Help us with the History of History!


 In 2013 UVic will be celebrating its 50th anniversary as a university but the history of the History department goes back at least to 1920 when it was part of Victoria College. (A  case may be made that it dates from 1903  but that will require further research).   In all but the latter days of the College the department was very small.  Sydney Pettit was the only historian and at various times  also acted as  librarian or taught psychology and sociology.  By 1963, when the College became a University the nucleus of the present department was emerging as professors such as R.H. Roy had joined the department.  In the late 1960s the department began to grow rapidly.

Historians know the value of the written record;  the minutes of department meetings survive.  In addition, many professors who taught in the late 1960s and beyond are available for interviews but there is little evidence of the department's history from the student's point of view.   And there are no photographs.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the department has asked me to write its history.   In order to make it more than a formal record of such things as how the curriculum evolved, how the faculty debated such matters as smoking at department meetings,  or how the secretaries coped with the first computers and photocopiers,  I need anecdotes from former students.  I have some stories such how the forerunner of THUGS (The History UnderGraduate Society) got in trouble for serving sherry at a party but I need more.  Do you recall any outstanding professors?   Any eccentric ones?  Do you remember any highlights of the Qualicum Conferences?   Were you part of the UVic team that won the University Challenge (a televised quiz show) in 1971? Were you writing an exam in the old gym when the lights went out?   What was it like to be a pioneer graduate student?  And, of course, memories of routine events are also welcome.

If you have any stories or photographs to share, they will be greatly   appreciated.   Photographs will be returned if you provide your name and address or they can be scanned and sent electronically.  I would like to have stories and photos by 12 March 2012 so they can be incorporated into the manuscript in a timely manner.

Any stories relating to the History Department and how rules, regulations or customs have changed will be welcomed as possible contributions to the Department’s History.

When you submit your stories, please provide your name, your years of attendance, and indicate whether you wish to be acknowledged by name or left anonymous.

Thank you.   I look forward to hearing from you.

Patricia Roy
Professor Emeritus