UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

W. Kaye Lamb and the Provincial Archives of British Columbia 1934-1939 Eso, Elizabeth Denham


The study examines W.K. Lamb's administration of the Provincial Archives of British Columbia from 1934 to 1939. Such a study is justified on the grounds that little is known about the few public archives that had been established by the 1930s. Despite difficult financial circumstances of the time, Lamb transformed the rather ill-administered Archives Department of the Legislative Library into a distinct, vital provincial archives by organizing the collections so that they could be properly used, the staff so-they could be productive and the finances of the whole department so that the needs of the work could be demonstrated. Lamb's greatest concern was to make the Archives accessible to historical researchers and the public at large. A major thrust of his efforts may be found in his establishment of the British Columbia Historical Quarterly; under his editorship it became a widely respected historical journal which brought readable, scholarly history to a wide readership and publicized the collections and work of the Archives. To understand Lamb's efforts in this regard, it is important to examine his own early life and university studies in British Columbia and Europe. Lamb's early writings, and his reviews of historical works give a good idea of Lamb's view of history and his favourite subjects. Unpublished reports of the Provincial Library and Archives as well as correspondence between Lamb and Ireland, Lamb and various amateur historians and colleagues tell the story of the development of the Archives and the Quarterly venture. Interviews with Dr. Lamb himself helped set the tone for the study and filled in many gaps in the research.

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