Fonds UBCA-ARC-1293 - Frank F. Wesbrook fonds

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Frank F. Wesbrook fonds

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  • Photographic material

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3.24 m of textual records.
31 photographs.

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Biographical history

Frank Fairchild Wesbrook, the first president of the University of British Columbia, was born in Brant County, Ontario, on July 12, 1868. In 1887, he graduated from the University of Manitoba, and the following year received a master's degree from the same institution. Wesbrook received his M.D. from McGill University in 1890. Subsequently, he spent a year at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin. In 1892, he was elected John Walker student in pathology at Cambridge. He was appointed Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Minnesota in 1895, and in 1906 he became the first full-time Dean of Medicine there. While at the University of Minnesota, his chief field of work was in bacteriology relating to public health. In 1913, he accepted the post of President of the nascent UBC. He guided the University through the first difficult years, hiring staff and striving to make the University successful. Unfortunately, the boom that had lasted for a decade in B.C. collapsed with the outbreak of war in 1914. As a result, work on the new campus "begun at Point Grey to replace the Fairview campus used by UBC's predecessor McGill University College of B.C." was suspended for several years.
Consequently, when the University of British Columbia began operations in 1915, it had to do so in Fairview's less than adequate facilities. As well as his University activities, President Wesbrook was commanding officer of the Officers' Training Corps at UBC. He helped establish the Vancouver Institute, toured the Province examining its resources, and was active in the Patriotic Fund Drive in the Autumn of 1915. Unfortunately, failing health forced him to take a long break from his duties in early 1918. He died on October 20, 1918.

Custodial history

Reprints were formerly maintained in the Memorial Room of the Woodward Library. Those alphabetized by subject were transferred to the University Archives in November 2013. Additional reprints, science bulletins and lab reports followed from the Memorial Room of the Woodward Library in February 2014. Wesbrook's personal leather portfolio was owned by Ronald W. Klinck after Wesbrook's death, then turned over to William C. Gibson in February 1980 – Gibson passed it on to the Archives, with related documentation.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of diaries, photographs, articles, speeches and reports, and miscellaneous material, all of which document Frank F. Wesbrook’s personal and professional activities. Also included are a collection of off-prints of scholarly articles relating to a variety of medical topics that Wesbrook collected or in some cases wrote.

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Photographs have been digitized and are available through the UBC Library Open Collections series UBC 37.1

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Online Finding Aid
Please see the finding aid for an inventory of files.

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Associated materials

Records relating to Wesbrook’s administrative activities at UBC can be found in the President’s Office fonds (linked below).
Records relating to Wesbrook’s tenure as Dean of Medicine at the University of Minnesota are held in the Medical School Records at the University of Minnesota Archives.


General note

For additional biographical information see William C. Gibson, "Wesbrook and His University" (1973), and J. Arthur Myers, "Masters of Medicine: An Historical Sketch of the College of Medical Sciences of the University of Minnesota, 1888-1966" (1968), pp. 77-93.

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