Charles E. Borden

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Charles E. Borden

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  • Charles Borden

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May 15, 1905 - December 25, 1978


Charles E. Borden was born in New York City on May 15, 1905 and grew up in Germany. Borden returned to the United States when he was 22 and received his A.B. in German Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1932. He continued his education at the Berkely campus of the University of California, getting his M.A. in German studies in 1933 and his Ph.D. in 1937. After teaching briefly at Reed College, Portland, Oregon, Borden joined the faculty of teh German Department at the University of British COlumbia in 1939 where he remained until his retirement.

Borden met Alice Victoria Witkin at Berkeley and they married in 1931. They had two sons, John Harvey and Richard Keith. Alice Borden pioneered in teh development of new techniques in pre-school education during the 1950s and 1960s. Her papers are available in teh University of British COlumbia Archives.

Borden had participated in some archaeological excavations around Hamburg as a youth, and in 1943 his interest in prehistoric archaeology was rekindled when he read Philip Drucker's book, Archaeological Survey of the Northern Northeast Coast. Beginning with a small dig in Point Grey in 1945, Borden gradually expanded the scope of his archaeological research to include salvage archaeology and major surveys throughout the province, including in-depth studies in the Fraser Canyon and Delta areas.

In 1949, Borden was appointed Lecturer in Archaeology in the Department of Sociology and Archaeology at the University of British Columbia, while retaining his responsibilities in the German Department. Throughout the balance of his career, from 1949 to 1978, Borden established a highly respected and internationally visible presence in archaeology as an instructor, author, editor, researcher and spokesman for the discipline. He developed the Uniform Site Designation Scheme, known as the Borden system, which has been adopted in most of Canada, and he devoted considerable energy to securing provincial legislation to protect archaeological sites. He was also responsible, in conjunction with Wilson Duff, for the passage in British Columbia of the 1960 Archaeological and Historical Sites Protection Act and the creation of the Archaeological sites Advisory Board.

Alice Borden died in 1971. In 1976 Borden married his second wife, Hala. Charles E. Borden died Christmas afternoon 1978 of a cerebral hemorrhage, having that morning completed a chapter he was writing for Roy Carlson's book on Northwest Coast Art.


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