Fonds UBCA-ARC-1398 - Robert Osborne fonds

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Robert Osborne fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Photographic material
  • Moving images

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

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Physical description

2.45 m of textual records.
108 photographs.
2 video recordings.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Robert (Bob) F. Osborne was a University of British Columbia athlete, coach and founder of UBC's School of Physical Education. He enrolled at UBC in 1930 and excelled as a student-athlete in basketball and track and field. He led the 1930/31 basketball team to UBC's first national championship. In 1936 Osborne played on Canada's Olympic Basketball team that earned a silver medal in the Berlin Olympics. He taught high school at Lady Byng Secondary and coached women's varsity basketball during World War II. In 1945, Gordon Shrum appointed Osborne as Director of the School of Physical Education. He was also a coach of the basketball and track and field teams. As Director of Physical Education, he implemented the degree program in Physical Education and developed a Bachelor or Recreational Education degree as well. He played an important role in the construction of the War Memorial Gymnasium at UBC. In the early 1960s, he was one of the original founders of the CIAU national league for Canadian university sport. In addition, Osborne served as the executive of many regional, provincial and national sports organizations and various organizations attached to the Olympics, British Empire/Commonwealth Games and the Pan American Games. Osborne retired in 1978 after serving 33 years as the Director of Physical Education. He received the Order of Canada in 1981. Bob Osborne's association with UBC athletics covered more than seven decades. UBC's Osborne Gymnasium is named in his honour. Osborne passed away in May 2003 at the age of 90.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of materials created or collected by Osborne that relate primarily to his work with the various local, provincial, national and international sports and athletic organizations throughout his career.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The materials had been previously donated to the University by Osborne and housed in the Leisure Studies Resource Room in the Auditorium Annex.

Contents of file 19-5 were donated by Osborne’s family, via Fred Hume, in May 2014.

Files 19-6 to 19-8, photographs 29-107, and David Osborne donated the VHS tapes via UBC Athletics in October 2016.


The original order in which the material had been arranged has been maintained.

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Selected photographs have been digitized and included in UBC Library Open Collections UBC 110.1.

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Finding aids

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

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No further accruals are expected.

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