Collection RBSC-ARC-1763 - Barbara Hodgson Opium collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Barbara Hodgson Opium collection

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the collection.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [ca. 1795-1999 , predominant 1899-1930] (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

206 textual records
206 transparencies : b&w and col.
48 photographs : b&w

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Archival description area

Custodial history

Scope and content

Items in the collection were gathered by Barbara Hodgson. Many of the items were reproduced in Hodgson’s non-fiction publications In the Arms of Morpheus: The Tragic History of Laudanum, Morphine and Patent Medicines (2001) and Opium: A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon (1999). Hodgson was particularly interested in representations of opium production, transportation, sale, and ingestion, as well as similar representations of laudanum and patent medications containing morphine. Geographical areas depicted include China, countries in South Asia, and countries in the Middle East. Many representations of opium ingestion in the collection are orientalist in nature; individuals who have South Asian, Chinese, or Middle Eastern heritage are depicted in a racist, exoticized manner by Western film or medicine companies in order to lend an aura of “glamour” to various products.

The collection spans 223 books searchable through the UBC Library Catalogue and the following archival files created by Hodgson: Trade Cards; Postcards and Stereo Cards; Movie Stills; Portraits of Writers and Performers; Pharmaceutical Documents, U.S. Federal Order Forms, Medication Advertisements, and Stamps; Print Copies of Engravings; and Canadian Customs Tariff Book, 1897. As is apparent from this list, archival documents were aggregated based on their form. Principle documentary forms in the collection include the following: trade cards created by Victorian-era patent medicine companies; postcards; stereo cards; film stills from a variety of films; copies of film reviews; photographs; postage stamps; advertisements; handwritten prescriptions; pharmacy stock lists; U.S. Treasury Department order forms; anti-narcotic postage stamps; a package of Stanback Headache Powder; print copies of engravings; and a Canadian customs tariff book from 1897.

Notes area

Physical condition

The binding on the leather tariff book is in poor condition—many pages could easily fall out from the volume.

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was acquired from Barbara Hodgson in 2016.


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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Some items in the collection may still be protected by copyright. Permission to reproduce these items must be obtained from the copyright holders.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Related materials: 223 volumes from this collection have been catalogued separately. These items can be located by performing an advanced search in the UBC Library catalogue, using the term “Hodgson Opium Collection” as an additional author.

Materials in this collection are a part of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection (RBSC-ARC-1679), which also features historical documents related to opium.

General note

Photographs in the collection: RBSC-ARC-1763-PH-01 to RBSC-ARC-1763-PH-48 (all stored inbox 1)

General note

The Barbara Hodgson Opium Collection was purchased through funds provided by Dr. Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung. As such, this collection is a part of the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection (RBSC-ARC-1679).

Physical description

ca. 101 postcards : b&w and col.
ca. 63 trade cards : col.
206 transparencies : b&w and col.
48 photographs : b&w (RBSC-ARC-1763-PH-01 to RBSC-ARC-1763-PH-48)
3 additional cm of textual records
1 package of Stanback Headache Powder : powder in sealed paper envelope
1 volume : leather cover, paper pages ; 24 x 16.5 x 2 cm.
6 stereo cards : b&w and col.

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Finding aid created by Gillian Dunks in April 2017.

Language of description

Script of description


Hodgson, Barbara. In the Arms of Morpheus: The Tragic History of Laudanum, Morphine, and Patent Medicines. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2001.

Hodgson, Barbara. Opium: A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. 1999.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. 1st -- ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.

Accession area

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