A collection of rare historical photos from the early days of British Columbia will be preserved, digitized and made public through the University of British Columbia, thanks to a $1.2 million donation from Vancouver art collectors Uno and Dianne Langmann.
The Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs consists of more than 18,000 rare and unique early photographs from the 1850s to the 1970s. It is considered the premiere private collection of early provincial photos, and an important illustrated history of early photographic methods. The collection dates to the late 1970s, when the Langmanns bought an album featuring early shots of Canada from an Edinburgh antique shop.
Photographers represented in the collection include William Notman, Charles MacMunn, Frederick Dally, Charles Horetzky, Charles Gentile, Philip Timms, Yucho Chow, R. Maynard, and Leonard Frank.
“I don’t think we worship the past enough,” says Uno Langmann. “There’s enough in this collection for a thousand students to dig into...I want them to learn where BC comes from, and where they come from.”
Langmann opened his first local art gallery in 1967 and by the late 1970s he had established Sotheby’s Parke Bernet in Vancouver and become their first northwest representative. His internationally respected gallery, Uno Langmann Limited Fine Art, specializing in the finest quality European and North American paintings from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, moved to its current Granville Street location in 1977. He continues to run the gallery with the assistance of his daughter Jeanette Langmann.
Images from the collection will be available on the UBC Library's website beginning summer 2014. Library users will be able to request items from the collection through UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.
Photo: The Steamer 'Onward' landing freight, preparatory to crossing Emery's Bar, by Frederick Dally (ca. 1867). The steamer would have been carrying people and goods to gold mining sites on the Fraser River.