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Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 17 Jan 2013 23:54
by Sabreur
I am connected with the Prince Albert Historical Society which operates the Museum at Prince Albert. We have copies of some of the Peter's photos in the archives. I will take a look at them in the next few days. I'll post a description of their size and any markings.

I have read references that there were as many as 193 photos (LAC), as few as 72 (Barnholden) and 'approximately 80' (newspaper article). Seaforth72 - how many photos were in the album you saw at RMC?

The museum will be doing a special display on "Historic Photography and Prince Albert" in 2015. It will feature photos in the collection, in particular images by William James who worked from 1890 until the 1935 when his daughter took over the business. He took the pictures of Gentleman Joe McKay and Chief Mistawasis that are commonly found online and in history books.

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 18 Jan 2013 05:27
by GrantRCanada
If the Museum at Prince Albert has any Peters Rebellion photographs we may not have seen, is there any possibility you could scan them and show them here?

Barnholden definitely acknowledges that there are more than 72 Peters photographs, and in fact he publishes a total of 76 in his book - 72 in the main section and another 4 in Appendix A. He references the "Captain James Peters Album 1" held by LAC (donated by Peters' son) which I gather contains the 72 images published in his main section, and also mentions two other known albums - the one held by the Royal Military College Library (which he says contains 62 images) and another of 80 photographs held by the Glenbow in Calgary.

It seems likely that none of these albums contain all of the known Peters North-West Rebellion photographs, but rather only those selected for inclusion in each album from a larger total number. I would suspect that the LAC number may be the correct one - assuming it represents a total of all the different images they have identified rather than simply a cumulative total of Peters' 1885 Rebellion photographs they hold .... a number which could include duplicates of the same image, of course.

Alternatively, it is possible that the LAC number of 193 is in fact a total of all Peters photographs they hold, including images unrelated to the North-West campaign. He was a prolific amateur photographer, and certainly took other images. Indeed, Barnholden even includes one such photograph credited to Library and Archives Canada (E008300829), captioned "Sport with the Citadel Bear" -
Image
(Quite a few other Peters photographs turn up on a LAC search; if anything, the total number of Peters' images might even exceed 193 .... but I certainly haven't counted them!)

Barnholden also includes an Appendix B, of five photographs attributed to "William Imlah", who was apparently also a Captain in the Artillery. Although a search on the LAC website turns up reference to five Imlah photographs (none of which is displayed online) ..... oddly enough all five of the photos in Barnholden's Appendix B (attributed by him to Imlah) are attributed to Peters by LAC! Confusing, to say the least .....

Whether it is actually by Peters or by Imlah, one of the Appendix B photos (also online at LAC) is this delightful image of a sentry and his "fieldcraft practice" sentry box at Prince Albert -
Image

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 18 Jan 2013 19:38
by Sabreur
We do have copies of some of the Peters images. I need to check whether they are original prints or copies.
Here is another source for information =
http://www.wlu.ca/lcmsds/cmh/back%20iss ... 201885.pdf

The authors seem to have gone to primary sources for their information and give their references.

Here is a link to what appears to Barnholden's original work on the subject =
http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/irite ... td4032.pdf

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 19 Jan 2013 05:57
by Sabreur
I have looked at the Peters' images at the PA museum and they are all copies from the LAC collection. :(

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 19 Jan 2013 15:40
by GrantRCanada
It would seem that the "mystery" of the few William Imlah photographs (included with the Peters photographs by LAC) is explained thus: Imlah was a friend of Peters, and fellow officer in 'B' Battery, and took his few photographs using Peters' camera. Thus, Imlah's glass-plate negatives were undoubtedly included by Peters with his own when he sent them east for development.

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 21 Jan 2013 18:44
by Sabreur
The process of taking the photographs must have been cumbersome. Even though the Marion camera was advertised as "This small Camera, known as the ACADEMY CAMERA, is invaluable to the Artist, Military Man, and other who require a handy instrument that will operate without a stand or the cumbersome backs.", the one that Peters carried was still substantial.

There were four models. The three smallest all produced square images; 1.25", 2", and 3.35". Only the No. 4 produced a rectangular image and used 4.25' x 3.25" plates, which is what he must have used. In particular he likely had the the No. 4A which came with "Superior Wormanship" in mahaogany with rectilinear lenses as mentioned in some of the references.

The size of the No. 4A was not small - 11.25" x 6.375" x 10.75" and cost 12 pounds 12. There is no mention of its weight.
There are pictures of the camera here:
http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/entry_C154.html
http://www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/mM34100002_ful.html
There is a digitised book online put out by the The Marion Co. in 1885 here:
http://archive.org/details/practicalguideto00mariuoft
The upper lens was used with a ground glass focussing screen. Not an easy viewfinder to use and explains why he marked a spots on the brass sideplate for infinity and 12 paces so he could focus the camera on the move.

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 21 Jan 2013 20:12
by GrantRCanada
Sabreuer:

Peters' Marion was definitely not in the same category as today's digital pocket cameras!

Image

The above studio portrait of Captain Peters in his 1885 Rebellion field gear, with his cased camera slung over his shoulder, is from the wlu.ca pdf document Sabreuer linked to above (in case anyone hasn't taken a look at it.)

I also found this image in the Peters material viewable online at the Library and Archives Canada website .... captioned "The Citadel - Working with Photographic Equipment" and dated as "circa 1884" -

Image

Although his Marion could be (and was) used without a stand, I wonder if this is nevertheless the same camera - or a similar one - as a tripod would certainly make it steadier and the cloth cover would undoubtedly aid in focussing - particularly in a bright, snowy environment. Of course this image must have been made using a different instrument (unless the "camera" in the photo is really just a mock up.) Perhaps this shows Peters' friend and fellow photography buff William Imlah with his own camera - or else it may have been Imlah who took this photograph .....

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 21 Jan 2013 21:20
by Sabreur
The flat front of the camera in the second picture certainly looks like an Academy.

That tripod looks like it could be "Captains Plucker's Patent Telescopic Tripod with Ball and Socket, Jointed Head" which was sold as an accessory by Marion & Co. with an attachment to fit the Academy Camera. The stand consisted of "three stout brass tubes telescoping into one another, each leg being formed in three lengths." This is different from the common wooden tripod of the period.

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 21 Jan 2013 22:16
by GrantRCanada
As you say, the "telescoping" legs of a wooden tripod are quite distinctive in appearance -
Image

The photo I posted is not of very high resolution, and only one of the legs is seen "face on", but a somewhat enhanced enlarged detail shows that the tripod is apparently a wooden one -
Image

Although I found mention of Captain Plucker's tripod with telescoping tubular metal legs in the 1885 Marion Manual in your link, I couldn't locate an illustration of it there. However in this 1887 manual - http://books.google.ca/books?id=lR4kAAAAMAAJ - there is an advertisement in which Plucker's design is the type illustrated -
Image

The text - and advertisements - in these manuals show a daunting array of equipment and accessories needed by a photographer at that time! And to think that I felt "overburdened" and rather hard done by back when I was actively using a 35mm SLR with interchangeable lenses .... :roll:

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 11 Feb 2013 17:55
by opcmh
Excellent, this information will be well received in Victoria, (Esquimalt) where James Peters was so prominent post the NW Rebellion as well. I will look for more if it comes available .... Thank you all for posting l....regards Jack Bates

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013 22:23
by Wayne F. Brown
Once again I've just returned from one of the N.W.Rebellion sites of the "Big Bear / Alberta Field Force" campaign after discovering a serious incursion has occurred onto the historic site. The first was to Frenchman Butte National Historic Site in 2007 by an oil company that damaged the Militia positions side of the valley to established a well site less than a hundred meters from the #2 field gun position of 1885. Then early last fall the Frog Lake Provincial Historic site in Alberta sustained significant damage with oil exploration employing a catapiller to clear the bush surrounding the 1885 settlement site. (I've detailed this in the Frog Lake section of this forum) This time the issue is back at the Frenchman Butte site where a local landowner, in full knowledge of the significance of the site, embarked on landclearing to augment his cattle grazing operation. In this new case, the cat-work clearing comes within feet of the same milita location previously damaged by the oil company. Parks Canada can do nothing in each case because the damaged area falls outside their established site boundaries. These boundaries are far too limited in size, often extending over just a small portion of the entire heritage sensitive area (EG: Fr. Butte N.H.S. covers approx. 1/8 the battlefield). It's extremely discouraging to find these incidents continue to proliferate, we constantly lose our heritage from these disturbances as the intruders move or destroy artifacts which oftent tell the story, and which might be recovered by searching archologists in the future. Sad, sad, sad! As soon as the snow melts I'll be back at the sites to determine the extent of damage they've suffered.

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013 23:19
by Scona
Thanks for the update on that, Wayne. One would think that the local government's would stay on top of this sort of thing. They are the immediate stewards of the local heritage sites. Who would be the best autourity to contact in order to register a concern about this? The MLA and MP for sure, what about the county?

It reminds me of the situation regarding the bluff near Duck Lake where Almighty Voice and compatriots made their last stand. The farmer who owned the bluff plowed it over to get a little more grazing land.

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 08 Mar 2013 21:22
by Wayne F. Brown
One of the major challenges facing our historic sites is; who is responsible? In some cases Parks Canada, others, Provincial Gov't, yet others, the municipality, or First Nations, and it goes on - - in the case of Frog Lake, the worst case, it's a blend of ALL, and you can imagine what happens when they sit down at a table over any specific issue. The other ogre in senario is the current budget cuts faced both federally and provincially, as of yesterday, especially Alberta. It's my belief that one cannot expect any attention to be given our sites by whoever is in authority. That leaves the protection of our heritage resting fully on you and I's shoulders. On a number of occasions I've encountered relic hunters with detectors at our sites - - illegal within their boundaries, but a relatively common sight scouring the periferies. In many cases there is little to discover today at many of them so, in the end, what's the point of the archologist even making a visit? Like I indicated in my previous comment above; Sad sad sad!

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 14 Mar 2013 15:01
by opcmh
Would you know if there is a "Commemorative Integrity Statement" written by Parks Canada for the National Historic SIte...jack

Re: 1885 NorthWest Campaign

PostPosted: 14 Mar 2013 18:19
by Wayne F. Brown
There probably is such a document however, most of these incursions are on the perifery of the historic sites and outside their protective juridiction. The sites themselves were grossly undersized to economize when they were created (Frenchman Butte is abut 1/8 the size it should be), and now we pay the price!
Also be aware that the 1885 sites, even Frog Lake in Alberta is under the jurisdiction of Fort Battleford Parks Can. office located in Saskatchewan. All of the sites have federal monuments, even Ft. Pitt which is a Saskatchewan Provincial Historic Park. Parks Canada appears to be severely limited in their operations by recent budget cuts - - their staff cut nearly in half in most centers, summer interpretive programs appear to be suspended, and it may be years before they return to "normal operations".