British Columbia Historical Textbooks

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Royal Atlas for Canadian SchoolsThe Curriculum Library at the University of Victoria has a unique collection of textbooks used in British Columbia’s public schools since the province joined confederation in 1871.  This historical textbooks collection includes books on a variety of school subjects including science, math, health, English and language arts, foreign languages, history, and social studies.  With their large readership these textbooks have touched the lives of many citizens for nearly a century and a half.  School textbooks provide us with insight into the thinking, priorities, values, and assumptions of those who wrote, taught, and read these books. 

Through the development of a digital library of these textbooks UVic Libraries hopes this multi-year project will help preserve and highlight these unique artefacts of our province’s history.  UVic Libraries’ developing historical textbooks digital library will be of interest to the general public, educators, and researchers, specifically historians.

For more information about this project please contact the Education Librarian, Pia Russell.  Watch Pia’s ‘Faces of UVic Research’ video where she talks about her research on the educational role of libraries and the history of school textbooks in BC. 

UVic Libraries wishes to acknowledge the expertise and support of the following people on this project:

  • Patrick Dunae, Adjunct Professor—Department of History, UVic
  • Don Hamilton, Retired Librarian—UVic Libraries
  • Zoe Clement, Curriculum Library Collections Projects—UVic Libraries
  • Jeff Kiland, Circulation Assistant—Curriculum Library, UVic Libraries
  • Maggie Tan, Circulation Resource Assistant—Curriculum Library, UVic Libraries

For more information on the history of textbooks in British Columbia we recommend the following resources: