Featured Place at IKBLC: Atlin, BC

Our featured B.C. place for this week is the northern most place we have featured yet: Atlin. The town of Atlin and Atlin Lake are located along Highway 7, not too far south of the border with Yukon. Atlin likes to be called “Switzerland of the North” because of its wintertime beauty and activities. The name Atlin is derived from the Tlingit word atlah which means “big water.”  The town was founded in the late 19th century when gold was struck in the area, drawing thousands of settlers; today the population is around 450 people.

Our featured document is a photograph from our B.C. Historical Photograph Collection. It is an example of the importance of having access to the back (or verso) of some photographs, when they contain helpful inscriptions or stamps. The photograph was probably taken looking across Atlin Lake:

"Rift in the clouds", Atlin B.C.“Rift in the clouds”, Atlin B.C.

The title, “Rift in the clouds,” was inscribed on the back of the photograph, possibly by the photographer. By looking at the back, we can see the stamp of the photographer:

Verso of the photographVerso of the photograph

The photographer was L.C. Read, who, according to the Camera Workers of B.C., was active in the Atlin area up until around 1919.

If it were not for the photographer’s stamp on the back of the photograph,  we wouldn’t be able to say who the photographer was, and it would be unlikely that the location could be identified as Atlin.

To learn more about our historical photograph collections, consult our Photographs Research Guide. In the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, the Atlin Meeting Room is number 191, on the first floor.

Cross-posted at UBC Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections.

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