A look back in time: What’s in your office?

When you look at a charity like Nature Canada, you don’t necessarily think much about the history of the organization. But in this specific case there is a vast history here that many people were unaware of. Nature Canada is turning 75 this year so I was tasked with going through a bunch of old scrapbooks that had unknown content.

Nature Canada's historic documents

Co-op student, Rebecca Perrin, explores Nature Canada’s historic documents.

My task was to digitize all the information in the books, photographing and scanning the books. These old scrapbooks, I soon learned, were not just old scrapbooks, but a documentation through newspaper clippings and photographs of Nature Canada’s events from the early 1950’s and 60’s. It was also, clearly, somebody’s personal passion. Who ever created these books took great care in their work. Each clipping had a date as to when it was published, the newspaper it was published in, as well as the city and province that it appeared in. One book was even separated by province. Nature Canada also has a couple shelves full of books that contain pretty much every single edition of the Audubon magazine, Canadian Audubon, Canadian Nature Annual, and Nature Canada magazine ever published.

These magazine collections are compiled by year and start in 1939 and go up to 1976. It is fascinating the records they kept back then, as well as the detail put into it. Today, all we need to do is go on the computer and type in a couple of words and we have information on the most important events of both the present and the past. However, for organizations with an amazing 75-year history like Nature Canada, much of their story is still not yet available all over the internet for all eyes to see because I was holding the only known copies on Earth in my hands.

This has been an amazing exercise. My advice: If you work in a Non-Profit organization, look around the office and see if you can find the history of your organization hidden in the books sitting around on book shelves and empty work spaces.

We would like to thank our guest blogger Rebecca Perrin for this post. Rebecca is a Co-op student with Nature Canada who loves to spend time enjoying the beauty of nature.