Fonds PR3659 - Charles Eymundson fonds

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Charles Eymundson fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the records.

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    • 1911-1963 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    964 photographs: b&w. – 0.01 m of textual records. – 4 DVD-Rs.

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    Biographical history

    Charles Matusalem Eymundson was born Matusalem Sigurdsson on June 15, 1872 in Sauðanes, Iceland. He was the second son of whaling ship captain Sigurður Eymundsson and Guðrun Johanna Einarsdottir. In 1882, the Eymundsson family immigrated to the United States and founded a homestead on the Tongue River near Mountain, North Dakota.

    After Sigurður Eymundsson's death in 1886, Guðrun sold the homestead to her brother, Thorvarður Einarson, and immigrated to Canada with her children in 1888. The Eymundsson family eventually settled near Red Deer, Alberta.

    In the period from 1888 to 1910, Charles worked at O'Claire's Lumber in Calgary for three years, American Detective Association in Vancouver for twelve years, and as a cook in China for some period of time. Also during this period, Eymundson spent time in northern Alberta and Manitoba and wrote three books and several newspaper articles, including opinion editorials and field reports for the Edmonton Bulletin and other publications. Eymundson's books were all published in Winnipeg and two of them were in Icelandic: Skóli Njósnarans (1902) and Hugboð og Tönn fyrir Tönn (1903). The third book, Knowledge is My God; or, Ignorance My Curse (1903), was published in English.

    On March 8th, 1910 Charles married Asdis Sophia Olafsson in Glenboro, Manitoba. Asdis was born in Grafton, North Dakota to Tryggvi Olafsson and Berglaug Guðmundsdottir but immigrated with her family to Canada in 1892.

    After their marriage, Charles and Asdis founded a homestead in Fort McMurray, Alberta and had several children. Their first child, Romeo Charles (born July 4, 1911), was said to have been the first child of European ancestry born in Fort McMurray. Romeo was followed by Iona Sophie (born November 25, 1913), Darrow Thor (March 31, 1923), and twin boys Oliver Tex and Julius Sigurd (born May 4, 1925). Julius died in infancy.

    On April 18, 1918 the Athabasca River flooded near Fort McMurray and pushed the Eymundson homestead off of its foundation and into the bush with the family stranded on the roof for more than two days.

    During his time in northern Alberta, Charles became a skilled hunter and trapper and often worked in competition with the Hudson Bay Company. Because of his skills and knowledge of the area, he also worked as a guide for visitors and explorers, including oil field expeditions such as those conducted in the 1920s by Dr. Karl A. Clark, inventor of the hot water oil separation process.

    In 1924, Charles attained ownership of the local telephone company that connected the towns of Waterways and Fort McMurray. As Charles advanced in years, he turned control of the company to his son, Romeo, who operated the facility until Alberta Government Telephones assumed control in 1958.

    Charles eventually retired to Camrose, Alberta and died there at the age of 94 in 1966.

    Custodial history

    The records were maintained by Eymundson and remained in his family after his death. .

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of photographs taken by either Charles Eymundson or his son, Romeo, between 1911 and 1963, digitized copies of these photos on four DVD-Rs, and a newsletter from St. John the Baptist’s Church in Fort McMurray.

    The photos depict subjects, events, and locations from across northern Alberta and some locations in Saskatchewan. Locations include Fort Chipewyan, Lesser Slave Lake, Cascade Rapids, McKenzie River, Lake Athabasca, White Mud Canyon, Waterways, Fort McMurray, Athabasca River, Goldfields (Saskatchewan), Edmonton, Brownvale, Slave River, and Embarras.

    Events and subjects depicted in the photos include the Dr. Karl Clark oil sands expedition of 1929, Waterways floods of 1936 and 1963, the Dr. August Sandberg expedition of 1911, the poet Robert Service, the Athabasca Fire Brigade, Hudson’s Bay Company posts, water transportation, hunting and trapping, the crash site of CF-ARI (January, 1940), airplanes and airfields, dog sleds, work crews, American military forces in Waterways during the Second World War, forest fires, and other facets of daily life in northern Alberta. There are also several images of Eymundson family members and friends or associates of the family.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Charles Eymundson’s granddaughter, Michelle Braakman, indexed and digitized the photographs prior to donating them to the PAA in 2012


    Arrangement note: The photographs are arranged in the order imposed by the donor, Michelle Braakman.

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        Access Conditions: None

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        File list is available.

        Associated materials

        Copies of Eymundson’s books are available at other institutions. Skóli Njósnarans (1902) is available at the University of North Dakota and the University of Manitoba; the only known copy of Hugboð og Tönn fyrir Tönn (1903) is located at the University of Iceland; and Knowledge is My God; or, Ignorance My Curse (1903) is located at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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        Further accruals are expected.

        General note

        Includes accession PR2012.0927.

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