19th century

These digital collections feature materials from the 19th century held by UVic Libraries and our community partners.


Sketch by Harry Furniss

19th Century Manuscripts

This collection showcases a selection of nineteenth-century manuscripts held in Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Victoria Libraries.


The British Colonist 1858-1920
British Colonist detail

The British Colonist 1858-1920

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the British Colonist newspaper, every page of every issue, from December 11, 1858 until the end of December, 1920 -- a total of 170,000 pages, have been made available.


Colonial Despatches
Despatch document detail

Colonial Despatches

The Colonial Despatches were the original correspondence between the British Colonial Office and the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. This project aims to digitize and publish online a complete archive of the correspondence covering the period from 1846 up to the incorporation of B.C. into the Canadian Federation in 1871.


Greater Victoria Public Library Local History Collection
Map from Victoria Water Supply report, 1872

Greater Victoria Public Library Local History Collection

This collection was drawn from the local history holdings of the Greater Victoria Public Libraries (GVPL). Among the works included are a transcript of a talk given by Emily Carr about modern art, the Reminiscences of Bishop Cridge, a volume on Vancouver Island farming, and a report on the Victoria water supply from 1872.


HBC Maps
HBC map of Victoria BC, detail

HBC Maps

The Hudson's Bay Company had the exclusive right to trade with First Nations in what is now British Columbia throughout most of the 19th century.

These 100 maps provide a graphic view of the development of the province from 1842 until the 1860s when the company’s trading in its two BC colonies declined. Most maps included are manuscripts which are hand drawn and coloured.


Victoria Police Department Charge Books
Detail of Victoria Police Department chargebook

Victoria Police Department Charge Books

Nineteenth Century "charge books" from the Victoria Police Department. The handwritten charge books are a record of the arrests made in Victoria, British Columbia, and surrounding areas between 1873-1876.


Victoria's Early History
Government Street, ca. 1910

Victoria's Early History

A selection of early Victoria and Vancouver Island maps, books, pamphlets and ephemera, together with archival material drawn from the Frank and Cecilia Sylvester family fonds.

Frank Sylvester was an early Jewish settler to Victoria, involved in the fire department and the negotiation of labour contracts.


Victorian Early Novels Collection
19th century serials

Victorian Early Novels Collection

Throughout the Victorian period, novels in serial parts were published in abundance in newspapers and magazines, by far the most popular form, or in discreet parts issued in instalments, usually twenty monthly issues.

Many 19th century authors established themselves by first publishing original fiction in serial format. Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, George Meredith, Robert Louis Stevenson and more, all published serial novels, either in monthly magazines or as discreet serial parts.