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No.: PR1774
TITLE: Melvin and Ethel Ross fonds
CREATOR: Ross, Melvin Ross, Ethel
DATE RANGE: 1902-2005
EXTENT: 633 transparencies and other material
Also includes 390 photographs, twelve negatives, 2.40 m of textual records, 17 oil on masonite paintings, 40 books, six 16mm film productions, 28 reels of 16mm raw footage and 5 audio cassettes.
HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Melvin Ross was born August 19, 1914 at Hutchinson, Minnesota, U.S.A., moved to Dorothy, Alberta in 1932 and worked the family ranch with his father. Ethel Graham was born January 2, 1919 in Drumheller, Alberta. Melvin and Ethel married on February 19, 1946. Melvin and Ethel owned a store at Kenisville, Alberta for a short time and then moved to Calgary, Alberta and built and sold houses. Mel was also an inventor, an artist and a writer. Ethel was a writer and a lobbyist, especially regarding the topic of water resources, and was a member of the Western Canada Reclamation Association, a water rights group. They co-authored the book The Long Road South about their trip through Mexico, Central and South America, where they also filmed their travel film The Pan-American Highway, in 1960 and 1961. In the early 1950s, they decided to live on the road in their home-made camper truck and make adventure-travel films. They purchased their first movie camera, a second-hand 16mm camera, in southern California. They then taught themselves filmmaking, purchased a newer and better camera, and proceeded to make their living producing travel films and lecturing for the next two decades. Their productions were filmed in various locations around the world. They created commentaries for their films and then lectured and screened the films at universities, colleges, service organizations, schools and churches throughout Canada and the United States. Some of the films were also broadcast on television. Melvin was the primary cinematographer with Ethel taking over filming where required. Ethel was the still photographer for their films and on their trips. When screening the films, Melvin presented the live commentary and Ethel projected the films. Travel was a great passion for the Rosses, and over their lives, they traveled to every continent, and worked as tour guides on some of the trips. Melvin and Ethel retired to Calgary, Alberta. Melvin Ross died February 21, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Fonds consists of films, negatives, photographs, slides, scripts, flyers, manuscripts, books, correspondence, audio cassettes, scrapbooks and other textual material regarding Melvin and Ethel Ross's personal and business life, and in particular, material regarding their travels and filmmaking. Also of note are Ethel Ross's lobbying letters, Mel Ross's invention plans, books, articles, short stories and poetry written by Mel and Ethel, and a complete set of road maps that they used in their travels throughout the world, dating from the 1950s to the 1990s. The audio cassettes are recordings that Calgary historian, David Finch conducted with Melvin and Ethel in their home in 2005. Four of the audio cassettes are recordings of Melvin reading his commentary for their film Headless Valley, and one of the audio cassettes is Ethel's reminiscences of the trip.
ASSOCIATED MATERIAL: Melvin and Ethel Ross also donated the film editor and projector that they used to produce and screen their films, as well as artefacts that were used in some of their films, and some of Mel’s inventions (accession # H06.84). Also included are a case of fossils that the Rosses displayed at screenings of their Badlands film. All artefacts are located in the holdings of the Royal Alberta Museum. Fossils are located in the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
RELATED FILES: Display FileList

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