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Canadian Historical Map Collection
University of British Columbia, Special Collections and University Archives Division

British Columbia--Maps; Canada--Maps--Early works to 1800; Early maps; Cartography--History; British Columbia--History; Canada--History

The map collection began with a donation by the valedictory class of 1931. It was greatly enlarged by the bequests of Judge F.W. Howay in 1944 and Dr. Robie Reid in 1945. In 1961, a historical cartography collection was begun in memory of Dr.Gilbert N. Tucker and was enlarged in 1979 with the collection of Dr. Coolie Verner and again in 1994 with the acquisition of 300 maps and some atlases from L. Stanley Deane. All of these collections have been expanded over the years.

The collection is one of the largest historical map collections in Western Canada and includes many rare and unique items. The scope of the collection is on British Columbia and pre-Confederation Canadian history, voyages of exploration, and the history of cartography and geographical knowledge. The geographic and chronological emphasis is on British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, the Arctic, and pre-l900 Canada. The broader Historical Map Collection includes maps of America, East Asia, and the world pre-1800. Excluded from the collection is material on the post-1800 world, post-l900 Canada, foreign cities, current mapping, and post-World War II British Columbia government mapping. Present acquisition plans are to acquire original material of the period and significant material published in facsimile.


The holdings given are for the entire Historical Map Collection: 15,000 maps; 21 serials; 2,589 aperture cards; 3,800 microfiche; 805 35mm slides; 3 globes; 1 steel plate; 6 manuscripts (maps). Currently, 13 serials are received.

Bibliographic Access
The collection is catalogued in a separate card catalogue and some materials are listed in the online catalogue. LC and NLCsubject headings are used. The Boggs and Lewis classification scheme, with modifications, is used to arrange the material. Special indexes and bibliographies include: "Fire insurance plans and British Columbia urban history: a union list." BC Studies. -- No.42 (Summer 1979); "British Columbia fire insurance plans: a union list." BC Studies. -- No. 42 (Summer 1979); Vancouver centennial bibliography (1986); and inventories of maps in cartographic archives.

Physical Access
The collection is in the Special Collections Reading Room which is open to the public. For further inforamtion visit:

Interlibrary Loan: No.

Reprography: Photocopying is done by the staff, as the condition of the material warrants.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
Woodward, Frances. -- "Cartographic collections at the University of British Columbia Library". --Archivaria. -- No. 13 (Winter 1981/82). -- Ottawa: Association of Canadian Archivists, 1982.