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No.: PR1631
TITLE: Mathers family fonds
CREATOR: Mathers family
DATE RANGE: 1886-1981
EXTENT: 139 photographs. -- 0.06 m of textual records. -- 2 paintings.
HISTORY/BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Charles Wesley Mathers was born January 9, 1868 in Lucknow, Ontario, twelfth child of Christopher and Rachel (Graham) Mathers. In 1891, Mathers came to Edmonton, Alberta, and William Hanson Boorne and Ernest G. May, owners of the Boorne and May studio in Edmonton hired Mathers as an assistant and photographer for the Edmonton studio. In the fall of 1892, Mathers began managing the Edmonton studio. In 1893, Mathers purchased the studio from Boorne and May and began managing the studio under his own name. On January 9, 1896, Mathers married Minnie Jane Magee; they had one son, Stenson Norman Jesse Mills, born April 21, 1909 in London, England. In 1901, Mathers traveled north of Edmonton along the Athabasca and Mackenzie Rivers, into the area now known as northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. He accompanied William H. Connor, an independent trader with posts at Fort Good Hope, Peel River and Fort Smith; Mathers produced the souvenir album "The Far North" from photographs he took during his travels north. In 1904, he lost interest in portraiture and sold the portrait side of the business to his assistant, Ernest Brown. However, he maintained the "views" side of the business and continued taking photographic views in Edmonton, introducing stereographic photographic services later in 1904. In 1905, Mathers left Edmonton and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, but he returned to Edmonton to photograph Alberta's inauguration ceremonies. In 1907, Mathers sold the views side of his Edmonton business to Brown. Mathers lived in England for a couple years, returning to Vancouver in 1911. In 1920, Mathers moved to California. He passed away in California in 1950.
CUSTODIAL HISTORY:In 1966, C. Nichols of Regina, Saskatchewan donated the material (PR1966.0040) to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. It’s unknown how C. Nichols obtained custody of the material. Patricia Ward, great niece of Charles Mathers, (PR1988.0385), Aleda Wightman, niece of Charles Mathers, (PR1989.0359), Dianna Bird, granddaughter of Charles Mathers (PR2004.0691) and Mrs. Cleo Coffey (PR2007.0432) donated the records in the Provincial Archives of Alberta. The material in accession PR2010.0504 was donated in 2010 by Joan Pitfield, who has no relation to Mathers.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: The fonds consists of records documenting the life of the C.W. Mathers Family including photographs, correspondence, a diary, and genealogical research of the Mathers family dating from the 1900s to the 1980s. The fonds also includes records, dating from the 1880s to the 1940s, documenting C.W. Mathers' photographic career including photographs featuring the Klondike Gold rush, First Nations Peoples, views of fishery industry in British Columbia; a sketchbook; oil paintings; a published photographic souvenir booklet, The Far North; and selections of photographs from the published booklet Picturesque Edmonton.
RELATED RECORDS: The majority of records documenting C.W. Mather's career are located in the Ernest Brown fonds at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. Please also see the Legislature Library Archives Program archival records collection at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
GENERAL NOTE: Information for the biographical sketch is from the records and from C.W. Mathers' Vision, which is available in the Provincial Archives of Alberta Reference Library, 779.0924 M421 1989 PAA. Many of C.W. Mathers' photographs can be located in the Brown (B) file of the Provincial Archives of Alberta reference prints.
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