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fonds F0225 - Boorne and May fonds

Zone d'identification




Boorne and May fonds


  • 1883-1907 (Production)

Niveau de description


Étendue matérielle et support

ca. 450 photographs. -- 2 cm of textual records

Zone du contexte

Nom du producteur

Histoire administrative

William Hanson Boorne, 1859-1945, was trained as a pharmacist and emigrated to Bird's Hill, Manitoba from Bristol, England in 1884. He moved to Calgary, Alberta the following year and decided to become a professional photographer, having been an amateur one in England. He returned to England to buy photography equipment and to convince his cousin, Ernest Gundry May, 1861-1948, who also had photographic experience, to open a photography studio with him in Calgary. The firm, Boorne and May, opened in 1886 with Boorne as photographer and May as darkroom technician. Boorne began building up a collection of stock photographs by taking photos of the High River cattle round-up in 1886, and Blood sun dance in 1887. In 1889 he took an extensive tour along the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line through Banff and area, the Selkirk Range, the Columbia River area, Fort Steele, the Kootenay area and Vancouver and Victoria. These photos concentrated on railway construction, the development of towns and cities and mountain scenes. Boorne married May Woolridge Hichens and they had at least one child, Edgar Percy, 1890-?. In 1889 May was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court and the partnership was dissolved. During First World War he was lieutenant-colonel and district assistant to the adjutant general in Ottawa. He married Eliza Mary May Paice in 1888 and they had three children, Gerald, Roderick George, 1889-?, and Norah (Upper). They lived on a ranch west of Calgary. Boorne opened a branch studio in Banff in 1889, and one in Edmonton in 1891. The Calgary headquarters was located on 3rd Avenue SW and it was here that stock photographs, souvenir albums and lantern slides were produced. The portrait studio on 8th Avenue SW was also the retail outlet for the company's products. The company was incorporated as Boorne and May Co. Ltd. in 1892 but by 1893 it was in financial trouble. Boorne sold the Edmonton studio to C.W. Mathers and the other studios folded. Boorne moved to Vancouver and then back to England to work as a chemical engineer. For further information see "Boorne and May, 1886-1889" in the Farm and Ranch Review, October 1960, p. 18-19 and December 1960, p. 16-17; and "William Hanson Boorne and the Rise of his Photography Studio" in Eye on the Future : Business People in Calgary and the Bow Valley, 1870-1900 / Henry C. Klassen. -- Calgary : University of Calgary Press, 2002, p. 357-361.

Histoire archivistique

Source immédiate d'acquisition ou de transfert

Gifts of Mrs. Aldon Appleton, Mr. D.C. Coleman and the Toronto Public Library, 1957-2005, and purchased from Tom Williams Books, 2014.

Zone du contenu et de la structure

Portée et contenu

The fonds consists of traveller's sample book of photographs of mountain scenes, the British Columbia interior, CPR points and railway bridges, tunnels, trains and workers (1889). Includes photographs of native people and a Blood sun dance (1887); of May, his wife, family and ranch (1885-1907); of Boorne, his Manitoba homestead, and the Calgary studio; and experimental photographs (1883-1884). Includes his article, "With the Savages in the Far West", published in the Canadian Photographic Journal, 1893. Also includes a diary of Boorne's cousin Ernest May (1897).

Évaluation, élimination et calendrier de conservation


Mode de classement

Zone des conditions d'accès et d'utilisation

Conditions d’accès

No restrictions on access.

Conditions de reproduction

Langue des documents

Écriture des documents

Notes sur la langue et l'écriture

The material is in English.

Caractéristiques matérielle et contraintes techniques

Instruments de recherche

There are numerous Boorne and May photos in other fonds at Glenbow. No finding aid, but many of the photos have been digitized.

Zone des sources complémentaires

Existence et lieu de conservation des originaux

The original prints of Boorne and May families were held by the Roderick G. May estate, but were destroyed in a house fire, ca. 1965.

Existence et lieu de conservation des copies

Unités de description associées

Other Boorne and May records are in the Ernest Brown Collection at the Provincial Archives of Alberta, and the Notman Photographic Archives in the McCord Museum, Montreal.

Descriptions associées

Zone des notes


Title based on contents of records.


Item list of PD-5 is in red PD binder in processing room cabinet.


NA-387, NA-1753 and NA-1798 are copied from PD-5.


NA-395 are glass negatives.


PA-113 has not been added to the extent as they are mainly copy prints.


The information about the prints being destroyed in a house fire was provided by Brenda Gloster (May's great-granddaughter) in July 1999.


Link added to Archives Photographs on July 24, 2015.

Identifiant(s) alternatif(s)


Mots-clés - Lieux

Mots-clés - Noms

Mots-clés - Genre

Zone du contrôle de la description

Identifiant de la description

Identifiant du service d'archives

Règles et/ou conventions utilisées


Niveau de détail

Dates de production, de révision, de suppression

Tuesday, November 06, 2018




Zone des entrées