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William Kaye Lamb

b. 11 May 1904, New Westminster, BC; d. 24 Aug. 1999, Vancouver, BC


1927 BA, University of British Columbia
1928-1932 Studied at the Sorbonne and École libre des sciences politiques
1930 MA, University of British Columbia
1933 PhD, London School of Economics)


1934-1940 Provincial Librarian and Archivist, British Columbia
1940-1948 Head Librarian, University of British Columbia
1948-1969 Dominion Archivist of Canada
1953-1968 National Librarian, National Library of Canada

Selected Publications:

This listing includes a small sample of the publications of Dr. Lamb. A more complete listing can be found in the Bibliography of the Published Works of William Kaye Lamb published in Archivaria 15 in 1983.

Lamb, W. Kaye. The mystery of Mrs. Barkley's diary: notes on the voyage of the Imperial Eagle, 1786-87. [Canada? : s.n., 1941?]

Lamb, W. Kaye. The founding of Fort Victoria. [Victoria, B.C. : s.n., 1943], p. 71-92

Lamb, W. Kaye A bibliography of the printed writings of Frederic William Howay. Compiled, with a biographical introduction, by W. Kaye Lamb. [Vancouver? : s.n., 1944?]: 27-51

Lamb,W. Kaye. The governorship of Richard Blanshard. [Victoria, B.C. : s.n., 1951].

Harmon, Daniel Williams. Sixteen years in the Indian country: the journal of Daniel Williams Harmon, 1800-1816. Edited with an introduction by W. Kaye Lamb maps by C.C.J. Bond.. Toronto: Macmillan, 1957.

Lamb, W. Kaye. The hero of Upper Canada. Toronto: Rous & Mann Press, 1962.

Union list of manuscripts in Canadian repositories = Catalogue collectif des manuscrits des archives canadiennes. Director: W. Kaye Lamb. Editor: Robert S. Gordon. Editorial team: Barry E. Hyman [and others]. Ottawa: [Queen's Printer], 1968.

Mackenzie, Sir Alexander. The journals and letters of Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Edited by W. Kaye Lamb. Cambridge [Eng.]: Published for the Hakluyt Society at the University Press, 1970.

Lamb, W. Kaye . Canada's five centuries: from discovery to present day. Toronto: McGraw-Hill, c1971.

Lamb, W. Kaye The history of Canada: from discovery to present day. New York: American Heritage Press, [c1971]

Lamb, W. Kaye. Development of the National Archives: report. Canberra: Australian Government Pub. Service, 1974.

Hacking, Norman R and W. Kaye Lamb. Princess story: a century and a half of west coast shipping. Vancouver : Mitchell Press, [1974].

Hacking, Norman R and W, Kaye Lamb. The Princess story: a century and a half of West Coast shipping . 2d ed Vancouver: Mitchell Press, 1976.

Lamb, W. Kaye History of the Canadian Pacific Railway. New York: Macmillan, 1977.

Lamb, W. Kaye. F.W. Howay: a bibliography. Vancouver: William Hoffer and Stephen Lunsford, 1982.

Vancouver, George. A voyage of discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and round the world, 1791-1795. With an introduction and appendices. Edited by W. Kaye Lamb. London: Hakluyt Society, 1984. 4 v.

Puget, Peter John. Vancouver discovers Vancouver: an excerpt from the rough logs of Second Lieutenant Peter John Puget. Edited by W.K. Lamb. Burnaby, B.C.: Vancouver Conference on Exploration and Discovery, [1990?]

Lamb, W. Kaye. Empress to the Orient. Vancouver: Vancouver Maritime Museum Society, 1991.

Hulse, Elizabeth. The Morton years: the Canadian Library Association, 1946-1971. Researched and written by Elizabeth Hulse for the Ex Libris Association; with a foreword by W. Kaye Lamb. Toronto: Ex Libris Association, 1995.

Harmon, Daniel Williams. Harmon's journal, 1800-1819. . [Edited by W. Kaye Lamb]; with a foreword by Jennifer S.H. Brown 1st TouchWood edition. Victoria, B.C. : TouchWood Editions, 2006.

Fraser, Simon. The letters and journals of Simon Fraser, 1806-1808. Edited and introduced by W. Kaye Lamb; foreword by Michael Gnarowski. Toronto: Dundurn Press, c2007.


Canadian Library Association, British Columbia Library Association, Pacific Northwest Library Association, Society of American Archivists, Society of Archivists (Great Britain and the Commonwealth), BC Historical Association, Canadian Historical Association, Champlain Society, Royal Society of Canada, Association of Canadian Archivists, Oregon Historical Society


1969 Officer of the Order of Canada; Honorary Member of the Bibliographical Society of Canada
1949 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Honorary degrees from University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, Assumption University, McMaster University, University of Toronto, York University, University of New Brunswick and Victoria University (Toronto)
1965 J.B. Tyrell Historical Medal, Royal Society of Canada
1983 Festschrift in Archivaria 15: Archives and Libraries: Essays in Honour of Dr. W. Kaye Lamb
Awards created in his honour include: the Association of Canadian Archivists' W. Kaye Lamb Prize for Archivaria, the Ex Libris Association and Canadian Library Association's W. Kaye Lamb Award for Service to Seniors, and the British Columbia Historical Foundation's W. Kaye Lamb Scholarship


1936 Founded and edited the British Columbia Historical Quarterly for ten years
1936 Became Superintendent and Secretary of the BC Provincial Library Commission; Oversaw the development of the BC Document Disposal Act
1945-1946 President, Pacific Northwest Library Association
1947-1948 President, Canadian Library Association
1948-1969 Served as Dominion Archivist during which time he greatly broadened the scope of the archives, incorporating film, television and sound archives, for example and he also created a comprehensive federal program for the management of government information holdings.
1953 First National Librarian, built the institution into a world-class institution.
1965-1966 President, Royal Society of Canada President of numerous other associations, including the British Columbia Library Association, the Pacific Northwest Library Association, Society of American Archivists, Society of Archivists (Great Britain and the Commonwealth), British Columbia Historical Association, Canadian Historical Association, and the Champlain Society.


Some archival material held at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Archival description in the BCAUL at;rad. Accessed May 9, 2013. The major portion of Dr. Lamb's private and professional papers and his books, however, are housed in other institutions.

Recording his early career, the Archives of British Columbia holds some papers listed in the Government Records Catalogue, GR-1738, and occasional references in the Non-Government Records Catalogue, e.g. MS-1240 and MS-0207. These cover the period of time when he was in Victoria, serving as Provincial Librarian and Archivist, 1934-40. From 1940-1948, he served as Librarian of the University of British Columbia, and that institution remained a very special connection for him for the rest of his life. As a result, not only does the Library hold records on his career there, but later in life, he donated a number of items to Special Collections including the bulk of his notes and papers relating to the major four-volume work he edited on the voyages of Captain George Vancouver, and a number of other records relating to works on the Pacific Northwest. Of very special interest to him at UBC was the Howay Reid Collection, a collection that he acquired for the Library. He had been a great friend of both Judge Howay and Robie Reid, and both during his lifetime and after his death, rare and/or valuable works relating to the exploration of the Pacific Northwest were donated to UBC to supplement this collection. As far as archival records go, he is represented in the UBC Archives in The Lamb Research collection, 1959-1991, which contains 1.3 m of textual records and in the Library fonds, 1908-1995.

From 1948 until 1969, he was in Ottawa, where he was first appointed as Dominion Archivist in 1948 and later as Canada's first National Librarian in 1953. The bulk of his papers, both official and private, generated during those years are in what is now the Library and Archives of Canada in the National Archives of Canada Fonds [textual records] and in the W. Kaye Lamb Fonds [textual records, graphic material, sound recording] 1949-1998, MG 31, D 8, which contains 10.34 m. of textual records. A copy of the finding aid to these holdings, Finding Aid 1644, is included in Series 1 Personal Papers and Biographical Materials.


National Library News, November 1983
Stuart-Stubbs, Basil.William Kaye Lamb: a Eulogy. August 31, 1999. Pdf accessed May 1, 2013.
Association of Canadian Archivists. ACA Award Recipient Biographies: Dr. W. Kaye Lamb. Accessed August 15, 2013.
Evans, Gwynneth, Elizabeth Hawkins and Joan Honeywell. Bibliography of the Published Works of William Kaye Lamb. Archivaria 15, 1983. p. 131-144. PDF accessed August 15, 2013.
William Kaye Lamb biography at HLWIKI Canada. Accessed July 25, 2013.

history/biographies/lamb_wk.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/28 15:01 by lbruce