Fonds PR2948 - W.J. Oliver fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

W.J. Oliver fonds

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

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    Reference code


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    Statement of scale (cartographic)

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    • 1924 (Creation)

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    1 photograph. - 1 graphic material

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    Archival description area

    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    William John Oliver was born in 1887 in Ash, Canterbury, Kent, England. As a youth, he worked as a butcher's apprentice, but became interested in photography after winning a camera. In 1910, he immigrated to southern Alberta, and worked as a teamster at Strathmore.

    In the following years Frederick B. Cooper Photographic Studio in Calgary employed him to work as a camera assistant. In 1911, he joined the Morning Albertan; and in 1912, he opened the W.J. Oliver Photographic Studio. He also worked as a staff photographer for the Calgary Herald. Oliver's studio prospered, and he regularly received contracts outside of the Calgary area.

    During the 1920s and 1930s, he also took many photographs of the Calgary Stampede, and traveled across Canada taking photos and films for the National Parks Branch, Fox News and others news providers. From 1936-1937, he served as official photographer on Michael Lerner's big game hunting expeditions to Africa and southeastern Asia. In 1939, he accompanied Lerner to Alaska. Oliver sold the studio in 1942 to Walter Cadman, an employee of the studio, and retired to the Diamond L. Ranch in the Millarville area, which he had purchased in 1933.

    He married Marjorie Beatrice Martin (1896-1993) in Calgary in 1920, and together they had three children: Joan (Cavers), Doreen (Huffman), and Audrey-Jean (Langford).

    Oliver passed away in Calgary in 1954.

    Custodial history

    In 1966, Dr. L.M. Mullen of the Baker Memorial Sanatorium donated the lithographic print to the Provincial Museum of Alberta.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of a photograph featuring the Calgary Stampede in 1924 by W. J. Oliver. The fonds also includes a lithograph print by W.J. Oliver featuring RCMP officers and Chief James Starlight, a Tsuut'ina First Nation Chief, meeting at the 50th Calgary Exhibition and Stampede in conjunction with the Diamond Jubilee of the arrival of police in Calgary.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    In 1966, the Provincial Archives of Alberta received the material from the Provincial Museum of Alberta that had been donated by Dr. L.M. Mullen. It's unknown how Dr. Mullen obtained the material. In 1968, Garrett and Dallas Harris donated the photograph to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. No further information available.


    Language of material

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        Language and script note

        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

        Please see the W.J. Oliver fonds and the Calgary Stampede fonds at the Glenbow Museum and Archives.

        Related materials


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the administrative history/biographical sketch sourced from the Glenbow Museum and Archives W.J. Oliver fonds description. Please see Sheilagh S. Jameson, W.J. Oliver, Life Through a Master's Lens, Calgary : Glenbow Museum, 1984 in the Provincial Archives of Alberta's Reference Library, 770.92 OL4 PAA. The images can be located in the A file of the Provincial Archives of Alberta reference prints under the numbers A11200 - 11203.

        General note

        Includes accessions PR1966.0084 and PR1969.0005.

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