Fonds whyte-942 - Mary Schaffer fonds

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Mary Schaffer fonds

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Also known as Mary Schaffer Warren fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds and uses name by which creator is most commonly known

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WHYTE whyte-942

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35 cm of textual records. -- ca.2025 photographs (ca.1550 transparencies, ca.400 negatives, 75 prints). -- 7 photograph albums (ca.1760 prints)

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Mary Schaffer, 1861-1939, also known as Mary Schaffer Warren, was an American explorer, photographer and artist who visited the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk Mountains frequently beginning in 1888, finally settling in Banff, Alberta in 1912. Born Mary Townsend Sharples to moderately wealthy Quaker parents at West Chester, Pennsylvania, she first visited the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk Mountains in 1888 with her friend Mary Vaux. She returned the following year with her husband, Dr. Charles Schaffer, and until Charles died in 1903, the Schaffers travelled annually to the mountains to study botany. Using Dr. Schaffer's data and her drawings and photographs, Mary Schaffer and Stewardson Brown completed "Alpine flora of the Canadian Rocky Mountains" in 1907. Schaffer continued to travel in the Canadian mountains, often through remote regions. In 1908, she reached Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta, and returned in 1911 to survey the region. "Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies," 1911, recounts her adventures of 1907 and 1908. Schaffer settled in Banff in 1912 and married her guide, Billy Warren, in 1915.

Custodial history

Lantern slide programs titled In the Heart of the Canadian Rockies were in the possession of Tom Lonsdale and were donated by the estate in 1976. In 2002, they were transferred from the Tom Lonsdale and Florence Lonsdale fonds to the Mary Schaffer fonds. Philip and Pearl Moore and Charles and Edmee (Moore) Reid were friends of Schaffer. Philip Moore owned the Warren house for a time and Charlie Reid, Moore's son-in-law, lived in the house for many years. An active exchange of lantern slides amongst Mary Schaffer, Philip Moore and Tom Lonsdale may account for the range of material acquired through these estates. Five by seven inch negatives from 1902 and 1903 were in the possession of the Vaux family, life-long friends of Schaffer, and accompanied a major gift of Vaux records in 1999. Photograph albums (except album re Asia), some prints, and postcard album were at one time the property of Frank Douglas of Banff, chauffeur to Billy and Mary Warren during the 1930s and caretaker of the Warren's home Tarry-a-while. They were acquired by the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1990.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of three series: I. Personal, literary and research papers, 1907-ca.1935; II. Mary Schaffer photographs, 1893-ca.1920; II. Other, 1895-1928. I. Papers series consists of four sub-series: A. Correspondence, 1908-1922; B. Literary manuscripts (original and published), 1907-ca.1925; C. Maps of Maligne Lake; D. Other, 1905-ca.1935. Literary manuscripts pertain to the Athabasca River, Maligne Lake, Howse, Yellowhead and Athabasca passes; hunting; Dr. Gilbert Atkin and Nurse Fulcher's medical mission to Ya Ha Tinda Ranch; Banff, Revelstoke BC, Saskatchewan River; Stoney Indians; Palliser Expedition; and Mary Schaffer life and activities. II. Photographs series consists of four sub-series: A. Lantern slides; B. Photograph albums; C. Negatives; D. Prints. Lantern slides pertain to Mary Schaffer's trips to Maligne Lake and Yellowhead Pass, mountain scenics, nature subjects (animals, birds, flowers); and includes Mary Schaffer's lantern slide presentations "In the Heart of the Canadian Rockies", accompanied by scripts; Philip Moore's Indian lecture series, mainly copies from books and other graphic sources; and Mary Schaffer's slides of China and Japan. Photograph albums, 1908-ca.1921, pertain mainly to trips in the Canadian Rocky and Selkirk Mountains, especially expeditions to the Yoho and Ptarmigan Valleys, Nakimu Caves, North Saskatchewan River, Wilcox Pass and Maligne Lake. Two albums pertain to travels in Mexico and Asia. Negatives pertain mainly to Schaffer's trips and explorations, Glacier House and environs, alpine flora and fauna, mountain views, portraits, Sampson Beaver family, 1902-1911. III. Other material series consists of diaries of Mollie Adams, 1908, and Mrs. H. H. Sharples, 1911, and original manuscripts and published reports by other writers, 1895-1928.

Notes area

Physical condition

Textual records include oversize items

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired by donation and transfer, 1969-2006


Language of material

  • Language is English

Script of material

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Some restrictions on access to originals;Copyright, privacy, commercial use and other restrictions may apply

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Finding aids
Finding aids and reference tools: arrangement outline; series and file description for processed material; electronic finding aid;Item list and modern reference prints for lantern slides;Copies of literary manuscripts;On-line finding aid (click on link below)

Associated materials

Lantern slides are related by provenance to lantern slides in the Moore family photographs;Accompanied by books, artifacts and art works

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General note

Record No. M79 / V527<br><br>

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