An Essential New Collection at UBC Library: The Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection

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This post originally appeared on the UBC Library website on May 5, 2021.


UBC Library has received an unparalleled rare book and archival collection, dating from the Klondike Gold Rush (1894-1904) in British Columbia, from UBC alumnus and Canadian telecommunications icon Philip B. Lind, CM. The gift includes a $2 million gift that will support the collection at the library.

The Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) recently designated the collection as a cultural property of outstanding significance.

“The historical objects from the Klondike Gold Rush era will contribute to a collective understanding of the shared stories and experiences that have shaped British Columbia. Looking to our past and critically examining our place in the world can help define a better path forward,” says Santa J. Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor. “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.”

Photo of Johnny Lind held by Claire Williams, archivist at UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections.Photo courtesy UBC Library.

This extraordinary collection offers so much possibility for both research and teaching, says Dr. Laura Ishiguro, Associate Professor in Department of History at UBC.

“I hope that this is a call to take the North seriously, and to take the history of the Klondike Gold Rush seriously but also to think about the North on its own terms,” she says. “It’s extraordinary, it’s enormous, there’s a great deal of diversity there, but there’s also hard questions to ask about which histories we know and which ones we don’t.”

To facilitate scholarly and public access to the materials, the library will be making the collection available online through UBC Library Open Collections. A preview of featured collection items is available to view now in a curated photo gallery.

“UBC Library is ideally suited to preserve and provide access to the rare archival and book material found in the Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection,” says Dr. Susan E. Parker, university librarian. “We’re excited to digitize this collection and make it available to everyone, through the library’s Open Collections. The Lind Collection will be an essential new source for historical research and scholarship across Canada.”

Photos from the collection. Photo courtesy UBC Library.

The Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection includes books, maps, letters and photos collected by Lind, whose grandfather, Johnny Lind, was a trailblazer who carved out success as a prospector, arriving in the Yukon two years before the big Klondike strike in 1896 that ignited the gold rush. He operated and co-owned several claims on Klondike rivers and creeks. Lind says that he made collecting archival materials from this period a real passion of his over the past 50 years.

Copy of Burning Daylight by Jack London from the collection. Photo courtesy UBC Library.

“My grandfather was there, and he was a central figure in all of this, even though he wasn’t widely known,” says Lind, who notes the first books in the collection were given to him by his father. Lind then developed relationships with collectors all over the West Coast to build out the collection, piece by piece, over the ensuing years. “My hopes for this collection are that more people would hear the stories and would be interested in it.”

Explore select items from the Phil Lind Klondike Gold Rush Collection, and learn more about UBC Library’s Open Collections.

Media contacts

Wan Yee Lok
Media Relations Specialist
Tel: 604.822.4549
wanyee.lok@ubc.ca

Michelle Blackwell
Director, Communications & Marketing, UBC Library
Tel: 647.688.3856
michelle.blackwell@ubc.ca


Feature image: Klondike Mine Railway Map. Photo courtesy UBC Library.

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