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Authors Recognized for Historical Contributions

Posted: May 12, 2008

Authors Mark Forsythe and Greg Dickson were recognized at the BC Historical Federation’s Annual Conference on Saturday, May 10, in New Westminster, BC.

Forsythe and Dickson were awarded a Certificate of Merit for “promoting awareness of British Columbia History and for encouraging public interest through their books The BC Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians and The Trail of 1858: British Columbia’s Gold Rush Past.” Both books have been BC bestsellers and they continue to add to the preservation of the province’s past; partial proceeds from the sales of each book are being donated to different causes that promote the documentation of history.

In The Trail of 1858, Forsythe and Dickson augment their historical research with contributions from CBC listeners that give the gold rush story a personal, folksy feel. Making liberal use of historic photos, the authors celebrate memorable personalities from this epic time: the stern but sensible Judge Matthew Begbie; the peacemaking Chief Spintlum; Nam Sing, the first Chinese miner in the Cariboo; overlander Catherine Schubert; high-rolling miners Billy Barker and Cariboo Cameron; and a host of others. The Trail of 1858 is a combination of fact and memory of the colourful characters who helped form this province; it is a book from which history truly jumps. Partial proceeds from this book are donated to the BC Historical Federation.

In 2004, CBC Radio's BC Almanac show called upon its listeners to nominate the 100 Greatest British Columbians of all time. The BC Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians is the edifying and entertaining result. Divided into such categories as Crusaders and Reformers, Scientists and Innovators and Rogues and Rascals, the book throws new light on such well-established names as David Suzuki, Emily Carr and Terry Fox. Other highlights include Percy Williams, unlikely hero of the 1928 Olympics; gold rush jack-of-all-trades C.D. Hoy, who overcame racism to leave a photographic legacy; and Lucille Johnstone, the secretary who rose to CEO in the testosterone-laden towboat industry. Full of historical sidebars, anecdotes, illustrations and archival photographs, this book is a spirited celebration of the people who built the province. Partial proceeds from this book are donated to the Friends of the BC Archives Society.