Robert Wilson Reford and family fonds [textual record, graphic material, cartographic material]

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  • Record Information – Brief
    Hierarchical level:
    1723-1803, [1885-ca. 1940].
    Type of material:
    Art, Photographs, Maps and cartographic material, Textual material
    Found in:
    Archives / Collections and Fonds
    Item ID number:
    Link to this page:
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    Context of this record:
    • Robert Wilson Reford and family fonds
      Robert Wilson Reford and family fonds
  • Fonds includes:
    483 lower level description(s)
    View lower level description(s)
    1723-1803, [1885-ca. 1940].
    Place of creation:
    No place, unknown, or undetermined
    1,011 photographs chiefly b&w.
    342 prints.
    14 drawings.
    1 watercolour.
    1 map.
    0.2 cm of textual records.
    Language of material:
    Scope and content:
    Fonds consists of graphic materials. One engraving, 1760, is entitled A view of Quebec from the Bason, engraved by P. Canot, after a work by Captain Hervey Smith. 841 photographs, 1885-1890, depict the Canadian West; Fort Simpson, N.W.T.; Japanese immigrants on the West Coast; portraits of various individuals. 93 photographs, ca. 1900-ca. 1940, predominant 1900-1910, include lantern slides and glass plate positives, and depict people, places, events in and around Montreal and Western Canada, including Sir Wilfrid Laurier campaigning, athletic meets, games, and events (probably in Montreal), mountain, wilderness, and forest scenes, cowboys, mountain climbers, hunters, and others, some copies of pictorialist style salon prints; with most of these photographs probably by Robert Reford, though some items are commercial slides by the Keystone View Co.; and the colour slides depicting the Rocky Mountains and hikers probably date from the 1930s, and the photo depicting a snow covered stone cabin is ca. 1910. 340 prints in various processes, 77 photographs, 14 drawings, one watercolour and one photomechanical reproduction, n.d., relate primarily to the history of Montreal, and include portraits, military views, landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, as well as of other more general aspects of Canadian history; and numerous Canadian, British and French artists are represented: George Carr, W.H. Bartlett, John Lambert, J.P. Cockburn, George Heriot, Robert A Sproule, Cornelius Krieghoff, Robert Bouchette and various printing companies. Fonds also contains textual records and a map. The textual records, after originals dated n.d., 1723, 1731, 1803, consist of notes on "Early Settlement Metis" and "To the Keeper of the Goal", n.d., 1803, transcript, three pages; a partial papier terrier, photocopy; and the inscription on the first French lighthouse at Louisbourg, photograph. There are also an account of expenditures, n.d., of the "Montreal Assembly" in manuscript, with accompanying photostat of invitation, n.d., to attend the Montreal Assembly; and a manuscript, n.d., by an anonymous author commenting on the Montreal Assembly and other subjects. Engraved map, mid to late 18th century, of North America from the best authorities.
    Biography/Administrative history:
    Reford, Robert W. (Robert Wilson), 1867-1951: Robert Wilson Reford was born in Montreal in 1867, the eldest son of Robert Reford and Katherine Drummond. He was educated at Upper Canada College. His father was the founder of the Robert Reford Company, a shipping firm in Montreal. Prior to joining his father's firm, Robert travelled to the Mediterranean, Britain, and France. In 1888, he began his apprenticeship in business, working on board a vessel in the Mediterranean. In 1889, he went to British Columbia to work in family business interests. He also worked in Antwerp and Paris prior to returning to Montreal and joining the staff of the Robert Reford Company. In 1894, he married Elsie Stephen Meighen, the daughter of Robert Meighen and niece of Sir George Stephen, Baron Mount Stephen. From 1913 to 1946, he served as president of Robert Reford Company. One of Canada's most prolific amateur photographers, Reford documented the people and landscape of British Columbia during his business apprenticeship there. He continued his interest in photography as a member of the Montreal Camera Club in 1892. In addition to his interest in photography, Reford was a passionate art collector. He amassed one of the largest collections of Canadian and European art in Canada. An artist himself, he sketched a number of works related to native Canada. Robert Wilson Reford died in 1951. Exhibition(s): 1980, City Blocks, City Spaces, PAC, Ottawa, Ont. (group). 1983, Private Realms of Light, PAC, Ottawa, Ont.
    Finding aid:
    841 photographs, 1885-1890 (accession 1973-050 NPC): (Paper) Vol. 1 Report on the Reford Collection, Vol. 2 version française. Located in Photo A&R. FA-037

    93 photographs, ca. 1900-ca. 1940, predominant 1900-1910 (accession 1989-458 DAP): (Paper) Descriptive list; accession file.

    Engraving, 1760 (accession 1984-174 PIC); 340 prints in various processes, 77 photographs, 14 drawings, one watercolour and one photomechanical reproduction, n.d. (accession 1973-018 PIC): (Paper) Description; item level. binders in Art A&R;

    Photographs (Paper) 841 photographs, 1885-1890 (accession 1973-050 NPC) Accession:1973-050 series level. (90 90: Open)

    Additional information:
    General Note:
    The engraving, 1760 (accession 1984-174 PIC) was transferred from the Map Collection which had received it with some Reford materials, probably the maps that were acquired at the same time as graphic materials, from Robert Wilson Reford's estate in 1972.
    The 841 photographs, 1885-1890 (accession 1973-050 NPC) were acquired from L. Eric Reford in 1973.
    The 93 photographs, ca. 1900-ca. 1940, predominant 1900-1910 (accession 1989-458 DAP) were acquired from Michael S. Reford who had acquired them from his father Robert Bruce Reford, who had found them either in the Montreal house or in the darkroom kept by Robert Wilson Reford at the house at Grand Métis.
    The 340 prints in various processes, 77 photographs, 14 drawings, one watercolour and one photomechanical reproduction, n.d. (accession 1973-018 PIC), were acquired from the estate of Robert W. Reford in 1972. Other materials acquired with these graphic materials were the published materials transferred to the Public Archives Library in 1973 and 1974 (formerly 1973-018-428 to 1973-018-431, 1973-018-432 and 1973-018-433 PIC), the materials related to the Montreal Assembly (formerly 1973-018-435 and 1973-018-436 PIC) and the map (now 82301/7 CA, formerly 1973-018-355 PIC).
    Of the textual records (except those related to the Montreal Assembly), the photocopies were received in 1974 and the transcripts were transferred in 1974 from the estate of R.W. Reford.
    Associated material note:
    Materials related to Robert Wilson Reford (1867-1951) and his wife Elsie Reford, niece of George Stephen (Lord Mount Stephen): In the holdings of Les Jardins de Métis, Québec, their former summer home, now a museum.
    Published materials, consisting of The Atlantic Neptune, by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres; Unveiling the statue ..., by Spector Printing Company; Expense book of John Halsted, by C.A. Marchand; Trial of Major Andre, by J. Munsell; Illustrated war news, Vol. 1, Nos 1-18, by Gripp Printing; and Polemiques et documents, by L'Etendard: Transferred to the Public Archives Library in 1973 and 1974.
    The Lewis Reford Sporting Books collection (including books on hunting, fishing and racing): Acquired from the Reford family by the McGill University Library, in 1950.
    Related material:
    Other materials relating to Robert W. Reford and family are available in the Robert Reford Company fonds (MG 28 III 59), the Reford family fonds (MG 25 G 166), the Lewis L. Reford collection (R4564-0-4-E), and the Lewis Eric Reford collection (MG 31 B 2).
    Part of the John Horn collection (MG 18 N 51) was acquired in 1973 from the estate of Robert W. Reford.
    Part of the John Gambier, 1st Baron Gambier fonds (MG 24 A 48) was acquired from the estate of Robert Wilson Reford.
    Subject heading:
    Other system control no.:
    Related control no.:
    1973-018 PIC
    1973-050 NPC
    1984-174 PIC
    1989-458 DAP
    Former archival reference no.:
    Other accession no.:
    82301/7 CA
  • Conditions of access:
    Terms of use:
    Photographs: No donor restrictions. Copyright: Various or expired. Credit: Name of photographer / National Archives of Canada / Copy negative no.
    Other graphic materials: No donor restrictions. Copyright: Various or expired. Credit: National Archives of Canada.
    Map: No donor restrictions.

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