Camera Workers: The British Columbia Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Preface and Acknowledgements

Copyright 1999-2021 By David Mattison

Updated: 2021.09.18.

I began accumulating information on British Columbia photographers in the fall of 1977 after having spent a pleasant summer cataloguing photographs in the Special Collections Division, Main Library, University of British Columbia. A noticeable lack of basic biographical data on 19th century photographers in the province started me off. Several relatives of the first generation of photographers in Vancouver responded with letters and allowed themselves to be tape-recorded. Their recorded reminiscences are now in the British Columbia Archives. Copies of most of the letters from relatives and institutions to me have also been placed with the BC Archives in individual research files referred to as BVIPA Visual Records Photographers File. Grateful thanks to the BC Archives for encouraging and inviting use of its online photographic holdings in our emerging digital archives and library world.

In addition to photographers whose principal place of residence or visitation was British Columbia, this Web (electronic) edition of Camera Workers British Columbia, 1858-1900 also documents selected photographers of early Alaska and the Klondike (Yukon Territory) gold rush prior to 1914.

This biographical dictionary is a first and evolving attempt at compiling my research notes into a cohesive format. I hope it provides some of the necessary data for assisting in the identification of photographs, as well as helps in correlating the international movement of photographers.

Many friends, colleagues and research acquaintances passed on references or supplied pictorial materials gathered during their own research or from their family collections. I would like to thank in particular: Don Bourdon, Nicolette Bromberg, David R. Chamberlin, Michael Cirelli, R.N. DeArmond, Hugh Dempsey, Dr. Patrick Dunae, Gordon Goldsborough, Ronald Greene, Chris Hanna, Alan Hoover, Betty Keller, Robert Lansdale, Charles Lillard, Bronson Little, Margery Hadley McDougall, Dr. Richard Mackie, Sheila Norton, Peter Palmquist (d. 2003), Leslie Ross, Dr. Joan M. Schwartz, Peter Smith, Donald Steele, Don M. Stewart,  Margaret Waddington, Murray Maisey (and his inspirational blog Vancouver As It Was: A Photo-Historical Journey) and Robert G. Wilson. If I have neglected to mention anyone, it is only through forgetfulness. My wife Charlene helped in the final production stages, and continues to encourage my research and writing.

Cecil Halsey, formerly with the Canadian Pacific Corporate Archives, Montreal, responded eloquently to my repeated letters of inquisition.

Staffs of the National Archives of Canada (as of March 2004 the Library and Archives Canada) City of Vancouver Archives Victoria City Archives and Vancouver Public Library, Historical Photographs Section, were kind enough to peruse and comment upon a draft of the directory in the early 1980s.

To Brent, Jean and Bruno, my thanks for your fine micrographic efforts and points of humour.

Any errors of fact brought to my attention will be corrected.

Comments, suggestions and names which do not appear in this online edition are welcomed. Please use this reporting form (requires emailing) or email to David Mattison.

D. M., April 30, 1999-present