A treasure trove of rare historical photos from the early days of British Columbia will be preserved, digitized and made public, thanks to a $1.2 million gift from a Vancouver art collector to the University of British Columbia.
The Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs, donated by Uno and Dianne Langmann, consists of more than 18,000 rare and unique early photographs from the 1850s to the 1970s. It is considered the premiere private collection of early provincial photos, and an important illustrated history of early photographic methods.
“I don’t think we worship the past enough,” says Uno Langmann, 78, an avid collector and art lover, who wanted to keep the collection in his adopted province of B.C. and tap into educational opportunities at UBC. “There’s enough in this collection for a thousand students to dig into,” he adds. “I want them to learn where B.C. comes from, and where they come from.”
Images from the collection include: “Hurdy gurdy girls” outside a Barkerville saloon selling dances to miners for $1 (1867), a group of First Nations people in Lytton (1867), a couple skating on Trout Lake (1900), troops departing New Westminster for the war (1940) and a Fraser River steamboat bringing supplies to gold prospectors (1867).
Images from the collection are being digitized on an ongoing basis and will be available for viewing on the Library’s website. Library users will be able to request items from the collection through UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.
About Uno Langmann:
Originally from Denmark, Langmann started collecting coins when he was eight. In 1955, aided by proceeds from the sale of some of those coins, plus some antiques, he came to Vancouver on a one-way ticket. He opened his first local gallery in 1967 and his internationally respected gallery, Uno Langmann Limited Fine Art, moved to its current Granville Street location in 1977. Langmann is known for his knowledge, preservation and promotion of arts and culture.
“This outstanding collection brings the vibrant history of the Pacific Northwest to life,” says Ingrid Parent, UBC’s University Librarian. “We are grateful to Uno and his family for this donation and excited to have it digitized for posterity and for the historical relevance and curiosity of current and future Canadians who call B.C. their home.
This gift forms a part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history with the twin goal of raising $1.5 billion and involving 50,000 alumni annually in the life of the university by 2015.