Fonds UBCA-ARC-1098 - Vernon C. Brink fonds

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Vernon C. Brink fonds

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5.4 m of textual records
15 photographs: b&w; 16 x 20 cm or smaller

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Biographical history

Vernon Cuthbert "Bert" Brink earned his MSc from UBC in 1936 and then a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1940. He joined the Department of Agronomy at UBC as an assistant professor in 1940, and in 1946 was promoted to associate professor. In 1955 he was promoted to full professor and became chair (1955-1967) of the newly formed Division of Plant Science. In 1970, VC. Runeckles became chair, but Brink continued to teach in the newly formed Department of Plant Science until 1978.
Brink was active in many organizations related to agronomy and plant science. They include the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC), the Canadian Seed Growers' Association, the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists (BCIA), the Canadian Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Agronomy, the Genetics Society of Canada, the American Society of Range Management, the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute, the Western Canada Turfgrass Association, the BC Parks Committee, the BC Fertilizers and Agricultural Poisons Board, and the BC Foundation Seed Committee. In 1969, Brink chaired the BC Indian Agriculture and Lands Committee, a BCIA and AIC. All of these organizations had close links to the Division of Plant Science.
Vernon Brink was also active in many UBC committees. They include the Sub-Committee to study the organization of Soil Science in 1953, the Genetics Committee, the Committee on Sports Turf Research, the Climatological Committee, the President's Committee for the Electron Microscope (installed in 1959), and the Advisory Committee on Botanical Garden Policy.
Brink's research interests encompassed several areas. Before becoming the division chair, he collaborated on a Diffuse Knapweed project with one of his graduate assistants, T.G. Atkinson. In 1959, he began a study of Gibberellin, an alfalfa growth regulator. He also was involved in various genetic experiments on Rhizoma alfalfa. Brink also continued to develop his interest in the study of barley. His Master's thesis examined the chemical process carried out by barley extracts. Other interests included the care and improvement of turfgrass, climate effects, crop genetics, and the ecological use of land. Brink also promoted the division's University Research Farm development at Oyster River as a teaching and research facility. He contributed to Crop Science, Ecology, The Journal of Plant Science, and Canadian Field-Naturalist. Brink served on the Environmental Assessment Panel, which studied the potential impact of reactivating the Boundary Bay Airport and a third runway at Vancouver International Airport. In 1984, he became a member of the Directors of The Nature Trust, a non-profit organization established to conserve areas of ecological significance in the province.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records which reflect Brink's participation on the Environmental Assessment Panel (1973-1983) and The Nature Trust (1984-1987). The papers include material arranged in the following series: correspondence, teaching and research. The papers also include reference booklets and pamphlets. Each series is arranged in chronological order. The records primarily contain one large correspondence series from 1953 to 1975, with bulk dates of 1961 to 1971. The correspondence contains Brink's faculty papers intermingled with the Division of Plant Science's central office files.

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Because Brink rarely identified titles of files, each series is arranged in chronological order. Where file titles do exist, they are arranged in alphabetical order within the appropriate chronological sequence. In 1964, the classification system used by the Division of Plant Science appeared to have been discontinued. The vast majority of files were stored by Brink in unlabelled file folders, most of which exhibit no internal coherence. Many documents were never placed in file folders at all. Because of the presence of Brink's faculty papers in the files, and because of the absence of the division's classification system, the records from 1961 to 1971 have been arranged with Brink's papers. The correspondence has been arranged in chronological order by year.

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

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Associated materials

An interview with Brink is included in the Elders Council for Parks in British Columbia / EKOS Communications video history collection at the University of Victoria Archives.


General note

The Division of Plant Science fonds should be consulted for a fuller understanding of Brink's career.

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Please be aware that researchers will encounter terms that are no longer acceptable. In instances where these terms are used in the original titles, they have not been changed.

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Revised in June 2020

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