Camera Workers, 1858-1950

The British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Buell, Oliver Brown[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]

Male 1844 - 1910  (66 years)

Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Buell, Oliver Brown 
    • VARIANT NAMES: Buell, Professor.
    Born 1844  Henry County, IL Find all individuals with events at this location  [17
    Gender Male 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1885  Rocky Mountains (BC) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1886  Vancouver, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1886  Port Moody, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1886  New Westminster, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1905  Crows Nest Pass (BC) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 4 Apr 1910  Montreal, QC Find all individuals with events at this location  [18
    Buried Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal, QC Find all individuals with events at this location  [19
    Person ID I472  Camera Workers | B, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 6 Sep 2020 

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Commercial (visit).
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: Buell, originally from New York State, achieved prominence for a series of views showing military preparations for the Riel Rebellion in 1885. He also photographed construction work on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the Rocky Mountains in the summer of 1885. One newspaper article reported him as having visited B.C. with Lord Lansdowne, the Governor-General, in 1885. In May 1886 he was photographing along the main line of the CPR. He arrived in Vancouver on 28 Aug 1886 by steamer from New York, yet had a private railway car waiting for him in Port Moody in which he and his wife travelled back east. He journeyed regularly with his wife and often bore the title Professor. Along with taking photographs he also gave lantern slide shows in Canada in the 1880s. He last returned to western Canada in 1905, and among his stops was the Crows Nest district in southeastern BC. A portrait of Buell was found by the Glenbow Archives and published in Photographic Canadiana (Mar-Apr 1987).
    • IDENTIFYING MARKS: "O. B. Buell, Photographer, New York" or "O. B. Buell, Photographer, Montreal" on stereograph mounts (Canada Illustrated series); prints of troops at Riel Rebellion copyrighted 1885 by "Prof. Buell."

  • Sources 
    1. [S152] COLLECTION: OOA.
      Prints and National Photography Collection VF.

    2. [S48] COLLECTION: ACG.
      Oliver B. Buell fonds. Series 1, Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and letters., 1873-1905; Series 2, Photographs, [ca. 1884-1905]. Over 170 of the ca. 250 photographs have been digitized.
      See also the original Oliver B. Buell fonds description on the Glenbow Museum Web site; URL (accessed 5 Sep 2020):

    3. [S158] COLLECTION: QCRM.

    4. [S673] Vancouver News, 2 and 4, 29 Aug 1886.
      Arrival by steamer from New York; arrival mode and date may be in error per Colonist article

    5. [S628] (Victoria) Colonist, (Victoria: Colonist), 3, 31 Aug 1886 08.
      "British Columbia Photographed: How the C.P.R. and Dominion Are To Be Advertised"
      This article is datelined 27 Aug 1886 so it conflicts with the Vancouver News article regarding his arrival date.

    6. [S663] (New Westminster) British Columbian, 3, 6 Sep 1886.
      "Personal...Prof. Buell and Mrs. Buell, the celebrated photographic artists of natural scenery, are in town in their special [railway] car."

    7. [S663] (New Westminster) British Columbian, 3, 7 Sep 1886.
      Two news items: "Little Souls" and "British Columbia Photographed"

    8. [S663] (New Westminster) British Columbian, 3, 8 Sep 1886.
      "Photo Views"
      Describes photos taken at New Westminster and the evening departure of his special railway car for a point closest to Harrison Hot Springs.

    9. [S995] Cranbrook Herald, 2, 29 Jun 1905 06.
      "Pioneer Photographer: Prof. Buell Visits the Crows Nest District"

    10. [S415] Hart (1983), E.J. Hart, (Banff, Alta.: Altitude Publishing, 1983).

    11. [S228] Buell (1984), Monaghan, David W., text, (Montreal: Concordia Art Gallery, 1984).

    12. [S242] Cavell (1984), Cavell, Edward, (Banff: Altitude Publishing, 1984).
      Gives life dates

    13. [S406 ] Hadley (1984), Margery Tanner Hadley, (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, 1984).

    14. [S1101] Photographic Canadiana, (Toronto, ON: Photographic Historical Society of Canada, 1975-), 10, Mar-Apr 1987 (vol. 12, no. 5).
      "A Picture of 'Professor' Buell"
      Portrait held by the Glenbow Archives and located with the help of a descendent.

    15. [S598] Mattison (1997b), David Mattison, (Kamloops: Kamloops Art Gallery Virtual Exhibition, 1997).

    16. [S1067] Boulet (2009), Roger Boulet, (Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 2009), ND1352 C35B67 2009.
      See especially chapter titled "Professor Buell Entertains" (beginning p. 36).

    17. [S667] (Web site), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      His father, Eli Well Buell, age 42 and born in Connecticut, was a photographer. Although Oliver was born in Illinois, the family was living in Pittsfield, MA, at the time of the census.
      "United States Census, 1860"; URL (accessed 2 Mar 2017):

    18. [S924] (Web site).
      Aaron Shannon Family Tree

    19. [S924] (Web site).
      Photo of gravestone shared by Aaron Shannon on 21 Aug 2016