Anne Carson was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, on the 29th of December, 1930 and died at the Windermere Hospice on the 12th of December, 2006. After obtaining her degree in Commerce in Dublin, she came to Canada. She worked as a library assistant for Vancouver Public Library before leaving to attend McGill Library School. After graduation in 1961, Anne was hired, along with two classmates, to work in the University of British Columbia Library. She worked in Special Collections, which Basil Stuart-Stubbs confidently left her in charge when he became University Librarian. Anne was responsible for the development of the many fine collections, including British Columbia and Canadian history, early children’s literature, and for encouraging her colleagues to build the manuscript collections, University Archives, and the historical maps and cartographic archives, and she was one of the first librarians to see the value of ephemera and alternative literature.
Anne built up relationships with both the antiquarian and new book dealers around the province, and with leading dealers around the world. On her sabbatical year, she spent six months working with dealers in England, and six months at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand. She was one of the founding members of the Special Collections Interest Group of the Canadian Library Association, and served as President of the Council of the Bibliographical Society of Canada.
Anne was very well-known in the Irish community in Vancouver, and provided a home-away-from-home for many visitors and new residents. When it became known that a special reproduction of the Book of Kells was to be undertaken, the Irish in Vancouver gathered money to buy a copy for Special Collections, and had a special stand built to display the book.
Anne was well known, and well thought of, across the campus, and around the city and province. When she took early retirement in December 1991 many people from the Library, SLAIS, the Irish community in Vancouver, book dealers and others from off-campus were in attendance. She was active in her retirement in the Alcuin Society, the Bibliographical Society of Canada, the British Columbia Historical Society – later the British Columbia Historical Federation (continuing her interest in the British Columbia Historical News now British Columbia History which Anne and her husband Phil had founded), the Friends of Vancouver City Archives, and the Friends of the British Columbia Archives, the Friends of Simon Fraser University Library and running Marco Polo Books. Anne left us with one of the most notable special collections in North America, a wonderful collection that should be the pride-and-joy of the University of British Columbia.
Prepared by Frances Woodward