Reeves, Gladys

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Reeves, Gladys

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        Gladys Reeves was born June 1890 in Somerset, England and was the youngest daughter of William Paris Reeves and Clara Ellen Gold. In 1904, William Reeves moved with his family to Edmonton, Alberta.

        In July 1905 Gladys Reeves began work as a receptionist and later as an apprentice for photographer Ernest Brown. In 1920, she established her own photographic studio called The Art League. At the time she was one of the first women west of Winnipeg to own and operate her own studio. Nine years later in 1929, fire destroyed the studio and everything in it, including many of Ernest Brown's historical negatives that were being stored for him while he worked in Vegreville. Following the fire, Gladys Reeves re-established her business in a studio over the Empress Theatre, with the help of Ernest Brown. The studio remained open until 1950, and after it closed Gladys Reeves helped Ernest Brown with his historical records. Both Reeves and Brown retained a close working and personal relationship until his death in 1951.

        In addition to her work in commercial photography and portraiture, Gladys Reeves took an interest in education. She and Ernest Brown developed a program using Brown's collection of historical photographs. The photos were divided into 31 series of “teaching pictures” and these photos were accompanied by a short lesson and questions. Others were cut into small cards and sold in subject groups to schoolchildren. These teaching pictures were available at Reeves' studio and at Brown's Pioneer Days Museum.

        Gladys Reeves was also active in the Edmonton community. An avid gardener, she won a medal in 1907 for the best garden in Edmonton. She was a member of the Edmonton Horticultural Society and served on their board for over twenty years before becoming the society's first woman president in 1928. Gladys Reeves was also instrumental in forming the Edmonton Tree Planting Committee, which was responsible for planting over 5,000 trees in boulevards throughout Edmonton in 1923. She was also a charter member of the Soroptimist Society, was the first secretary of the Friendship Club and was an Honorary Life member of the Old Timers Association. Between 1905 and 1913, she sang in a choir and took part in many early operas and in the first Alberta Musical Festivals.

        Gladys Reeves died in Edmonton on April 26, 1974 at the age of 83.


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