Fonds F 500 - William John James Family fonds

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William John James Family fonds

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Reference code

F 500

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  • [1890?]-[before 1945] (Creation)

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Physical description

33 photographs

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Name of creator

Biographical history

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.

Custodial history

Shirley Collins of Saskatoon, daughter of Eunice McKenzie and granddaughter of William John James, loaned prints of these photographs from the family's collection for copying to the Regina office, Saskatchewan Archives in 1988. The print negatives were accessioned in 1988: R88-285 (September 6, 1988).

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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Restrictions on access

Records are open for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of the Copyright Act.

Finding aids

SAFA 344 consists of a fonds description and item descriptions of photographs. Item descriptions of photographs also available in electronic format. Please consult the reference archivist for assistance.

Associated materials

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.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

Alpha-numeric designations

Other codes: Photographs: R-A33897 to R-A33929.

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