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Tales from the Vault

A look at local history as told through the old and rare books in the Greater Victoria Public Library

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Tales from the Vault:

Black pioneer Mifflin Gibbs

Local History Librarian Stephen Ruttan tells the story of the remarkable acheivements of businessman, city councillor, and black pioneer Mifflin Gibbs.
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Tales from the Vault:

"Worst Canadian" Trutch shaped B.C. aboriginal relations

Joseph Trutch was a key figure in B.C.'s early years, but he's been nominated as the Worst Canadian. Stephen Ruttan, the Greater Victoria Public Library's local history librarian explores the controversial life of  the province's first  Lieutenant-Governor.
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Tales from the Vault:

The lepers of D'Arcy Island

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(British Columbia Archives)
Stephen Ruttan, the local history librarian with the GVPL, tells the story of the D'Arcy Island leper colony in his latest instalment of  his online series, "Tales from the Vault." 







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Tales from the Vault:

The Sea Wolf

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North West Coast sealing fleet in Victoria circa 1901. Photo from British Columbia Archives A_00181

Local History Librarian Stephen Ruttan tells the real story of the west coast sealer who was the purported model for Jack London's tale of a brutal sea captain.

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Tales from the Vault:

The man who ruined Captain George Vancouver

gvancouver250.jpgLocal History Librarian Stephen Ruttan tells the story of the Lord Camelord whose vendetta ruined the reputation and health of Capt. Vancouver.

Stephen's article on The Vancouver/Camelford Affair is published on the Greater Vancouver Public Library's "Tales from the Vault" web feature. 

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Download (runs 8:10)

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Tales from the Vault:

Franz Boas and the Yuquot Whalers' Shrine

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The removal of important cultural artifacts is big part of the history of First Nations and non-native relations on the west coast.

In the late 1800s collectors removed thousands of poles, masks and other works of art for foreign museums in Europe and the United States.

Two of the most important figures in that trade were German geographer Franz Boas and George Hunt. Hunt was himself a member of the Kwakiutl community on Vancouver Island.

Among the objects they acquired for the American Museum of Natural History in New York was a mysterious building and its contents, known as the Yuquot Whalers Shrine.

Their quest for the shrine is the subject of this "Tales From the Vault" by Local History Librarian Stephen Ruttan.

You can find Stephen's article about this and many other tales on the GVPL website.

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George Hunt (on left) in front of inside house pole. From British Columbia Archives, call # AA-00051