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[1890?]-[before 1945] (Creation)
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Name of creator
William John (W.J.) James was born on December 23, 1870 to William, Sr. and Maria James of the Fordwich area, Howick Township, Huron County, Ontario. His father was a blacksmith and carriage maker in Ontario, and first traveled west with the Wolseley Red River Expedition in 1870.
W. J. James came to Prince Albert, Northwest Territories ca.1890. His family followed around 1893. Both James and his father were employed by the James Sanderson sawmill as labourers. W.J. James became a barber while also establishing a photography business briefly with W.J. Jackson in 1894. James continued in barbering while also working as an itinerant photographer in the 1890s. He hired Theodore Charmbury as a photographer in his studio between 1901 and 1903, and operated a branch studio at Indian Head in 1904-1906. James operated the City Art Studio (1909-1919) and W.J. James & Co. (est.1927) in Prince Alberta until his retirement in the mid-1930s. James' professional career as an itinerant, commercial and portrait photographer spanned over forty years during which he traveled extensively in the Prince Albert district and northern parkland regions of Saskatchewan documenting settlement, local industry and everyday life.
W.J. James married Maude Rebecca Courtney, daughter of local rancher, Thomas W. and Matilda Courtney, on April 27, 1904 in Prince Albert. Maude Courtney was born in Bobcaygeon, Ontario on December 31, 1882 and came to the Prince Albert area with her family as a child.
W. J. and Maude James had four daughters: Mossie (b. 1904; died at 8 months); 'Eva' Eunice (b. 1906, married (1) Charles Musk; (2) William Bramwell McKenzie); Norma (b. 1908, married Nelson Thurson) and Murl (b. 1914, married W.B. Smith). Both Maude James and daughter Norma worked at the family studio, becoming proprietors of W.J. James & Co. following James' death in 1944. Norma James is listed in commercial directories as a photographer in the mid-1940s. W. J. James & Co. ceased operation in 1957.
William John James died on September 9, 1944 in Prince Albert. Maude James died in December 1956. Both are buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Prince Albert.
Shirley Collins, daughter of Eunice McKenzie and granddaughter of W.J. James currently (2007) resides in Saskatoon.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of portraits and photographs from the family's personal collection. The records include images of William James, his wife Maude and four daughters, a photo coupon card, William and Maude James' wedding portrait, photographs of members of the Thomas W. Courtney and William James, Sr. families, and W.J. James' City Art Studio in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
No series has been applied to the photographs.
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Related material: W.J. James fonds : An estimated 3,200 – 3,600 prints, glass plate negatives and negatives including panoramic views and commercial images of Prince Albert and district taken by William James, photographer. Dated ca. 1890-1930s, these photographs were purchased from James' daughter in 1958 and from the Prince Albert Historical Society in 1962. The records are from Accessions 483, 696 and 1372. These records are identified by subject access points in the Historical Photographs (Regina) card catalogue.
Associated material: The Prince Albert Historical Society has photographic records of the W. J. James fonds in its permanent collection.