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A treasure trove of material

A 1957 Calgary Stampeder Football program. Glenbow Library and Archives, UCalgary: 00012212300.

It isn’t easy to fathom the depth of the Glenbow Library and Archives, but once you get into it, there’s a treasure trove of material.

Sure, it’s easy to say there are thousands upon thousands of items, all of which take up 3.3 km of shelf space. While that speaks to volume, it’s hard to understand how rich the collection is without seeing it firsthand. 

And that could take a lifetime. But UCalgary’s metadata staff have been doing just that as they enter everything from the Glenbow Library and Archives into the university’s library catalogues. 

Along with cataloging the items that cross her desk, Brenna Burwash, a metadata assistant with UCalgary’s special collections, has been photographing the ones that catch her eye. 

Images tell the story

What follows is a selection of images Burwash has found intriguing, including books, magazines, advertisements, pamphlets and brochures, reports, letters and posters.

Each point to the diversity of the collection of the Glenbow Library and Archives.

Going by this material, men are manly. They hunt (Never Trust a Bear!), take part in winter warfare and live up to being the “ideal man” (body, mind and spirit).

Meanwhile, women are the “weaker sex,” at least according to a House of Tangee cosmetics advertisement from the 1940s. Although, the man in the Stamps vs. the Eskimos program might disagree, as would Mary, a woman from the Enoch Cree Nation. Mary lived to be nearly 100, and she was well-known for her beadwork on moccasins and deer-skin jackets.

Digging through the material that Burwash has photographed shows that politics have always been ugly, Americans think we’re communists, the 1980s had big hair, and Dr. Charles Mayo believed that when it comes to alcohol, “It’s The Brain That Counts.”

Wherever your interest lies, whether it be gender roles, health, history, horses, politics or the 1980s, it’s a safe bet the Glenbow Library and Archives has something to fill out your research, challenge stereotypes or just make you smile (or even cringe). 

After all, it is a treasure trove of material.

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And please note that the Glenbow Western Research Centre is still closed. In the meantime, however, some research services are still available.










Oh, the ’80s