UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Cultural heritage and the acquisition of private archives Karlebach, Tanya


This thesis provides an examination of a number of issues relating to private archives within the context of their acquisition. The investigation begins with an historical inquiry into the creation, use and acquisition of private archives in western society. The study then expands to examine issues concerning heritage and culture in twentieth century society with particular note of Canadian society. These larger cultural issues are then investigated specifically as they pertain to private archives and archival institutions. These investigations reveal the significance of communities in the formation and fostering of cultural identity, and the need to acknowledge this in archival practice. The thesis argues that when examining the provenance of private archives, the larger community within which the records were created is of crucial importance. The investigation determines that the community provides a cultural framework which influences its members and which in turn is reflected in the archives. That the symbolic significance and cultural relevance of these archives to other members of the community is enormous is a central argument of the thesis and leads to the conclusion that the removal of these archives from the community of creation results in a form of cultural appropriation. The thesis concludes by positing certain principles designed to facilitate private archives acquisition that aims to maintain the cultural integrity of specific communities.

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