Fonds PR3696 - Sketchley family fonds

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Sketchley family fonds

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    Title notes

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

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    • 1891-2001 (Creation)

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    ca. 1.67 meters textual records. – ca. 250 View-Master reels. – ca. 210 photographs and other materials.

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    Biographical history

    The Sketchley family immigrated to Canada from South Wales in 1906. Arthur Joseph Sketchley (1876-1924) and Amilia (Maxine) Tamplin intended to homestead near Saskatoon but they chose to settle in the city of Calgary after their finances dwindled during their move. Arthur took work as a carpenter. The family had seven children, Muriel (died 1902), Arthur (1903-1994), Thomas (later known as Colin Sinclare) (1905-1969), Gwendolyn “Gwen” (1912-1938), William (1912-1914), Mildred Rose “Corol” (1916-2009), and John (1921-?).

    After the death of Arthur Sr. the family continued to live and work in Calgary. Arthur Jr. went to Queens University and become a teacher. Rose was talented in dramatic recitations and was involved in the Calgary Acting Guild. Gwen married, but after a few months she separated and returned home to her mother and had a baby girl. Corol became the primary caregiver to the child as Gwen worked outside the home. The baby died of pneumonia as a toddler and a few years later Gwen died from misdiagnosed appendicitis.

    At age 14 Corol met Donald “Don” MacMillan, and in later years they married. Donald and Corol’s younger brother Johnny both fought in World War II, and Corol joined the air force. She trained in Ottawa and was first posted to Toronto, followed by Calgary. Shortly after returning home from fighting Don left Corol and was never seen or heard of by the family again.

    Corol became well-known for raising and showing purebred cats, work she shared with her brother Arthur. In the 1970s she worked with Persian, Himalayan, Siamese, Balinese, and Abyssinian cats. Later in life she worked with Burmese, Shaded Silver, and Cameo American Shorthair cats. She was the first to register a litter of Himalayan kittens in Canada and was present at the founding meeting of the Canadian Cat Association. Corol was also a cat judge for five different cat associations including the Canadian Cat Association, American Cat Fanciers Association, Crown Cat Fanciers, United Feline organization, and American Association of Cat Enthusiasts.

    Thomas moved to British Columbia and changed his and his immediate family’s names in 1945. This followed a conversion to numerology (specifically Kabalarian Philosophy) and the cessation of communication with his family in Alberta. Thomas changed his name to Colin Sinclare while his wife (previously Dorothea Annie Sketchley) changed hers to Diane Sinclare and their son (Arthur Joseph Sketchley) had his name changed to Ross Sinclare.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of correspondence, tickets, programs, workbooks and art, photographs, View-Master reels, and recordings and scripts from Rose’s teenage acting career, among others. Also included in the fonds is a guidebook for cat breeds, ribbons from the Calgary Horticultural Fair and artwork done by John Sketchley.

    The letters are to and from the Sketchley family and they include Christmas cards, teaching and school correspondence from Arthur Jr, cat-related affairs from Corol, and legal and union correspondence from Colin Sinclare.

    The fonds includes publications that have been well-used and/or include notes from family members, newspaper clippings that are in good condition and mention members of the family directly, as well as filled-out forms and workbooks. Other textual records are comprised of recital notes, typed songs (including one written and copywritten by Colin Sinclare), tickets, and somewhat rare publications held by family members (such as Colin Sinclare’s editions of the Kabalarian Courier, technocracy leaflet, and Ku Klux Klan handbook).

    Other records include photographs, largely comprised of Corol Sketchley’s cat breeding and showing career, stage performances, and company during World War II. The selected records from these categories came from the sorted and assembled albums, photographs in good condition, and photographs with contents not otherwise represented in the fonds.

    There are also homemade View-Master stereo reels that were created using photos taken by the family throughout Alberta and during their vacations. These were likely taken on the View-Master Personal Camera that came with the records at the time of donation. Records also include drawings and other art from Gwen, a book of pressed flowers, and a name change certificate for Colin Sinclare and his immediate family.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Records were stored at the Sketchley family home in Calgary until Rose Sketchley’s death. After her death the records were donated by longtime family friend Richard Cypher.


    Language of material

      Script of material

        Language and script note

        The material is in English.

        Location of originals

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        Restrictions on access

        Audiovisual records must be digitized prior to use.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        Some file lists are available. Please contact reference archivist for more information.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Includes the following accessions: PR2010.0140, PR2011.0539

        General note

        The View-Master was a trademarked line of personal stereoscopes and reels. When requesting access to View-Master reels in the reading room, request use of a View-Master stereoscope if required.

        General note

        Some records have not yet been processed and are in the state in which they were donated.

        Physical description

        The fonds also includes 24 negatives. – 12 vinyl records. – 5 prize ribbons. – 2 transparencies. – 1 scroll.

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