The BC Archives is one of the oldest archival institutions in Canada. Its origins date back to 1894 when R.E. Gosnell, the first permanent Legislative Librarian, started to collect “manuscript statements and narratives, old letters, journals, files of newspapers, books, pamphlets, reports, charts, maps, photographs, sketches” which would “illustrate the history of the North West and the Pacific Coast, and more particularly of British Columbia”. In 1908, Gosnell’s services “as archivist” were engaged marking the beginning of the Archives as a distinct identity. Gosnell is considered the first Provincial Archivist. With the exception of 1940-1946, until 1974 the Archives was administratively part of the Provincial (now Legislative) Library. The position of Provincial Archivist from 1910-1940 and 1946-1974 was held by the Provincial Librarian. In 1974 the Library and Archives were separated as well as the two positions. In 1989, the Records Management Branch (established in 1982) was merged with the Archives. In 2002 the two were separated when the BC Archives became part of the new Royal BC Museum Corporation and the records management functions were retained by government.
Total Volume: 6900 m of textual records; 5 million photographs; 10,000 art works; 68,000 cartographic and architectural items; 29,000 sound and moving holdings; 80,000 library items.
Inclusive Dates: ca. 1530 to present
Predominant Dates: 1850-1990