A collection of loose prints measuring approximately 240 x 190 mm, with modern captions on the backs. Many of the photographs also have contemporary captions on the prints themselves. The collection consists of modern copy prints of photographs in the Provincial Archives of Alberta, from originals by Boorne and May, C.W. Mathers, Ernest Brown, Harry Pollard and others (see below).
The collection breaks down into three categories:
1-4 Provincial Archives of Alberta general collection
5-36 Ernest Brown collection
37-49 Harry Pollard collection
Several prints in the collection are signed by C.W. Mathers and copyrighted by Ernest Brown, in these cases the photographer may be assumed to be Mathers. C.W. Mathers came to Edmonton in 1891 to open a branch of the Calgary Photographic firm of Boorne and May. In 1893 he purchased Boorne and May's stock and in turn sold both his and Boorne and May's negatives to Ernest Brown in 1907. Brown (1877-1951) did not arrive in Canada until 1902 and worked for Mathers from 1904-7. In all he bought out the stock of about a dozen local studios and these historic photographs formed the basis of the Brown Collection to which he devoted the later years of his life. Harry Pollard (1880-1968) was himself the son of a photographer (James Pollard); he arrived in Calgary in 1899 and set up a studio on Stephen (8th) Avenue. Pollard had a particular interest in photographing First Nation life (see plates 45-9) and became the Press Photographer for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1924. He retired in 1954. (Information supplied by James Blower, Provincial Archives of Alberta).
The collection was presented to the Royal Commonwealth Society by the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1976.