RBCM Archives

Series GR-3353 - Bureau of Mines, Mineral Survey and Mineralogical Branch photographs

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Bureau of Mines, Mineral Survey and Mineralogical Branch photographs

General material designation

  • graphic material
  • textual material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the series.

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Series

Reference code

GR-3353

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Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1895-1945 (Creation)
    Creator
    British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 3000 photographs and 1 cm of textual record

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Archival description area

Name of creator

British Columbia. Dept. of the Provincial Secretary (1872-1976)

Biographical history

The Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was established in 1872. Prior to that, the origins of this department was in the offices of the Colonial Secretaries for the Colony of Vancouver Island (1863-1866), the Colony of British Columbia (1864-1866) and the united colony of British Columbia (1866-1871). When British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, the name Colonial Secretary remained in place until April 1872 when a Provincial Secretary was named to assume the duties and functions (SBC 1872, c. 15). The mandate of the Provincial Secretary included all the powers, duties and functions held by provincial secretaries and registrars in other provinces of the Dominion of Canada. They included being the keeper of the Great Seal of the Province, with the authority to issues letters patent and commissions, and being the keeper of all registers and archives of the province and previous governments of the province. As with other departments, it was also the duty of the Provincial Secretary to make an annual report to the Lieutenant-Governor. The first annual report was produced in 1972. At various times, different agencies have been under the direction of the Provincial Secretary such as treasury and audit branches, Bureau of Mines, gold commissioners, Returned Soldiers’ Commission, Provincial Library and Archives, Provincial Board of Health, Vital Statistics, Provincial Home, and others. In most instances these agencies were later transferred to the control of new ministries established to administer the specific function or functions. At various times and for varying periods, the Provincial Secretary was responsible for industrial schools, mothers’ pensions, administration of the Infants’ Act, protection of historic sites, and arbitration of labour disputes. In 1947, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary administered the Civil Service Commission, Government Printing Bureau, Superannuation Commission, mental hospitals, institution farms, homes for the aged, inspector of hospitals, and the Elections Act. In 1976, with the addition of travel and tourism functions from the Dept. of Recreation and Travel Industry, the Dept. of the Provincial Secretary was renamed the Ministry of the Provincial Secretary and Travel Industry (OIC 3199/76).

Name of creator

British Columbia. Bureau of Mines (1895-1934)

Biographical history

Name of creator

British Columbia. Dept. of Mines (1899-1960)

Biographical history

The Dept. of Mines was established in 1899 in accordance with the Department of Mines Act (SBC 1899, c. 48). Prior to that, the earliest regulation of mining in the province was implemented under the Gold Fields Proclamation of 1859 with the appointment of two gold commissioners by Governor James Douglas for the Colony of British Columbia. A gold commissioner was first appointed in 1864 for the Colony of Vancouver Island. The commissioners registered claims, issued licenses and adjudicated disputes with the advice and aid of elected district mining boards. The establishment of a provincial government with British Columbia’s entry into Confederation ultimately led to a Minister of Mines Act (SBC 1874, c. 16) in 1874. The Provincial Secretary also served as the Minister of Mines. In 1895, the Bureau of Mines Act 1895 (SBC 1895, c. 3) brought together all government offices connected with the mining industry. A provincial mineralogist was appointed who reported to the Provincial Secretary and Minister of Mines. In 1899, the Department of Mines Act created a separate department and minister. The Bureau of Mines remained in place as the technical division of the department and was also responsible for the certification for assayists. Revisions to the Department of Mines Act in 1934 and 1937 abolished the bureau and completely reorganized and centralized the department, dividing the functions into four branches: Administration Branch under the chief gold commissioner; Assay Branch under the chief analyst and assayer; Mineralogical Branch under the chief mining engineer; and Mines Inspection Branch under the chief inspector of mines. The department had responsibility for all matters affecting mining, including the collection, publication and circulation of information relating to mining, administration of all mining laws, and the operation and maintenance of the Provincial Assay Office, laboratories, sampling plants, and the maintenance of the Museum of Minerals. The functions and responsibilities of the department remained relatively stable until 1953 when responsibility for administration of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act and the Coal Act was transferred from the Department of Lands and Forests. A Petroleum and Natural Gas Branch, headed by the Chief Petroleum Engineer, was established and the department was renamed the Department of Mines and Petroleum Resources in 1960 (SBC 1960, c. 107). In 1976, it was renamed the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Resources (OIC 3199/76).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of photographs (negatives and a small number of prints) created by the offices of the Bureau of Mines and the Mineral Survey between 1895 and 1937, and by the Mineralogical Branch between 1937 and 1945. The series includes a 1938 memo which indicates that selected photographs were to be used or had been used in the department's published bulletins and in its Annual Report of the Minister of Mines. Photographers include the following government mineralogists, geologists, and mining engineers (followed with dates of photographs): William Fleet Robertson, Provincial Mineralogist, (photos 1898-1908); Herbert Carmichael, Assistant Mineralogist (1901-1904); F.W. Valleau, Gold Commissioner and Mining Recorder in the Omineca Mining District (photo 1901); Harold T. Nation (photos 1903-1926); Newton W. Emmens (1914); Joseph T. Mandy, provincial government resident mining engineer for the Atlin district (photos 1926-1945); Douglas Lay, Resident Mining Engineer (photos 1906-1940); Matthew S. Hedley (photos 1936-1939); Stuart S. Holland (photos 1939-1941); J.S. Stevenson (photos 1938-1942); H.S. Sargent (photos 1936-1941); R. Maconachie (1938-1940) and John D. Galloway, Provincial Mineralogist. A small number of photographs were collected from private sources, including professional photographers. Some are attributed to the British Columbia Provincial Police. Approximately 50 per cent of the photographs are not attributed to a photographer. Subjects include: mines, collieries, quarries, mineral veins and specimens; mining crews, equipment and operations; prospectors and placer mining activities; coke ovens, mills, smelters, concentrators and cement works; towns, modes of transportation; topographic features such as mountains, lakes, rivers, creeks. The photographers also captured a very wide range of subjects concerning British Columbia cultural and social history. Examples of this are First Nations activities and culture, including graveyards and bridges built by First Nations. The numbering system runs from 1 to 993. A single number may represent a series of photos on the same subject (for example: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred to the BC Archives by the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Revenue and Operational Services Division, Administrative Services Branch, (Sharon Ferris, Librarian), in 1994.

Arrangement

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Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Conservation restriction: Negatives in cold storage are not available for access.

These records are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or other acts and access may be restricted. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

All photographs were created prior to January 1, 1949, and are in the public domain.

Finding aids

A finding aid is filed with the records; it includes an inventory of items ordered by photo number and an alphabetical subject index of the photographs.

Associated materials

Related series:GR-3264 Bureau of Mines photograph albums.

Related materials

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

General note

Accession number(s): 92-3432

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