia. From union records, to personal photograph albums to ledgers recording forested lands, materials described in this Research Guide offer documentary evidence of the many histories of British Columbia's forests.  Forest history remains a major collecting area for RBSC, and while we have many resources on forests and forest history, we are always seeking more, particularly from perspectives documenting Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, and other marginalized, equity seeking groups.  If you have materials you would like us to consider, please contact Claire Williams, RBSC Forestry Archivist at [] or Krisztina Laszlo, RBSC Archivist at [].

Note: Due to COVID-19 the RBSC reading room is open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm only. During this time RBSC staff, librarians and archivists are working to continue to support our patrons as best as possible. For an extensive guide to instructional resources please visit our Instructional Support Guide. Forest History Materials Available Online is a special section of this guide which has also been created to support remote users, and features archival materials related to forest history available digitally.


Featured Collection

MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds

[Unknown]. “Kew Garden’s Flagpole Felled by MacMillan Bloedel, Copper Canyon Division.” P. N.p., 1958. Original Format: University of British Columbia. Library. Rare Books and Special Collections. MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds. RBSC-ARC-1343-BC-1930-165-1-2-4-6.  <>. MacMillan Bloedel Limited Fonds.

The records in the MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. fonds span from 1866 to 2002. They represent the records of the three major predecessor companies: Powell River Company, Bloedel, Stewart & Welch, and H.R. MacMillan Export, as well as records of the amalgamated corporations MacMillan & Bloedel; MacMillan, Bloedel and Powell River; and MacMillan Bloedel Limited. Each of the original predecessor companies had a distinctive function, Powell River Company was a pulp and paper operation focused on the manufacturing of newsprint paper; Bloedel, Stewart, and Welch was a logging company whose main activities included acquiring timber lands and harvesting timber; H.R. MacMillan Export was a lumber trade and export company.  When H.R. MacMillan Export and Bloedel, Stewart, and Welch joined in 1956 to form MacMillan and Bloedel Ltd., and then when Powell River Company joined in 1960, the resultant records of these amalgamations reflected all of the previously separated functions, and evidence the vertical integration of MacMillan Bloedel.

Introducing Forestry Archives