Fonds UBCA-ARC-1025 - Blythe Eagles fonds

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Blythe Eagles fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: The title is based on the provenance of the fonds

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Fonds

Reference code

UBCA-ARC-1025

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1902-1986 (Creation)
    Creator
    Eagles, Blythe

Physical description area

Physical description

4.15 m of textual records and other material.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1902-1990)

Biographical history

Blythe Alfred Eagles, UBC's long-time Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture (1949-1967), was born in New Westminster in 1902. His parents reached British Columbia with their respective families in 1885; his mother arrived from Ontario and his father from England via Manitoba. Both families were actively engaged in agricultural or horticultural pursuits.
Eagles entered UBC in 1918, where he took a double Honours program in biology and chemistry. During his studies, he attended classes taught by some notable pioneer professors at UBC including, A.H. Hutchinson, C. MacLean Fraser, R.H. Clark, John Davidson, Douglas MacIntosh and E.H. Archibald. Eagles also studied agriculture as a minor. This was, in large part, prompted by the ideas of President F.F. Wesbrook and Dean L.S. Klinck. They stressed the importance of integrating the study of the humanities, basic science and applied science. As a result, Klinck and later F.M. Clement offered agriculture courses to students in Arts and Science. In later commenting on this approach, Eagles reflected, "from Dean Clement I came to appreciate the interrelationship between food and agriculture both from their economic and nutritional aspects."
After graduating from UBC in 1922 with the Governor-General's Gold Medal, Eagles secured a fellowship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Toronto under the direction of Dr. V.J. Harding. He studied in the Departments of Biochemistry and Pathological Chemistry, obtaining his M.A. and Ph.D. in 1924 and 1926. Eagles then became a Research Fellow at Yale University (1926-1928). While there, he was seconded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington. He spent a year of post-doctoral study following Yale and Washington at the National Institute for Medical Research in London.
In 1929, Eagles returned to UBC and began a thirty-eight-year affiliation with the University. The position he assumed was unique at that time. It consisted of a half-time teaching, half-time research appointment with half of the funds for salary, equipment and supplies provided by the Empire Marketing Board. Eagles were to work on the biochemical aspects of cheese-ripening under Prof. Wilfrid Sadler and develop courses relating to the dairy industry in biochemistry and microbial physiology. In 1930, Eagles married Violet Evelyn Dunbar. She earned a B.A. (1921) and M.A. (1922) from UBC and then continued her graduate studies at Toronto. Working with Professors Wastenays and Borsook, her area of specialization was research in pure proteins and enzymes, and she became recognized as one of the leading enzyme chemists in the country. In 1929 Violet Dunbar received her Ph.D. and returned to UBC, where she participated in research funded by the Powell River Company.
Blythe Eagles' long affiliation with the University was interrupted briefly between September 1932 and March 1933 when a forty percent reduction to UBC's operating grant resulted in his lay-off. Eagles and forty other members of the faculty became victims of the Depression. He found employment as an industrial chemist with the Powell River Pulp and Paper Company during this period.
After the death of Wilfrid Sadler in 1933, Dean Clement asked Eagles to assume Sadler's heavy teaching responsibilities. Eagles later became Head of the Dept. of Dairying (1936-1955) and then Chairman of the Division of Animal Science (1955-1967) in the re-organized Faculty of Agriculture. Eagles succeeded F.M. Clement as Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture in 1949 and continued until his retirement in 1967.
Eagles served on UBC Senate for twenty years (1947-1967) and as president of the B.C. Academy of Science in 1946/47. He is a fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada, Royal Society of Canada, and Canada's Chemical Institute. In 1966, the UBC Alma Mater Society named Eagles as the recipient of the Great Trekker Award. Traditionally, the award is given to an alumnus of this University who achieves eminence in their work, contributes to the community and maintains an ongoing interest in UBC. As a student, Blythe Eagles helped plan the 'Pilgrimage' [or Great Trek as it had become known] in 1922 when 1,100 students of the fledgling institution marched to the Point Grey campus to compel the government to provide the facilities promised before World War I. While Eagles participated in the planning of the event and the collection of some 56,000 supporting signatures, he had already left for studies at the University of Toronto when the event was staged. On the occasion of his Great Trekker award, the Vancouver Sun paid Eagles the following tribute: "Apart from this early venture [helping to plan the Great Trek] into lively public relations, his work has consistently been quiet, effective and practical achievements in applied science and university administration. It is recognized in academic circles by his formidable list of degrees, publications, appointments and offices. To industry, he is known for his valuable researches into cheese ripening and pulp and paper making. But his administration of the Faculty of Agriculture may well outrank these. Of all the faculties, Agriculture has had the closest and most personal relations with the problems and progress of a large and important section of the people of British Columbia. It has consistently been accessible and helpful, too, not only for organizations and industries but also for individual ranchers, farmers, dairymen, and specialist growers."
Eagles also received an Honorary D.Sc. from UBC in 1968. However, an assessment of Eagles' contributions can be extended beyond his notable academic and administrative accomplishments. He and Violet Eagles have also made important, although less tangible, contributions in a social sense. They and their Burnaby home have achieved a reputation for entertaining colleagues, students, family and friends. These social occasions fostered new and lasting acquaintances amongst faculty members and students. This interaction was particularly significant during an earlier period when the university community was smaller than the institution we have today.
Throughout his career and into his retirement, Eagles has displayed unwavering concern for the development of the University and has recognized the importance of preserving its history for posterity. To this end, Eagles have become a key figure in the organization and implementation of several historical projects through the Alumni Association's Heritage Committee.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of family histories, correspondence, reports, printed materials, photographs, notes, minutes, publications, building plans, reminiscences and other materials about Eagles' professional career and personal life. Fonds contains ten series: Biographical Information, Speeches, Publications by Eagles, Personal Correspondence/Subject Files, Research /Lecture Notes, Miscellaneous Personal Materials, Faculty of Agriculture Material, UBC History - General, Miscellaneous Printed Materials and Publications, and Photographs series. Fonds also contains three sous-fonds: L.S. Klink, Wilfred Sadler, and F.M. Clement sous-fonds.

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Availability of other formats

University-related photographs are digitized and listed in the UBC Archives Photograph Database series UBC 11.1.

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Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Online Finding Aid
Please see finding aid for the file list.

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

Accruals

General note

One of the few sources for the researcher seeking information from the Eagles period as Dean of Agriculture is in the "Faculty of Agriculture - Dean's Office" File List, Boxes 1-4.

Physical description

Includes ca. 275 photographs, 1 audio cassette, 16 architectural drawings.

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Updated in January 2021, JM.

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