Fonds PR1808 - John Davids fonds

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John Davids fonds

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

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    • 1940-[198-] (Creation)

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    Physical description

    [ca. 2700] transparencies and other material

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    John Davids was born July 23, 1915 in Stornoway, Saskatchewan to Wasyl Davidowski (1889-1970) and Martha Bodnarik (1895-1992). His family moved to Hartney, Manitoba when John was very young. John intended to follow his father's footsteps by working for the Canadian Pacific Railway.

    However John became interested in airplanes after helping Maurice Fry construct an airplane in Hartney in 1931. He found work with Continental Auto Supply Limited in Brandon, Manitoba and then in Regina, Saskatchewan. He came to Edmonton, Alberta as branch manager for Continental Auto Supply in about 1937.

    John joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942, training and eventually becoming a flight instructor. Following the war and a brief stint in the radio business as proprietor of the company Radio Industries, John became a pilot for Associated Airways Limited (which was purchased by and became Pacific Western Airlines (PWA) Limited in 1956).

    While working with Associated Airways, he met and married Coral Enzenauer (later Fry) (1921-2021) on December 26, 1949. While with Associated Airways and then PWA, John worked as an instructor, a pilot, a contract pilot for Canadian Gulf Oil Company/British American Oil Company Limited and then chief pilot for PWA's Northern Division, Visual Flight Rules Department. He was involved in creating biographies for the Canadian Bush Pilot Book Project, for which he was project manager. John retired in 1975.

    He was secretary-treasurer of the Edmonton Quarter Century in Aviation Club from 1965 to 1978, and president in 1982. For his services to the club he was honoured with a lifetime membership in 1979.

    John Davids died March 15, 1982.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of the records of John Davids, pilot and amateur photographer, and primarily includes images reflecting his flying experiences in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories; the images record the life and activities of a bush pilot for three decades, with an emphasis on aerial photography of geographical features, communities (where very few photographs were ever taken) and the oil industry in the field, which is well documented because of John's involvement with Canadian Gulf Oil flight crews. The fonds also includes John Davids' pilot's log books, pilot's licenses, a souvenir edition program commemorating the official opening of a new terminal at the Edmonton Municipal Airport, a certificate for his lifetime membership in the Edmonton Quarter Century in Aviation Club, correspondence, a copy of "Dominion Explorers Limited" (recollections of Stanley R. McMillan written by John Davids), a copy of John's article "A Bit About the Bush Era" and a biography of John Davids. The fonds also includes photographs and records created during Davids' time in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Coral Davids Fry, the wife of John Davids, deposited the records in the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1989 and 2009. Records were added to PR1989.0030 in 1990 and 1991.


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        The material is in English.

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        Restrictions on access

        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 not available.

        Associated materials

        For more information about John Davids, see the biography of Maurice Meredith Fry in the Coral Davids Fry fonds. Uncharted Skies: Canadian Bush Pilot Stories, the publication of the Canadian Bush Pilot Book Project, can be found in the Provincial Archives of Alberta Reference Library, 629.130971 U524.

        Also see the John Davids fonds at the Northwest Territories Archives in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the biographical sketch is taken from Henderson's Edmonton, Alberta city directories and from the records. The images can be located in the D (Davids) file of the Provincial Archives of Alberta reference prints. Coral Davids Fry also deposited the records in the Coral Davids Fry fonds and the Pat Peterson fonds.

        General note

        Includes accessions PR1989.0030 and PR2009.0538.

        Physical description

        Includes [ca. 1250] negatives, [ca. 400] photographs, 0.16 m of textual records, 4 films and 1 audio cassette.

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