Helen Akrigg (nee Manning) was born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia in 1921. She received a B.A. from UBC in 1943. After raising a family she returned to academic life and in 1964 earned an M.A. in history from UBC. Her thesis was on the history of settlement and economic development in the Shuswap Lake district, where the Akriggs had a cottage. Helen taught in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia and with her husband Philip Akrigg, wrote two widely-used B.C. histories: British Columbia Chronicle: 1778-1846 (Discovery Press, 1975) and British Columbia Chronicle: Vol. II 1847-1871 (Discovery Press, 1977) and H.M.S. Virago in the Pacific (Sono Nis Press, 1992). Together they also wrote and produced the perennial bestsellers, 1001 British Columbia Place Names (Discovery Press, 1969) and British Columbia Place Names (UBC Press, 1997) which includes anecdotes, maps and historical characters. The couple were pioneers in the field of self-publishing under their imprint, Discovery Press. Helen also contributed numerous historical essays on B.C. history. Helen's father was E.C. Manning, a Chief Forester of B.C., after whom Manning Park is named. In 1970 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 1995, Helen and Philip won the Government of British Columbia's first Heritage Award. She was an active member of the Vancouver Historical Society and served as president of the British Columbia Historical Association. Helen Akrigg passed away on July 15, 2008.
George Philip Vernon (Philip) Akrigg was born in Calgary in 1913. He received a B.A. in 1937, an M.A. in 1940 from UBC, and a Ph.D. from the University of California in 1944, the year he married Helen Manning. Philip began his UBC teaching career in the Department of English in 1941. From 1946-1947 he was a Research Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. In 1971 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in Britain and in 1976 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He published books on Shakespeare and on Renaissance history and was considered one of Canada's foremost scholars on Renaissance literature. His published books on Shakespeare and on Renaissance history include Jacobean Pageant, or the Court of King James I (Hamilton/Harvard University Press, 1962), Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968 / Harvard University Press, 1969) and Letters of King James VI & I (U. of California Press, 1984). Philip Akrigg passed away on February 8, 2001.
Collection consists of records related to the research completed by Helen and Philip Akrigg for the publication British Columbia Place Names. Records include research notebooks, correspondence, newspaper clippings, copies of historical manuscripts, copies of maps depicting place names and traditional First Nations territories, and draft versions of the text for place names that were published in the book. Also included are copies of research publications “BC Place Names in the Vicinity of Mt. Robson, written by James L. Swanson (1987); Journal of the American Naming Society; Canadian Geographic Journal; and a copy of Helen Akrigg’s UBC thesis “History and Economic Development of the Shuswap Area” (1964).
See published books written by Helen and George Akrigg held in the VMM Library collection: H.M.S. Virago in the Pacific, 1851-1855; British Columbia Place Names; British Columbia Chronicle, 1778-1846 : adventurers by sea and land; British Columbia chronicle 1847-1871 : gold and colonists; 1001 British Columbia Place Names.