Fonds whyte-146 - Peter and Catharine Whyte fonds

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Peter and Catharine Whyte fonds

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Also known as the Whyte family fonds

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WHYTE whyte-146

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Physical description

25 m of textual records. -- ca.46,000 photographs : prints, albums, postcards, cased photographs, transparencies, negatives. -- 178 sound recordings : audio tape reels, audio tape cassettes. -- 6 motion pictures (and film strips)

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Biographical history

Peter and Catharine Whyte were artists, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts, travelers, philanthropists and cultural workers at Banff, Alberta, Canada. Peter Whyte, 1905-1966, was born at Banff in 1905 to pioneer merchant Dave White and Annie (Curren) White. He was an accomplished skier and ski jumper and one of the region's first native-born painters with an intimate knowledge of the mountains and was an active photographer from ca.1920 until the 1950s. Peter Whyte studied art at the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1923-1924, and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, 1925, where he met Catharine Robb. Catharine Robb Whyte, 1906-1979, was born in 1906 at Concord, Massachusetts and grew up amongst the wealth and creativity of the Robb and Morse families. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, 1925-1929. Following their marriage in 1930, the Whytes pursued a life of painting, photography, hiking, skiing and travelling. Their log home and studio in Banff became a focal point for their artist friends, Stoney Indians and local pioneers. Catharine shared Pete's involvement in skiing and hiking organizations and together they managed Skoki Lodge from 1932-1934. In following years, the Whytes travelled extensively. During the Second World War, Peter served in the reserve army, with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a photographer and, briefly, as an official war artist. Catharine continued to paint and maintain their home and, when possible, accompanied Pete to his military postings. In civilian life, Pete resumed his art career, explored new photographic techniques and sculpted. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Whytes formulated plans for a foundation to preserve the art and history of the Canadian Rockies. Plans for a building to house an archives, public library and gallery were in preparation when Pete died in 1966. The Peter Whyte Foundation was named in his honour. Catharine immersed herself in the development of what is now the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, in the cultural community, painting, outdoor activity, travel and work with the Stoney Indians. She became a more active photographer, recording her travels and outdoor pursuits. She served in an official capacity with numerous cultural and charitable organizations, was a patron to individuals studying art and music, and supported numerous causes relating to the Stoney Indians, multiculturalism, regional culture and recreation, and cancer research. Despite her modesty and often anonymous patronage of causes, Catharine was recognized with numerous awards and honours, including the Order of Canada in 1978. She died at Banff in 1979.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of papers, photographs and sound recordings of Peter and Catharine Whyte and the papers and photographs of their respective families. Consists of four sous-fonds: I. Peter and Catharine Whyte, 1862-1980, ca.21 m of textual records, ca.39,000 photographs and 178 sound recordings (Series: A. Catharine Robb Whyte papers and photographs; B. Peter Whyte papers and photographs; C. Peter and Catharine Whyte photographs; D. Peter and Catharine Whyte sound recordings). II. Robb and Morse families, 1856-1959, ca.2 m of textual records, ca.3560 photographs; III. White and Curren families, 1869-1958, ca.2 m of textual records, ca.3100 photographs.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired by donation, 1967-1979


Language of material

  • Language is English

Script of material

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Some restriction/s on access;Copyright, privacy, commercial use and other restrictions may apply

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Finding aids
Arrangement outline;Textual records: sous-fonds, series and file description;Photographic records: sub-series and group description;Sound recordings: item description, subject/proper name index, summaries and reference copies;On-line finding aid (click link below)

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General note

Record No. M36 / S37 / V683<br><br>

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