Assignment 6

Assignment 6 – Applied history project

This assignment is due on October 4, and it is worth 25% of your mark. This assignment builds on the archival research that you did in Prince Rupert/Port Edward, but you are expected to supplement it with digitized historical documents and secondary sources. Students may work alone or in groups of two for this assignment. Below is a list of possible digitized primary sources that you can consult in Prince George after the course is over.

The goal of this assignment is to share original research with the broader public by producing digital content. A second goal is to give students real-life experience is working with history. While it is only one assignment, it will be an experience that you can discuss during a job interview for a history-related position.

Students will do one of the following four activities or, with approval from Dr. Bryce, students may carry out any other project that that shares original historical research with the community.

1) Make or greatly transform a Wikipedia page. Students should submit a PDF (via Blackboard) of the page before and after they modified it. Students should consult this article about becoming a contributor:

Students should read these two articles about the pedagogical value of this assignment:

2) Create a podcast with the help of the UNBC CFUR radio station. The podcast should be approximately 10 minutes long. There will be a one-hour training session at the CFUR radio station on campus (near the Thirsty Moose) at 2:30 pm on Thursday, September 5. If you cannot make it to this session, you cannot do this assignment (unless you are already comfortable with audio production). After this training session, students should book a one-hour time slot with the station manager so that they can record and edit their podcast. Before the day of recording, students should prepare a script, and they should practice it several times in advance so that minimal editing work is required. Students should send Dr. Bryce the completed podcast as an MP3 (or other audio format) via e-mail. The radio station would like to broadcast all of these podcasts once complete, and the files will also be posted to the course website for future listeners.

3) Publish an article on Students can revise their article after it is marked and before submitting it to the editors. Students should submit a polished draft in Word document via e-mail to Dr. Bryce. The text should be approximately 750 words.

Here are some examples of articles that have been published on the website:

4) Make a small museum exhibit that could be used at the cannery. The exhibit should have at least five posters, with text based on archival research and photographs. Students can visit other museums to see examples of good (and bad) posters. They should be attentive to text size, legibility, attractiveness of the material presented, and the importance of images. Students should make the posters on a computer, using a large document in Microsoft Powerpoint or other program, and submit the file to the instructor.

Primary Sources related to course themes

Note: Some of these sources are not digitized. You will have to order them through interlibrary loans as soon as possible so you have adequate time to consult the materials before the October 1 deadline. Materials generally take 7-10 days to arrive.

Historical Articles

Lynch, R.W. “The Salmon Canning Industry of the Pacific Coast,” Journal of Geography 32 (1933): 345-352.

  • A comparative overview of the canning industry in Alaska, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest. A mostly descriptive account.

Historical Books

Carrothers, W.A. The British Columbia Fisheries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1941).

    • Overview of the B.C. fishery, with a focus on salmon canning. A descriptive account, with statistics.

DeLoach, Daniel B. The Salmon Canning Industry (Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State College, 1939).

    • Descriptive account of the Pacific salmon canning industry, with a focus on the economics of the industry. Mostly focused on the United States, and Oregon in particular.

Koizumi, Maya & Rolf Knight. A Man of Our Times: The Life-History of a Japanese-Canadian Fisherman (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1976).

    • A short life history of a Japanese migrant & labour organizer, who arrived in North American in 1910. Covers his experiences in different jobs—including fishing for canneries—, his work in organizing Japanese workers, publishing Japanese-language labour materials, and Japanese internment. Written as a “people’s history” with a focus on class.

Newell, Dianne, ed. The Development of the Pacific Salmon-Canning Industry: A Grown Man’s Game. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1989.

    • A collection of primary documents from the Henry Doyle fonds, archived at UBC. The documents are from the period 1900 to 1920s, but republished in this accessible edited collection.

Stevens, Homer & Rolf Knight. Homer Stevens: A Life in Fishing (Maderia Park: Harbour Publishing, 1992).

    • A key source on the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union (UFAWU). Stevens was the Secretary-Treasurer of the union between 1948-1970, before being elected president. Offers an insider view on the union, including his early experiences in fishing, union organizing efforts & interactions with other labour organizations, reflections on Asian and First Nations workers and organizations, WWII, travels to Czechoslovakia, the 1967 Prince Rupert strike, and interactions with the provincial NDP government in the 1970s among others.



The British Colonist [Victoria Times Colonist],

  • A searchable database of all copies of the newspaper between 1858-1951.
  • A few suggestions:
  • 1881-07-26, “Interesting News from the Canneries”
  • 1881-07-30, “A Visit to the Fraser Canneries”
  • 1891-08-04, “A Trip to the Canneries”
  • 1895-08-18, “The Salmon Pack”
  • 1900-07-(08-30), reports on the 1900 Fraser River Strike

Pacific Fisherman,

  • An industry-focused journal published in the Pacific Northwest between 1903-1966. The years 1903-1911 are available digitally and are searchable. Covers canning and fishing. Lots of evocative materials on the “Iron Chink” and other technology.
  • A few suggestions:
    • 1906-05 (Vol. 4, No. 5), “’Iron Chink’ a Winner Among Fisheries of Two Coasts”
    • 1906-08 (Vol. 4, No. 8), “Power Applied in the Modern Pacific Coast Salmon Packing Plant”
    • 1906-09 (Vol. 4, No. 9), “Iron Chink Makes Hit in British Columbia”
    • 1907-02 (Vol. 5, Yearbook), “The Perfect Fish Cleaning Machine”
    • 1909-06 (Vol. 7, No. 6), “Edmund A. Smith—In Memorium” [inventor of Iron Chink]
    • 1910-11 (Vol. 8, No. 11), “The Passing of Chinese Labor”

Oral History

Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society –

  • Oral history interviews. If you want to use this source, I can get you the transcription from the cannery.
  • Photographs as well.

Richmond City Archives Oral History Project,

  • Sets of interviews under taken in 1972 and 1991, mostly with people affiliated with the fishing industry in Richmond, especially with the Britannia Shipyard boat-building and canning site. Some have full transcripts online.
  • Some suggestions:
    • Doris Forsyth, “…the sole female employee working at Britannia Shipyard between 1972 and 1980”
    • Jimmy Hing & Jim Kishi, “…what it was like to live and play around the waterfront, and what the quality of life offered people, especially the Chinese and Japanese cannery workers.”
    • Gerry Miller, “…his experiences as Shipwright and Manager at the Britannia Shipyard”
    • Harold L. Steves Sr., “…his experiences including his years growing up on a farm in Steveston during the early 1900s. A broad range of topics…such as…the Fraser River, the local fishing economy…various ethnic groups and ethnic relations…”


Cobb, John N. Pacific Salmon Fisheries (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1930). [several editions]

  • A survey of all aspects of the industry. Mostly has an environmental focus—types of fish, fishing grounds, catch methods etc.—but some info on

Purdon, Rupert L. World Trade in Canned Salmon (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1925).

  • A short statistical overview of the global production and distribution of canned salmon in the mid-20s. Written from the perspective of American interests. A dry read, but demonstrates the global reach of the industry.

Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, 1902).

  • Pages 134-167 discuss the salmon canning industry in considerable depth, mostly dealing with British Columbia, but some testimonies are from the United States.
  • Note, there is also some scattered information on Chinese workers in canning in the 1885 royal commission, but this one is much more comprehensive and better organized.