British Columbia

Century-old photo found in library book returned to its owner in Kelowna

Michelle Harvey was surprised to a see a photo of her grandfather as a toddler posted on social media by the Okanagan Regional Library service last week.

It's a great reminder of family connections, says granddaughter of Tip Harvey, who died 30 years ago

An antique baby photo of Thomas Frances Pashley ‘Tip’ Harvey who was born in Toronto in 1914. He lived in England until 1955 when he relocated to B.C.'s Okanagan. (Vernon, Lumby, Cherryville, Falkland Libraries/Facebook)

Finding history in library books is easy, but turning the page to find a century-old heirloom is much more rare.

That's made Michelle Harvey thankful that a fellow library patron spotted a vintage photo of her grandfather as a child and turned it in to the local branch.

Last week, the North Okanagan branches of the Okanagan Regional Library service used social media to post a black-and-white antique photo of a toddler dressed in white with knee socks, shiny shoes and holding a cricket ball.

"Thomas Frances Pashley 'Tip' Harvey, July 7, 1914," reads the handwritten note on the back of the photo.

"This sweet photo was found in a library book borrowed from our Vernon branch. We would love to be able to give it back to its owner," its Facebook post says.

 

The Okanagan Regional Library told CBC News the photo was found by a patron who checked out the same book immediately after Harvey. No information about that patron has been disclosed for privacy reasons. 

Harvey, currently living in Kelowna, says she was shocked to see the baby photo of her grandfather's that she had forgotten about.

"I was just so happy, and it's the type of thing I didn't even realize it was missing," Harvey told Sarah Penton, the host of Radio West.

"I felt such a sense of relief and gratitude that the library had reached out and tried to find the owner," Harvey said, adding it would have been a big loss to her family if this piece of her grandfather's legacy had been lost.

"[The] photo is just such a great reminder of the importance of my granddad and those family connections," she said. "He was a man who did not have a lot, but was always so generous and so kind, and I need that photo to help tell his story so my kids realize how wonderful he was."

Tip Harvey was born in Toronto on July 7, 1914, to parents from the United Kingdom. They travelled back to England with the infant and took the photo of him when he was around two years old. 

The grown-up Harvey relocated from England to British Columbia in 1955. He passed away in Kelowna on March 7, 1990. 

His granddaughter remembers him as a lifetime cricket enthusiast.

"When he was in grade school [in England], he was responsible for the cricket pitch and … prepared the pitch for their weekly games," Harvey said. "He joined every cricket club in the Okanagan, from Penticton, Vernon, Naramata [to] Kelowna."

Tip Harvey loved the game of cricket throughout his life, joining clubs in the Okanagan after relocating from England. (Submitted by Michelle Harvey)

Harvey says she put her grandfather's photo into a book that she returned to the library in August, as she was about to move from Vernon to Kelowna.

"I am always reaching for whatever is nearby to use as a bookmark, so sometimes it's candy wrappers, sometimes it's receipts, whatever I can find, and I guess this time I just reached for my grandad's photo."

The library has offered to send the photo to one of its Kelowna branches for Harvey to pick up.

Tap the link below to hear Michelle Harvey's interview on Radio West:

Michelle Harvey speaks to Sarah Penton about how grateful she is that Okanagan Regional Library in Vernon kept a photo of her grandfather Tip Harvey as a toddler. 7:49

With files from Radio West

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