Over 18,000 rare photos, some dating back to the 1850s, have been donated to the university by Uno Langmann, a Vancouver-based fine arts collector.
Langmann, who immigrated to Canada in 1955, started his collection of historic B.C. photographs in the late 1960s.
"I realized that I was onto something very important, and that was the history of British Columbia," Langmann said.
"The written word is something, but there's nothing to explain better than a photograph."
The UBC Library has already begun to digitize the photos, and hopes to have them available online by the summer for the public to peruse.
A press release from the university put the value of the priceless collection at around $1.2 million.
Langmann said he hopes that his donation will inspire others with rare historic pieces from B.C.'s past to donate them to a public institution.
"Giving is the biggest pleasure — not receiving," he said. "I hope it will have the same joy for the people that receive it."Suggest a correction