Fonds F1555 - Riley family fonds

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Identity area

Reference code



Riley family fonds


  • 1881-1984 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

75 cm of textual records. -- 65 cm of photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Ezra Hounsfield Riley, 1866-1937, was the second son of Calgary, Alberta pioneer rancher Thomas E. Riley. He was born in Toronto and moved with his family to Calgary in 1887. He married Harriet Waterhouse in 1897, and they had five children, Thomas, 1898-1917, Arthur Rhodes, 1903?-1958, Margaret Louise, 1904-1957, Dorothy Elizabeth (Gishler), 1911-1990, and Georgina Jane who apparently died in infancy.

The Riley family prospered as a result of the development of their ranch into the subdivisions of Hillhurst, West Hillhurst, and Hounsfield Heights. Ezra served as MPP (MLA) for Gleichen from 1906 to 1910. He donated Riley Park to the City of Calgary in 1910, and provided the endowment for St. Barnabas Anglican Church in 1912, and was a supporter of Bishop Pinkham College.

Thomas was killed in action in the First World War. Arthur became a successful businessman. Margaret Louise became a children's librarian, storyteller and author. She joined the Calgary Public Library in 1930 and in 1949 became assistant librarian. She published two children's books, Mystery Horse (1950) and Train for Tiger Lily (1954), and a novel for adults, One Happy Moment (1951). The Louise Riley branch of the Calgary Public was named after her. Dorothy was active in amateur theatre. She married Dr. Paul Gishler, a researcher in physical chemistry. They had two sons, John, 1942 - , and Richard, 1947- .


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gifts of Dorothy E. Gishler, 1974-1975, and the Paul Gishler estate, 1994.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the family scrapbook (1887-1934), photograph albums, loose photographs, family correspondence, letters from Bishop Cyprian Pinkham (1907-1914), some of Ezra's political correspondence, Dorothy's scrapbook of her university career (1927-1932), typescripts of Louise's published and unpublished children's books and adult novels (1950s), newsclippings and memorabilia.

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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

The literary works of Louise Riley are not to be published without the permission of Richard and John Gishler.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is in English.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The records of Paul Gishler are held by the University of Alberta Archives. Thomas E. Riley's diaries are also held at Glenbow.

Notes area


Title based on contents of records.


Most of the photos are in M 8375.

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Monday, July 20, 2015




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