The collection is a gift from UBC alumnus and Vice-Chairman of Rogers Communications, Philip B. Lind. While the collection itself has been appraised at approximately $500,000, it's being donated alongside an additional $2 million in funds, intended to ensure the collection is preserved and made available to the public through the UBC Library.
The Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush includes books, maps, letters and photos collected by Lind, whose grandfather, Johnny Lind, found success as a prospector after arriving in the Yukon in 1894—two years before the big Klondike strike ignited the gold rush. Posters included in the collection served to notify potential prospectors that Vancouver was, at the time "the base of supplies and controls all the routes to the Klondike and British Columbia gold fields," while photos show prospectors relaxing or hard at work in the booming Yukon town.
“My grandfather was there, and he was a central figure in all of this, even though he wasn’t widely known,” said Lind in a release, noting that the first books in the collection were given to him by his father.
In the 50 years since, Lind—who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2001—developed his own passion for collecting archival materials from this period, eventually building relationships with collectors throughout the West Coast to assemble the collection piece by piece. “My hopes for this collection are that more people would hear the stories and would be interested in it," Lind added.
The Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) recently designated the collection, which dates back to the years spanning 1894 to 1904, as a cultural property of outstanding significance.
The collection's historic materials from this era will contribute to a collective understanding of the experiences that helped shaped British Columbia, said UBC's president and vice-chancellor. “Looking to our past and critically examining our place in the world can help define a better path forward,” explained Santa J. Ono. “UBC now has the opportunity to understand the stories of the gold rush era in a tangible way, through materials that have survived over a century.
"I am grateful to Phil Lind for entrusting UBC with this rare, one-of-a-kind collection.”
The UBC library will digitize the collection, making it available for both scholarly and public access online through UBC Library Open Collections. For a preview of featured collection items, scroll through the gallery above or check out UBC's curated photo gallery.