Monthly Archives: December 2014

Women’s Art Association (SASK) activities and exhibitions list

The Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan had its heyday between 1929-1948. It disbanded in 1957, according to an essay on the subject of the Moose Jaw Art Guild by Jessica Boyacheck on the SNAC website. She says that the Moose Jaw Art Guild, formed in 1957, was an outgrowth of the former WAA Moose Jaw branch, whose first president had been Vaughan E.K. Grayson.

There doesn’t appear to be any archival holdings for the WAA of Saskatchewan in the usual places despite the fact that they always had an archives officer so there are no minutes, reports, press clippings, etc. available to reconstruct their activities.  I cannot find an archive for Barbara Barber or other prominent members. This summary of their activities is supported by newspaper reports only but it constitutes a new archive for studying this group in the future.

???????????????????????????????The WAA was organized in May of 1929 with the following people in executive roles:

President – Barbara Barber, VPs, Laura Fasken & Annie Darke, Rec. Secretary – Effie Martin, Corr. Secretary, Mrs. R. P. Malone, Treasurer, Mrs. Brandon

Executive members: Mildred Thornton, Sybil Jacobson, Eva Rossie, Harriette Keating, Laura Lamont, Susan McLean,  Mrs. James McAra, Mrs. T.B. Patton, Mrs. D.J. Thom, Mrs. E.E. Poole, Mrs. Norman Mackenzie, Miss E.D. Cathro.  There were over 75 charter members who paid fees.

Honorary Executive: Mrs. Newlands, wife of Lt. Gov. of Saskatchewan, Mrs. James G. Gardiner, Mrs. James McAra, Mrs. Walter C. Murray

Many of the above people were non-artists but there were ten founding artists on the executive, highlighted in magenta.

There were branches of WAA Saskatchewan in Moose Jaw, Assiniboia and other cities.  Sask. membership in Nov. 1929 was 190. The Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society was affiliated with the WAA but there was no WAA branch in Saskatoon as the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society was in full swing prior to the formation of the WAA. In fact, the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society provided a model the WAA tried to emulate.  However, the WAA had a good proportion of artists in its membership, unlike the Saskatoon group, and this probably made them unique in terms of how they evolved.

In many provinces the WAA was the active arm of the NCW in the arts.  LCW Arts & Letters Committees were supposed to be less active, reporting on and representing affiliated societies.  The Regina LCW Arts Committee was an exception and there seems to have been some difficulty between the two organizations as they worked out their roles.  The Regina LCW group repeatedly mentioned in their reports, from 1931 on, that they were primarily a study group but they continued to be quite active, holding annual group shows and solo shows for artists and collecting art.  In turn, the WAA was meant to be an artist organization but it also had study groups and sub-committees concerned with subjects like architecture, for example. Part of the difficulty was that many of the Regina WAA members had been members of the LCW arts committee and several continued involvement in both organizations.

The clear difference between the two organizations was that artists were attracted to the WAA for its workshops and activities. The WAA, unlike the LCW Arts Committee, also sent artists’ works in exhibition outside the city and the province, providing them with greater public exposure. Additionally, its focus on traditionally feminine arts and crafts gave women artists of all kinds venues to show their productions, opportunities which were not available through the annual LCW Arts Committee painting shows. Although, the WAA was a women artists organization, like the LCW Arts Committee, it did not discriminate between the sexes in its Saskatchewan artist shows, allowing all provincial artists to show their work.

WAA Saskatchewan Activities

May 1929 – Morning Leader announces the formation of the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan. Many reports suggest the Women’s Art Association dates from 1928, which could be true in the sense that they organized themselves before they had an official charter.  However, the announcement and their reported activities all date from 1929.

Oct. 1929, First annual exhibit of Saskatchewan artists, no online newspaper from that month available, but a WAA report published in November states that it happened.  The WAA made $350.00 from it.

Dec. 13, 1929 Report on WAA lecture and business in Morning Leader—————————————————————————————————————–

Some reports of the WAA study groups and business appear in 1930.  Apr. 5, Morning Leader, Jun 12, Oct.9,  Dec. 2, Dec. 8 Leader-Post

April 9-12, 1930 the Moose Jaw WAA initiates an Arts & Crafts Festival with a display of multi-cultural arts & crafts in the Rose Room at McInytre’s Cafe. A special display of Hindu relics is included and the newspaper reported that there were hundreds of visitors at the Moose Jaw festival. Jan. 22, Apr.7Apr. 11Apr. 12,  Apr. 23, Morning Leader.

May 21-23, 1930 An exhibition of paintings by 13 WAA members is held in Coleville, Sk. May 17, Leader Post

June 1930, WAA holds elaborate week long  exhibit of handicraft and home industries at Regina City Hall. May 8, May 23, May 30, May 31, Jun 3, Jun 4, Jun 6, Jun 7, Jun 9 Leader-Post

July 1930, WAA sends exhibit of Saskatchewan handicraft to CNE in Toronto (Mildred Thornton, a WAA founder, also curates an exhibition of Saskatchewan painters to go to the CNE at the request of Fred Haines, so probably not a WAA initiative). Aug. 21 SSP

July, 1930 WAA sends an exhibit of members’ paintings to Saskatoon and North Battleford fairs

Sept. 23, 1930, WAA Tea is held at the home of Mrs. Barber with honoured guests, artist Margaret Frame and her mother Mrs. Joseph Fulton Frame. Sep.24

Oct. 1930, Second annual WAA exhibit of Saskatchewan artists. Sep.6, Sep.29, Oct.2, Oct. 3, Oct.4 Leader Post and Sep. 12, Sep. 26, Oct. 2 SSP—————————————————–

1931 – Some business reports Jan. 10, Jan. 13, Jan. 30 and a group photo of the members of the Womens Art Association of Saskatchewan appears in January in the Leader-Post.

1931 WAA photo spread & history


Sep 29- Oct 3, 1931 – WAA Painting exhibition at City Hall. Extensive reviews of the show appears in the Leader Post on Sep 30 &  Oct. 2, 1931 and Oct. 3. There is mention in the first and third article of Saskatchewan paintings which had been shown in Toronto at the WAA exhibition that summer. I discovered these clippings after I made this post and the exhibition chart below so the 1931 show is not included in the summary there.

First week of Nov., 1931, Exhibition of 30 paintings by Mrs. Barber in Moose Jaw at Grant Hotel, accompanied by china painting exhibits by Moose Jaw ladies, Mary Underhill and Mrs. J.W. Wilkes ————————————————————————————————————

1932 – May 14, published report on activities

First week of October, 1932.  Third annual WAA exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at City Hall, see attached chart. Oct. 3 (scroll right), Oct. 5, Oct. 6 (scroll right), Oct. 8,

Dec. 5-9, 1932, WAA members exhibition at WAA club rooms, 515 Broder St. Building. Dec. 5Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 8b ——————————————————————————–

1933- Published reports on activities: Feb. 18, Apr 12, May 6, May 12, May 15, May 25, May 31. It appears from some of these reports that a new WAA affiliated organization called the Regina Art Club or Regina Art Association was formed in 1933 with a separate executive – Mrs. A.R. Brown being the first president.

July, 1933 – WAA sponsored Handicraft exhibit at the World’s Grain Growers exhibition in Regina, WAA Needlecraft and china displays are separate entities. See my post on the 1933 World Grain Show’s art exhibitions for links to articles on the WAA exhibits.

Sep. 27, 1933 – Membership tea held at the home of Susan McLean.

Oct. 25,1933 – WAA sponsors a tea to honour Marie Guest at the home of Mrs. E.C. Rossie

Nov. 27,1933, Neudorf Art Committee asks to affiliate with the Sask WAA

Dec. 9, 1933, WAA sponsors a show of arts and crafts by members at Evan’s Flower Shop, a number of individual members hold exhibitions of their work in their own homes the following week. ——————————————————————————————————————–

1934 – Published business reports Apr. 7, Apr. 12, Apr. 28, May 4May 12, May 29, Jun 1,  Jun 11,  Jun 26, Nov. 20

Apr. 14, 1934 – Leader Post published a report on a WAA tea which featured a ceramic display and weaving demonstration at the home of Mrs. Henry Black. Apr. 7, Apr. 11,

May 3-6, 1934 – WAA holds a craft exhibition at the Glasgow House. May 4, May 5a, May 5b, May 7

May 21-31, 1934 – 80 paintings from RCA travelling exhibition are co-sponsored by the WAA and the Leader-Post at the Leader Post Building. May 19, May 21, May 25, May 26, May 28, May 29, May 30, May 31, Jun 1

July, 1934 – Regina Beach branch of WAA holds a fine arts & craft exhibition at St. Bartholomew Parish Hall, Regina Beach.  Announcement appeared Jul 10.  The Regina Beach Arts & Crafts Association was founded in 1933.  Its history can be found in Right to the Point: History of Regina Beach, online at  The history is very detailed, taken from recollections and from minutes of the club preserved up to the 1980s, when this local history was written.  It is a rare example of a published history of this type of club. Barbara Barber was a member of this club, as were others who lived there in the summer time and exhibited with the Women’s Art Association in the winter.

Sept 30, 1934 – WAA sponsors a tea at the home of Susan McLean to bid farewell to Mildred Thornton who moved to Vancouver.  Oct. 1

Oct.18-20, 1934, WAA sponsored exhibition of 40 Saskatchewan artists is shown alongside the travelling NGC watercolour show co-sponsored by the Leader-Post at the Leader-Post building. Boasts the largest attendance of any previous Regina art exhibition. See attached chart. This appears to have been the only Saskatchewan artists show this year as reference to the LCW’s show cannot be found in the newspapers. Oct. 5, Oct. 18,  Oct. 19, Oct. 23,

Oct. 27, 1934, Membership tea is held at the home of Susan McLean——————————

1935 – Business reports published Feb. 5, May 9

Mar. 1-2, 1935. WAA members sponsor a showing of antique crafts and new work at club rooms Feb.7, Feb. 28, Mar.2

May, 28, 1935 & May 29, 1935 RLP – Annual provincial meeting of WAA

First week of October, 1935, WAA Annual Provincial Artists exhibition in the Mitchell Block, see attached chart Oct.1, Oct. 2, Oct. 4, Oct.5

Mitchell building Regina WAA club rooms Mitchell Building in Regina, Contemporary photograph

Oct. 16, 1935.  Barbara Barber attends the annual meeting of the Women’s Art Association of Canada in Toronto and Saskatchewan’s report is singled out in the newspaper report in the Globe and Mail the next day. Barber reports that the Sask WAA has 1500 women members and nine affiliated societies (I assume this number refers to the total membership of all affiliated societies, as it is much larger than the actual membership of the WAA). The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society, which must also have been affiliated with WAA , is also singled out for its work with New Canadians reported on by Mrs.  F.G. Hopper. —————————————

1936 – Business reports Jan. 20, Jan. 22 SSP, May 16, Oct.3

May 6, 1936, WAA sponsored Exhibition of handicraft held at Hotel Saskatchewan

Oct. 7, 1936, Annual Saskatchewan Artists exhibition at the Regina Art Club rooms at the Mitchell Bldg., see attached chart Oct. 3, Oct. 5, Oct. 6, Oct. 8, Oct.9  ———————-

1937Apr.3 WAA business report

April 9, 1937, WAA sponsored handicraft exhibition at club rooms, Mitchell Bldg.  Several WAA members exhibit paintings, May Kenderdine, Harriette Keating, Laura Lamont, Jean Bell, Laura Fasken, Effie Martin, Mrs. Garnsey,  Everal Brown, Annie Darke and Mary Macgillivray and the Junior Sketch Club also has an exhibit convened by Jean Bell.  The WAA members’ paintings were likely sent on to Shaunavon and Assiniboia as both Club branches hosted exhibitions of Regina WAA in late April, early May. May 8

May 19, 1937, WAA Banquet and annual meeting at Kitchener Hotel, Regina. Mrs. Barber retires as president.  There are 300 members of the WAA SASK. May 15, May 20 and May 29. The reports were confusing as there are two different groups referred to in the newspaper as Art Associations.  I believe that the Regina Art Association, which was organized in 1933 as an affiliate of the WAA became more of a separate organization at this point.  In 1938 it appeared to turn into the Regina Arts and Crafts Society, an organization quite distinct from the Fine and applied Arts Guild of the WAA. ———————————————————————————–

1938Nov. 7 business report (Scroll down column to the bottom of Club notebook area).

Mar/April 1938 – 14 Paintings by WAA Sask members Barbara Barber, Harriette Keating, Laura Fasken, Laura Lamont, Eva Rossie and Effie Martin are sent to WAA Canada for an exhibition at the Lyceum Club.  Toronto-based critic Graham McInnes is not impressed by Saskatchewan’s women artists’ responses to their environment, although he had a good word to say about Barbara Barber. Mar. 15, Apr.8, 1938

Nov. 1938 – WAA Sask sends an exhibit of handicraft to the Toronto Winter Fair. Nov.7

Nov. 1938, WAA Regina members send 50-60 paintings to Moose Jaw for a show hosted by the WAA affiliated Allenby Club of Moose Jaw in a Moose Jaw store. Nov.17

1938, Dec. 17-18, WAA Fine & Applied Arts Guild member’s show at the Trading Company Building. This is the first time I ran across the term Fine and Applied Arts Guild.  This time period corresponds with the rise of the Regina Arts & Crafts Society, which seems to have been led by former convenors of the WAA Applied arts.  The Regina Arts & Crafts Society affiliated with the Canadian Handicraft Guild, while the WAA FAAG did not, so this may have been the cause of the formation of another organization. As in previous reorganizations, WAA members exhibited with their own organization and others like the Regina Arts & Crafts Society. Dec.17  ————-

Jan. 1939, WAA sponsors an annual Saskatchewan artists exhibition in Regina College Qu’Appelle Room.  A large contingent of Saskatoon artists contribute. Jan. 18, Jan.19, Jan. 20, Jan.21  ———————————————————————————————————————–

Mid April 1940 – Handicraft display at Saskatchewan Hotel. Moose Jaw WAA contributes to the exhibit. Apr. 18a, Apr. 18b

Dec. 14-15, 1940 WAA FAAG holds an exhibition of handicraft and paintings at Club Rooms, Trading Company Building. Dec. 12, Dec. 14  ————————————————————

Regina Trading Co. building 1921 Wrigley Directory drawing of Trading Company, Regina. The WAA had club rooms here in the 1930s

1941 – Business reports published Apr.28, May 13

Feb. 25-26, 1941, Exhibition of Saskatchewan art at Saskatchewan Hotel, distinguished by a display of sculpture from Regina sculptors and the Little Sculpture Group of Saskatoon. Feb.27, Feb.28, Feb.28b

April 1941 – Newly formed Arts & Crafts association in Prince Albert is affiliated with the WAA’s Fine & Applied Arts Guild committee.

May1-2, 1941 – Non juried exhibition of member paintings and display of handpainted china by Miss Edith Vandermade sponsored by above at the WAA club rooms in the Trading Co. Building. May 1, May 2

1941? – WAA Sask sends a handicraft exhibition to Toronto at the request of the Canadian Handicraft Guild for CNE, presumably ———————————————————————-

1942 – Business reports May 18, Apr. 13

May 18, 1942 – WAA sponsors a one day exhibition of the work of Harriette Keating in various local collections at Regina College to commemorate Keating’s work in Regina art circles before she leaves for Nelson, B.C. May 18

Jun, July 1942 – WAA curates a large exhibition of representative Saskatchewan artists (20) to send to the Calgary Fair during Stampede week. Calgary reviewers are not impressed.  Jun 23 RLP and Jul 6, 1942 Calgary Herald

1942, Last week of July – WAA arranges an exhibition of about 40 paintings and some old-time crafts for the special exhibition honouring pioneers of Regina in the Pioneer room of the Grandstand.  Included are landscape scenes of Regina area and portraits of old timers. Jul 28 ————————————————————————————————————

April 1943 – WAA and FCA Regina Branch host an exhibition of 8 Lawren Harris paintings at Regina College. Feb. 11, Mar. 22, Mar.29, Apr.1

May 1943 – WAA club members hold a display of their work at 1847 Scarth St. May 18, May 19

May – Board meeting, May 29

Nov. 1943 – At a board meeting, it is mentioned that 11 WAA members are connected to the FCA Regina branch. Nov. 6  ——————————————————————————

End of April, 1944, WAA handicraft exhibition, first in 4 years, at Hotel Saskatchewan. Collection of Ukrainian needlework, various personal collections and work of members. Apr. 20, Apr. 27, Apr. 28

May 25, 1944 – Fine and Applied Art Guild has a party. —————————————-

??????????????????????????????? Hotel Saskatchewan, Regina, opened in 1927.

Feb. 1-4, 1945, WAA sponsors a Saskatchewan art exhibition at Regina College, considerable contributions from across the province, special section showing the work of Reta Summers (Cowley) and her public school age students from Yorkton. The exhibition is said to be the first such event in five years, suggesting that there were no Saskatchewan art exhibitions sponsored by the WAA since the 1941 show . Jan.27, Feb.2, Feb.3

May, 1945. Plans for year, May 7, and honouring of Mrs. Barber, May 19

June, 1945 Display plans  Jun. 13 (scroll left).  Regina Beach WAA holds meeting. Jun 28 (scroll to left)

Oct. 25, 1945 Handicraft show includes work from Fort San and Moose Jaw in many materials  ———————————————————————————————————————-

Feb. 1946 – Online newspaper edition for February is missing, so not sure if there was a show this year.  ——————————————————————————————————

Apr. 9-12, 1947WAA Saskatchewan Art Exhibit at City Hall Auditorium.  Few names are mentioned in the review, other than members of the WAA, but sculpture was shown. Feb. 7, Mar. 11, Apr. 10 ————————————————————————————————–

1948 – New president for WAA, May 13

May 17-24, 1948 WAA Saskatchewan Art Exhibition at 1828 Scarth St.  More than 200 pieces of art work in all media and an extensive list of exhibitors.  This was one of the largest exhibitions that the WAA ever sponsored and I believe it was the last. May 18 (scroll down), May 20  —————————————————————————————————————————

Some time in the early 1930s the WAA began to maintain a sales gallery in the Hotel Saskatchewan.  There are several references to it but I am not sure if it was open all the time or just periodically.

WAA Presidents

Barbara Barber 1929-1931

Laura Fasken 1932 – 1934

Mrs. F. J. Wilson 1935-1936

Nellie McBeath 1937 –1939

Mrs. L. L. Dawson – 1939-1941 (she may have been Ethel Barr’s mother)

Barbara Barber – 1942-45

Eva Rossie – 1946-1948

Effie Martin – 1948 –


Crafts division

1936 convenor of handicrafts was Mrs. J.McKay Smith

1937  Mrs. E. C. Rossie or Miss E. Don Cathro, who in the following year (1938)was president of the Regina Arts & Crafts Society, which moved from the Mitchell building to the Northern Crown building at the end of 1937.

Crafts division referred to as Fine and Applied Arts Guild in 1938 and has moved to the Trading Co. Bldg. In 1938 it was a WAA committee convened by Mrs. R.N. Grant, possibly 1939/40, too.

Other Presidents/Convenors of the WAA Fine and Applied Arts Guild

1940/41 -Mrs. L.W. Whitaker & Mrs. J.L. Smith

1941/42- Mrs Whitaker and Mrs. William Allen (Moose Jaw)

1942/43 – Mrs. Whitaker and Mrs. Allen (Moose Jaw)

1943/44 Mrs. E.J. Kershaw

1944/45 Mrs. E. J. Kershaw

1947/48 Mrs. J. McKay Smith

This group doesn’t seem to have had any shows during the war and I cannot find it mentioned in the WAA events afterwards.


1941 Mrs. W. Yaeger was reported as in charge of the newly formed Prince Albert Arts and Crafts Club

1936 Moose Jaw WAA president was Mrs. N.R. Craig

1937 Assiniboia – Mrs. Ellis was president of WAA branch


The following charts chronicle who was in what annual Saskatchewan art show (indicated by underline in the text above) sponsored by the WAA in the years from 1930 to 1948. When you find a name and see the years the artist was mentioned, you can return to the yearly chronicle above and click on links that will take you to descriptions of the shows.  Sometimes there are discussions of the work of an artist and sometimes the name of an artist is simply part of a list of names. I have only listed the annual exhibits for which I could find newspaper reports. These charts do not include any craft shows sponsored by the WAA FAAG.

For further biographical information on individuals see my Biographical posts on women and men artists and club women artists.

Exhibition chart1

Exhibition chart2

Exhibition chart3

Exhibition chart4

Exhibition chart5

Exhibition chart6

© Lisa G. Henderson



Regina LCW Arts Committee Activities and Exhibition list

This post serves two purposes: outlining the activities and achievements of the Local Council of Women (LCW) Arts Committee and summarizing whose artwork was in the local group exhibitions they sponsored.

The National Council of Women of Canada was founded in 1893 and the Regina Local Council of Women was founded in 1895. The purpose of the local councils was to provide an umbrella organization in each community for women’s activist groups. Most of the initiatives of women’s groups were on pressing social issues like health and suffrage but the umbrellas grew wider as the Councils became more organized and powerful.  In many ways their organizations and structures mimicked the patriarchal ones which governed society prior to and after women won their suffrage.

As such, the committees were directed to serve the public good, although all of the work was done on a volunteer, not a paid basis.  So the President of a Local Council would be the equivalent of a mayor with a City Council, elected and responsible to both a local and a larger constituency.  The Fine and Applied Arts Committee of the Regina LCW was formed in January of 1920 to serve as a source of self-education for the members and also to raise the profile of the visual arts in the community.  They decided two major ways they could do that was by sponsoring exhibitions of art and collecting representative samples of it for the community.

Several other clubs in Regina, who were also affiliated with the Local Council, had their own separate program of activities but also bought art for public buildings as one of their good works.  The Women’s Educational Club, the Elgar Club and others arts oriented clubs appear in the newspapers as donors of various art works to one building or another in the city.  See the 2005 paper written by Dr. A. Leger-Anderson on Women’s Organizations in Saskatchewan online at  Although this does not touch on art much, it does give a very good explanation of the relationships between the LCW and other women’s clubs.

The best source on the relationship of women’s art clubs to the development of art in Saskatchewan is the Queen’s University Master’s thesis by Dr. Cheryl Meszaros: Visibility and Representation:  Saskatchewan Art Organizations prior to 1945. 1990. Unfortunately, it is not online.  Meszaros saw the LCW’s art committee as deserving of recognition “for providing a forum for the display and subsequently a measure of visibility for Saskatchewan art and artists, and for their role in acquainting the Regina public with art productions from outside the province.” (p. 58) She was particularly impressed by their self-education program in the history of art (p.57) but found that their lack of curatorial standards in mounting shows and their inability to present these shows outside Regina and into Saskatchewan and beyond meant that they could not satisfy artists in the province as a stand-in for an artist’s society.  For her, Saskatoon’s Art Club, founded in 1925 and, more importantly, the Saskatoon Art Association (1936-1963) provided the internal mechanism by which art in the province could be represented to the rest of Canada and therefore was a more significant organization for the development of art in Saskatchewan. (p.62-63)

Owing to the broad range of her thesis and it’s undeniable focus on Saskatoon art organizations, Meszaros did not  and could not provide a year by year picture of the Regina LCW art committee’s activities. Although, I, personally, would have known almost nothing about this organization without having her thesis to base this discussion on, I have decided to supplement her research with every newspaper article I could find on this organization, thereby giving a fuller picture of its activities and, in particular, the art shows the committee generated.

The Regina Local Council of Women’s Fine and Applied Arts Committee (1920-1930), superseded by the Arts & Letters Committee(1931-1950s), sponsored a number of solo shows in Regina and sometimes purchased work from the exhibiting artists between 1920-1945 for their own collection from monies gathered during the shows and other activities. Some pieces were donated to them or discounted   Although Mary Ella Dignam, founding president of the Women’s Art Association of Canada, had a solo exhibition in Regina in 1919,  her show predates the founding of the Fine and Applied Arts Committee by six months. But it probably was the impetus for the Regina LCW to establish a committee devoted to the visual arts. Along with the LCW committee’s annual exhibitions of Saskatchewan art from 1920-1945, the solo exhibitions of mainly Saskatchewan artists’ works were often the only time these artists were accorded such a spotlight on their work in their home province.

The Regina LCW Fine and Applied Arts Committee and its successor, the Arts and Letters Committee, collected a total of 23 works of art.  The intention of the LCW ALC and its predecessor, FAAC, was to build the basis of a collection of Canadian art for a future art gallery in Regina. The paintings were hung in the interim in the Regina Public Library and in various collegiates in the city and maintained by the Committee in pristine condition until they could be deposited in a purpose built art gallery.  When Norman Mackenzie died and left his own art collection to the University of Saskatchewan in Regina so it would build a gallery to house his collection, the LCW pledged its collection to the same purpose.  I will be posting a blog on art collecting and will deal with this matter in more detail there.

In 1931, the Fine and Applied Arts Committee (FAAC) was renamed the Arts & Letters Committee (ALC) and became more of a study group, the letters section concerned with studying Canadian literature and collecting historical documents and Indian artifacts of Saskatchewan for research purposes.  The re-formation of this committee was probably due to the formation in 1929 of the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan, which concerned itself with a multiplicity of art forms created by women, thereby taking over the function of providing applied art displays.  The LCW ALC was more interested in sponsoring painting displays than the former and so it was allowed more scope for studying the history of art and arranging exhibits of Saskatchewan painters.  Many of the women artists who had been with the LCW’s FAAC found it more satisfying to be with the WAA (a separate but affiliated organization under the umbrella of the LCW) and the two groups worked closely together to display Saskatchewan art works of all variety in the next 15 or so years.

Because of their expertise in organizing and mounting large exhibitions and hosting the openings, the LCW ALC became the go-to group in Regina when outside exhibitions started coming into the province.  They often organized the reception and arrangements for travelling exhibitions from various Canadian art organizations and the National Gallery.  Additionally, they assisted the Regina College U of S Art Department after 1936 as a kind of ladies auxiliary for exhibitions and lectures. 

I have organized the clipping links I’ve been able to gather in chronological order with a brief summary of each annual show and any other pertinent activities for that year. The annual LCW group shows were the biggest events and I have added charts in this post that show names of artists mentioned in the newspaper in the coverage of each year’s exhibit. Sometimes there is a description of the work they showed and other times they are just mentioned in the list of exhibitors.  In any case, check the names of the exhibitors and the years they exhibited and then click on the links to the specific year’s group show for more information about the work of individual artists. You can also find descriptions of LCW sponsored solo shows in the biography posts I have provided, as noted.

1918 – The LCW sponsors a handicraft exhibit, indicating interest among members for supporting local art exhibits. 

1919 – National Council of Women held a meeting in Regina and visiting Mary Dignam, head of the Women’s Art Association of Canada, exhibited paintings at Regina College on June 16. 

1920 -Oct. 28-30 The new Fine and Applied Arts Committee of the Regina Local Council of Women decide to hold a Group art exhibition of paintings owned by Reginans – Newspaper reports were glowing, somewhere between 100-130 paintings were shown at this first exhibition at Regina College, which focused on paintings in Regina collections. One thousand visitors came the first day and the exhibit was held over for another day to accommodate the demand.  They ran out of catalogues for the show.  Works by local artists like James Henderson, Fred Loveroff and ones with Regina relationships like Inglis Sheldon-Williams were part of the loan collections on display. Oct.9, Oct.23, Oct. 25, Oct.26, Oct.27, Oct.28, Oct.29a, Oct. 29b Morning Leader


May 19-21 – Indicating the desire of the committee to show paintings and other forms of art separately, this show featured china painting and was held at the Legislative Buildings. Mrs. Bertha Downes, Susan McLean and Barbara Barber were mentioned artists but there wasn’t much news coverage of this show. May 20, 1921 Morning Leader


May 11-12 – Solo exhibit of 30 paintings by Mary Dignam (national president of the Women’s Art Association of Canada) at Regina College.  May 10 Morning Leader

Jun 9 – A tea was arranged in June to fundraise for the two paintings that the LCW bought for their collection.

Oct. 12-14 – This group exhibition of 250 paintings was held at City Hall in the auditorium. It was referred to as an annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists, indicating that the show was expanding beyond Regina.  The show also included painted china. Sep.21, Oct.7, Oct.9, Oct.12, Oct.13, Oct.14a, Oct.16 Morning Leader, Oct. 23 article indicates paintings from this show were sent to Saskatoon for exhibition. 

PC002726 Regina City Hall 1930PC002726 – Regina City Hall in 1930


On Feb. 10, a tea was held in the home of Miss Beatrice Brown to raise funds for the LCW’s recently purchased Sioux Indian Head by James Henderson. Feb. 12,   

Mar. 28- Solo exhibit of a dozen paintings by Margaret Frame at Regina College. These were hung separately from a NGC travelling show which was also at the College. See the artist’s biography in Some Early Women artists in Regina post for link relating to this show. Mar.29 Morning Leader

May 18-19 – Solo exhibit of 25 oils and watercolour paintings by Inglis Sheldon-Williams along with a few portraits by Harriette Keating at Regina College. May 18, May 19 Morning Leader

Oct. 4 – Solo exhibit of the work of John T. Richardson in the Calder Block in a vacant store area. Silver collection was raised at the exhibition to pay for “The Orchard” the painting they wished to purchase.  Mr. Richardson advertised the sale of his paintings after the show was over from the same gallery. See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show.

Nov. 21 – 26, Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at City Hall. Paintings and china painting. Between 1300-1500 visitors.  $160.00 in the collection basket to help with the purchase of the FAAC’s fifth purchase of a painting. Nov. 21, Nov. 21b, Nov.22, Nov. 24, Nov.26 (scroll to left for Social and Personal column)


Jan.29 -The LCW announces its intention to have solo exhibits of paintings by Kenderdine and Henderson. It also seeks more information about the Canadian paintings sent to London for exhibition at Wembley. 

Feb. 15 – Three dozen members of the LCW FAAC are invited to a tea at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Norman Mackenzie.  Special guests are Saskatonians George(sic) Kenderdine and W.E.K. Middleton and Mrs. R.E. Middleton. The committee learned that Mackenzie had recently purchased Kenderdine’s Secret of the Storm and that the Monday Art Club of Moose Jaw had purchased a Kenderdine painting, When Winter Comes, for hanging in the Moose Jaw Public Library. Feb. 16 Morning Leader The LCW had requested that a selection of Kenderdine paintings be brought to Regina to plan an exhibition.  This proposed exhibit took place two years later but apparently they bought his painting The Vanguard at this meeting because it was hung in the library in early March of 1924.

Mar. 4 – Exhibition of weaving crafts by the Blind at the First Baptist Church. The committee also exhibits the painting collection that it owns at the same time. Mar.3 Morning Leader

June 4-5  Solo Exhibition of paintings by Harriette Keating at Regina College. See artist’s biography under Some Early Women artists in Regina post for links to this show.

Oct.18 Announcement of three exhibitions, Oct. 29 U of S intends to borrow Henderson paintings

Oct.30-Nov.1 Solo Exhibition of James Henderson paintings at Regina College. Oct. 31, Nov. 3 See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show.

PC013129 Regina CollegePC013129 Regina College in 1928

Nov. 20-21, Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at City Hall. 50 artists, including several out- of- towners included. Nov. 20, Nov. 21

Dec. 11- Solo exhibition and sale of paintings by F.M. Bell-Smith of Ontario at Regina College. Dec. 11 & Dec. 15 Morning Leader


Apr. 20-21 – Solo exhibition and sale of the paintings of Leonard Richmond at Clay’s Art Studio Apr.20, Apr. 21 Morning Leader

May 1-2. Exhibition and sale of wicker work by the Blind of Saskatchewan at the Trading Company Building

May 23. LCW FAAC issues a set of guidelines for their annual Saskatchewan exhibits to the press.  Limit of five paintings having been finished in the past three years for each artist. No paintings accepted that have been exhibited by the LCW in previous years.

May 27-29 – Solo exhibition & sale of the paintings of David Payne at Regina College. May 26, Morning Leader See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show. 

 Nov 2-7 – Annual Saskatchewan artists exhibition at City Hall. Includes the 8 paintings now owned by the LCW FAAC. Editorial in the Morning Leader comments upon the excellence of the work of Saskatchewan artists. Nov.2, Nov.5, Nov.8 (scroll to left slightly) Morning Leader

Dec. 2-3, Solo exhibition of 36 paintings by Mary Dignam and showing of a handicraft collection from the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society at Regina College. Nov. 28, Dec. 2 Morning Leader. 


Mar. 29-Apr.1, Solo exhibition of 50 paintings by Gus Kenderdine at Regina College.Mar. 22,  Mar 29Mar. 30, Apr.1  Morning Leader See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post. 

Apr. 18, New executive of LCW Fine and Applied Arts Committee announced.

May 7 – Under the auspices of the National Gallery of Canada and the Regina LCW FAAC Mr. Stewart Dick of London speaks to an assembled audience at Regina College on “Art’s Place in Life”

Jan 15 – At the annual meeting of the Regina LCW copies of Mrs. Bennett’s history of the local LCW over the past thirty years were distributed to members. Jan.14

Sep 30 – Solo exhibition of 50 watercolour paintings by Miss L.M. Smith of Hamilton, Ontario (art instructor at Mount Royal College, Calgary) are exhibited for the LCW members  and guests at the home of Mrs. Barbara Barber. Sep.25, Oct. 1 Morning Leader

Nov 3-8, Annual Saskatchewan artists exhibition at City Hall. $146.00 in the collection box and a number of artists sold their work.  A painting by Emile Walters, who, according to the reporter, had lived in Saskatoon for 15 years was contributed to the show by Mrs. A.M. Rothwell, the owner. Nov.2, (scroll to previous page) Nov.4, Nov.5a, Nov.6, Nov.9a, Nov.9b

Dec. 7-9 – Solo exhibition of 40 paintings by J.H. Lee-Grayson at Regina College. Dec. 7 Morning Leader See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show. 

1927 Jun 16-19 – Solo exhibition of more than 40 paintings by David A. Gibb, Canadian artist from Ontario, at the Hotel Saskatchewan. Jun 14 (scroll down to announcement) Morning Leader and this article from Jun 15 Regina Daily Post


Oct. 31-Nov. 5 –   Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at City Hall. The work of 50 artists in 200 pictures represented from all over the province. Illingworth Kerr’s paintings are slightly criticized in the press, unusual for Regina reviewer who never said anything negative about anybody.  The Regina Morning Leader writes an editorial thanking the LCW FAAC for their work. Nov.2, Nov.3a, Nov.3b, Nov.4, Nov.5 of Morning Leader and Oct.11, SP


Jan.26 – Particular mention of the LCW’s Fine and Applied Arts Committee’s report is made at the annual meeting of the Regina LCW.

Oct. 30-Nov 5 – Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at City Hall. Note is made of 30 watercolour paintings sent down by Fred Pye (formerly of Estevan) from Edmonton and of a sculpture piece from Saskatoon (Barnett). Oct.29, Oct.30, Nov.1, Nov.3  The show is briefly mentioned in Saskatoon newspaper Oct.30 and I have three photocopies of news items from the Regina Daily Post, Oct. 27, Oct. 30 and Oct.31 below. 


???????????????????????????????1928 LCW ex Daily Post21928 LCW ex Daily Post3???????????????????????????????

1929 – Meszaros’ thesis tells us that there was a fall show and work by 187 artists was in it, including 3 sketches by Tom Thomson and 50 by his brother George (p.53).  This suggests a Saskatoon connection because works by these two were then circulating in Saskatoon. (See my post on Saskatoon Art club) Her source was a Regina LCW archival file which I do not have access to.  I have been unable to locate reports of the show in the Leader-Post because the months of September and October, 1929 are missing in the Google News Archive.  The new Women’s Art Association also held a fall show in 1929 and no report of it is available in the Leader Post either.

1920-1928 LCW Annual Exhibitions

LCW 1920-28


Oct. 27- 31, annual Saskatchewan artists show in which W.G. Hazard’s Balfour Technical School and Regina College Summer School art classes were represented. Leonard Watson of Winnipeg (a former resident of Regina) had 12 etchings and Walter J. Phillips of Winnipeg sent several prints. Show included one sculpture sent by American Evelyn Longman, aunt of Mildred Valley Thornton.  Significant press coverage. Oct.25, Oct.27, Oct. 29a, Oct.29b, Oct.30, Oct.31 Leader Post


Jan. 21 – Part of the annual report of what is now the LCW Arts & Letters committee is published in the news, as is the club’s intention to study Newton McTavish’s recently published Fine Arts in Canada. Jan.30 Leader Post

Oct. 27-31 – annual Saskatchewan artists show has a significant contribution from out of province.  There are 50 paintings from students of A.C. Leighton at the Provincial School of Technology and Art in Calgary. W.G. Hazard and his Balfour Technical High School Students also contributed paintings and drawings. There was a total of 300 or more studies.  Leonard Watson, C.M. Gray and member of the Winnipeg Sketch Club of Winnipeg and Nicholas Grandmaison of Alberta also sent pictures.  Probably the largest exhibition that the LCW ALC ever handled.  Significant press coverage. Oct.27, Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Oct.30, Oct.31 Leader Post


May 25-27 LCW hosts a travelling exhibit from the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers at a vacant store 1935 Scarth St.  96 works by 28 artists. May 25, May 27 Leader Post

May 31 – a report of an LCW Arts & letters committee meeting where Mrs. Franklin Turnbull spoke on the National Gallery of Canada

Nov 1-6 Annual Exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at City Hall.  Regina Sketch Club sent 40 works. Also A.C. Leighton of Alberta sent 40 and Fred Cross of Brooks, Alberta sent two in addition to works from across the province.   Nov.1, Nov.4, Nov.5 Leader Post


Jan 16 – LCW Arts & Letters Committee presents their collection of Indian beadwork to the Dept. of Public Works for the provincial museum in the Legislature. A case is provided for them in the legislative library.  The minister uses the occasion to request donations to the provincial collection of native historical artifacts and other items of historical importance.  The list of items that the LCW presented is in this Star Phoenix article from Jan. 17.

Apr 11-15 – Travelling exhibition from the National Gallery of Canada of 240 Contemporary British Prints is hosted  & hung  by the LCW at Darke Hall, Regina College.  Mar.29, Apr. 4, Apr.10, Apr.12, Apr.13, Leader Post

Oct. 30 – LCW Arts & Letters Committee announces  in the Leader Post that they have put labels on the sixteen paintings they now own, currently on display at the Regina Public Library

Nov. 2-4 – Annual Saskatchewan Artists Exhibition held at City Hall. Large contingent of artists and well covered in the press.  Mentioned in Saskatoon newspaper.Nov. 3 SSP, Oct. 24Nov.2, Nov.3, Nov.4 Leader Post


May 15-21 – LCW co-sponsors with the Leader Post a travelling exhibition of Punch cartoons arranged by the National Gallery of Canada. Fifty years of Punch magazine’s humour is represented by 175 pictures. The show takes place on the first floor of the Leader Post Building. May 11, May 15 (cannot link to issue, see p.7), May 16.

No annual show reported for 1934 in the LCW reports held in Ethel Barr’s papers and I could find no reference in the Leader Post.


Jan.17 – The Arts & Letters committee reports to the Regina LCW

Oct. 29 – Nov. 2- Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists held at Regina College.  Alberta artists A.C. Leighton, Annora Brown and Nicholas Grandmaison show alongside artists from as far away as Prince Albert. Oct.28, Nov.1.


Oct. 19-24, Exhibition of work of James Henderson in the Qu’Appelle room of Regina College. Eighty paintings are displayed. Several are sold. WEC of Regina buys Sunset Glow, Winter for Regina College and mention is made that the WEC already owns a portrait of Chief Weasel Calf (Sioux Indian) by Henderson. The LCW decides to purchase a third Henderson for its collection The Harbour (Cambrae Island) This solo exhibition takes the place of their annual Saskatchewan artists exhibition this year. See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show. Oct.16, Oct.17, Oct.28, Oct.29, Leader-Post

Oct. 29 – The LCW announces that Mrs. W. J. Cameron has taken on the task of writing a history of the Regina LCW updating the 1926 version by Mrs. Bennett.


Jan. 20 – Regina LCW annual meeting report includes a section on the Arts & Letters Committee.

May 31-June 5, Exhibition of 40 paintings by John T. Richardson at Stewart’s Gallery on Hamilton Street. (in aid of clearing up his inventory) See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show.

Nov 16-22, Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at Regina College. Press coverage indicates there was a large section of Kenderdines at the exhibition.  He was the new director of the Regina School of Art located at Regina College. Nov.17, Nov.18, Nov. 19, Nov.20 Leader Post.


Nov 1 – 6, Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at Regina College.  The press coverage is sparse for this one but there were 76 paintings in the exhibition.  Members of the art class at Balfour Tech contributed work to the exhibition. Nov.1,  Nov.2, Nov.3 Leader Post

1930-1938 LCW Annual Exhibitions

lcw 1 1930-38lcw2 1930-38


Jan 18  – At the LCW’s annual meeting Mrs. Cameron delivered her survey of the activities of the LCW over the past 12 years from 1926.

Oct 30- Nov 6 – Annual exhibition of Saskatchewan artists at Regina College.  The work of 27 artists is displayed. Oct.31, Nov.2, Nov.3, Nov.4,


Apr. 2-7, Solo exhibition of paintings by Illingworth Kerr at Regina College.  Garnet Hazard writes a review of his work which appears in the editorial page of the newspaper.  See artist’s biography under Some early men artists of Saskatchewan post for links relating to this show.

1940, Nov. 20-25, Annual Exhibition of Saskatchewan Artists at Hotel Saskatchewan, Canadian room. 60 paintings by mainly Saskatoon and Regina artists. Nov.20, Nov.22 Leader Post

1941 Apart from one report on club activities on Jan. 18, I have been unable to find any reference to LCW art committee’s art shows or projects this year. Regina College was used for the war effort in 1941 and perhaps this curtailed any public exhibitions.


Jan. 18 – Annual LCW meeting report features doings of Arts Committee.

Jan.30 – Byzantine Art is studied by LCW Arts Committee

Sep.30 – Lamont speaks on picture appreciation

Oct.19 – Study session on the techniques of painting

Nov. 27- Dec.5 Annual Exhibition of Saskatchewan Artists at the Trading Company Building. Most of the artists reviewed are women artists from Regina Nov.27, Nov.28


Jan 24 – LCW reports that Mrs. W.J. Cameron has updated the history of the organization from 1925 to 1940 and that Mrs. Barr will become the archivist in the future. Executives of committees are announced.  Jan.25

Mar.22 – Study session on Canadian art

Apr.29 – LCW arts and letters committee plans Canadiana shelf at library

Nov 4-Nov 7 – Annual Exhibition at Regina College.  Most of the artists are from Regina. Nov.5, Nov.6 Leader Post


Jan. 18 – Mrs. Barr reports to the Regina LCW on the doings of the Art Centre association that she convenes.

Mar 7-8, Solo exhibition of paintings by Margaret Frame at Regina College, co-sponsored with the WAA. Still life, portrait and Saskatchewan landscape scenes. This is the last solo show the LCW sponsored. See artist’s biography under Some Women Artists in Regina post for link to this show.

May 26,  Progress report from LCW arts committee published.

Nov. 2-8  Annual Saskatchewan Artists Exhibition sponsored under the auspices of the newly formed Regina Federation of Artists was a juried exhibition, adjudicated by A.Y. Jackson. Many of the Federation of Artists members were members of women’s art organizations.  The LCW Arts & Letters Committee was actively involved but was not credited with sponsoring this exhibition, although they obviously gave up their exhibition slot for this effort. Nov.3 (scroll to right), Nov.4 (scroll to left), Nov.6 Leader Post


June 21– LCW Arts & Letters Committee assisted with a large public school art show

In October of 1945 the Regina Local Council of Women was celebrating its 50th anniversary and the arts committee contributed to the celebrations. Oct.13, Oct.16

Nov 6-10, Annual Exhibition at Regina College. Most of the artists are from Regina but Hilda Stewart of Saskatoon contributes.  At the opening a survey is made of the twenty-five years of art exhibitions sponsored by the LWC Arts & Letters Committee, their assistance to the University with travelling exhibitions into the city and mention is made of their collection of 23 paintings hanging in the Regina Public Library.  This exhibition appears to be the last one initiated by the LCW Arts & Letters Committee. Nov.8, Nov.9, Nov.10

1939 to 1945 LCW Annual Exhibitions

LCW 1939-1945

The green shade in the heading Nov. 1944 indicates that the exhibition that year was not actually sponsored by the LCW Art Committee. It was a Federation of Canadian Artists Regina Branch Saskatchewan group exhibition.  However, since they only held one exhibition of this type before 1950, I have included it in the names list here.  See my post on other Regina art groups for more information about this group.


Jan 14  Announcement of Annual meeting and banquet of the LCW where local life members of the National Council of Women and the Local Council are named. Jan. 16 Mrs. Barr’s progress as archivist. Jan. 16b Reports and new life memberships announced.

Jan.21 Educational meeting of Arts & Letters committee


Feb. 8 – An invitation for all Canadian women artists to submit work to the Canadian National Council of Women for an art show to be held in Riverside Museum, New York from Apr 28 – May 18, 1947 appears in the Regina Leader Post.  Only 50 works will be chosen by the independent jury. According to a report for this year, the local committee did not act on this, as they felt there wasn’t enough warning given to organize and get the pictures to Toronto.

Apr 24– Announcement in the Regina Leader Post that Everal Brown has had a painting accepted for the art exhibition in Toronto at the Wakunda Art Centre.  These were some of the better paintings that were not chosen to go to the New York exhibition at Riverside but were given an exhibition in Toronto. Her painting was called Mixed Flowers.  536 paintings were submitted.  The jury chose 75 for New York and 178 for the exhibition in Toronto.

May 19 – Announcement that Prince Albert-based Agnes V. Warren is the only provincial artist whose work was chosen to be in the exhibition of Canadian Women Artists at Riverside Museum in New York.

Jun 10-14 The Regina LCW hosts the National Council of Women’s annual meeting.  Souvenirs in the form of Saskatoon pottery are given to the visiting delegates.  The Arts & Letters Committee arranges an exhibition of arts and crafts and books by Saskatchewan authors for the convention.  No mention in newspaper of who was exhibiting. Representing the Regina arts groups are Mrs. Everal Brown for the Arts & Crafts Society, Nellie MacBeath for the Women’s Art Association, Mrs. Ethel Barr for the Regina Art Centre and Mrs. Annie Darke for the Federation of Canadian Artists, Regina Branch. Jun 7 SSP, Jun 10, Leader Post


May 1 – A request from the Arts & Letters Committee of the Regina LCW appears in the Regina Leader Post asking for books and documents created in Saskatchewan for historical archives in the libraries of Regina.  The Letters section of this committee had concerned itself with this project for some time.


Mar.24 – LCW arts committee arranged for Elsie Dorsey, art supervisor of public schools,  to address the LCW at City Hall

Apr.2 – The Star-Phoenix publishes an announcement that the Canadian Women’s Art Exhibition sponsored by the NCW and  previously shown in New York City opens in Saskatoon at the Art Centre. No follow up commentary that I can find.

Apr. 27 – An announcement is made in the Leader-Post about the Canadian Women’s Art Exhibition sponsored by the NCW being displayed at Eaton’s in Regina.  No follow up to this that I could find. Although, an announcement for the show appeared within the Eaton’s department store ad the same day.

What does not appear in this list is all the study sessions the Arts & Letters Committee undertook. They often picked a theme and studied it at their monthly meetings.  The Arts section met separately from the Letters section in these circumstances as they were studying different things.  Also, I have not included all situations where the LCW acted as an auxiliary hosting group for the University of Saskatchewan’s Regina School of Art with travelling exhibitions after 1936.

Later references to the activities of the LCW Arts & Letters Committee

1955, Aug.4 – The Arts & Letters Committee of the Regina Council of Women organized a special exhibition of women artists’ work for the Golden Jubilee of Saskatchewan which was shown at the fair in Regina.

1978 Jun 24 The Rosemont Gallery curated a show featuring pioneer art groups in Regina, including references to the LCW Arts & Letters Committee. Again, this was to commemorate a celebration, Regina’s 75th anniversary as a city.

LCW Arts committee chairs/conveners

1920-21 Mrs. F. W. Tanner

1922-1928/29? Mrs. Fred (Barbara) Barber

Chair 1930-32 Mrs. A. B. McGill

Chair 1933-35 Mrs. Lorne (Evelyn) Johnson

Chair 1936-37 Mrs. G.C. Cushing

Chair 1938-39   Mrs. G.H. (Ethel) Barr

Chair 1940-43 Mrs. E.W.G. (Jean) Bell

Chair 1944 –47 Mrs. R. J. McDonald

Chair 1948 – 1950s Mrs. G.H. (Ethel)Barr


© Lisa G. Henderson, 2014




Photography and Film in Saskatchewan 1900-1950

This is, by necessity, a sketch of some photographic stories from the era.

Photographs of the territory in which Saskatchewan now lies were taken many years before 1900 but it is my purpose here to talk about photographers who lived in Saskatchewan and were mentioned in the newspapers. Information about early photographs of Saskatchewan territory can be found in one of the many books written about the history of photography in Canada and on websites devoted to the topic of early Canadian photography.  For more information about early Saskatchewan photographers look for anything written by Brock V. Silversides, a Saskatchewan historian of photography.

Photographs taken by early photographers (professional or amateur) were rarely printed in the newspapers and the photographers themselves were not mentioned much at all.  However, one place you can find names of photographers year after year is in the prize lists of local fairs. Generally, photography competitions were confined to amateur photographers but in the early years of Saskatoon and Regina, professional photographers sometimes showed their work at the fair or even entered competitions. I have chosen some early examples to illustrate this but you could look at the prize lists for every year to compile a list of prominent amateur photographers in either centre. In the 1930s curated photography exhibitions were shown at the fairs and local clubs put on their own exhibitions there and at other venues.

The first mention I find of local photography appears in a report on the 1890 Regina fair in which the author comments upon the fine photographic work of W.F.B. Jackson, who then had a studio in Regina.  See: for an example of his portrait work.

The Territorial Exhibition of 1895 apparently had a photographic section for display in which the farm photographs of H.B. Spring-Rice are singled out for mention (scroll left from link).  A. Covington appears as a prize winner for Amateur Photography in the prize list. His name appears in the 1899 prize list too, along with a couple of other people.  In 1901 I see the first mention of a woman photographer showing a collection of “snapshots of the north west.” She was Mrs. N.F. Davin, the wife of the Leader’s former editor. According to Davin’s entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, his wife in 1901 was the former Eliza Jane Reid of Ottawa.

It is clear from this list that there were a lot of professional and amateur photographers at work in Saskatchewan from the earliest days and that they liked to show their work at the annual fair. In fact, in 1911 the prize lists differentiate between amateur and professional photography. J.R.C. Honeyman dominates the amateur prizes.  Honeyman was later known as a librarian at the Regina Public Library. The professional prize list is small and only two people are mentioned: Lewis Rice of Moose Jaw and Edgar C. Rossie of Regina, Rice being the first prize winner in the category.  Fortunately, there is an essay of art criticism written by William Trant, journalist and lawyer and Regina city magistrate, in which he mentions the two photographers (unnamed) so you can see what he thought of their work near the end of his thoughtful article on what constituted the art section of Saskatchewan’s only Dominion Agricultural Exhibition.

In later exhibitions the amateur photography exhibits become larger and more non-local people entered them, sometimes winning the majority of prizes. See for example: 1915. Sometimes art exhibitions didn’t appear at the fair, as in 1918 at Regina when there was no building to show them in because of a fire the year before.  There was a novel photographic exhibit in 1920 because the surveys division of the Saskatchewan Department of Highways provided the first aerial photographs ever taken of the province for display.

Exhibitions of art in Saskatoon fairs were hindered in the early years by inadequate facilities which really did not improve until 1928 when a new grandstand with larger display space was built. However, I have found some interesting tidbits about early photographers at the fair, despite the fact that many dates are missing from the early years of the Phoenix in the Google News Archive and many of the early winners in the competitions were from out of town.

In 1904 a Miss Dunn won a special prize for her amateur photographs. Intriguingly, in the 1908 prize list for artwork there are three ladies named in the photography section, Mrs. Burbeck, Mrs..J.J. Johnson and Mrs. J.J. Burbeck (the latter possibly a typo). In 1914 I find W. Lynwood Farnham and H.W. Hewitt winning first prizes for their photography in various categories and J.W. Stringer winning a special prize.  In the commentary on the art gallery that year there is further mention of W. Lynwood Farnham.  Years later, I found a news item on Lynwood Farnham in the Star Phoenix – Nov. 21, 1930.

W. Stringer appears in the prize list again in 1915, along with C.B. Rackstraw who also shows up in the following year, 1916, alongside Mrs. Charles Ramsey.  These two dominated the prize lists in 1917, too. These lists give names but commentary on the photographs is hard to find.  It is easier to find descriptions of professional photography companies who may have set up commercial booths at the fair.

There were quite a number of amateur and professional women photographers in the early days, the most famous of Saskatchewan’s pioneer female photographers now is Geraldine Moodie, wife of a Mountie, who set up studios in places like Battleford and Maple Creek before and around 1900.  She would qualify as a professional but she never seems to have been mentioned in the Regina or Saskatoon newspaper. You can read a short bio and see a bibliography at one of my favourite websites, Concordia University’s Canadian Women’s Art History Initiative: There are a lot of images by her on various web sites as her practice was not confined to Saskatchewan.

In 1919 Steele’s Photo Studio had a display in the Industrial area, the first time I saw reference to professionals, although many photographers advertised businesses in Saskatoon prior to then. There is another brief report on their participation in the fair.  July 24, 1929

There is a 1950s article  in the Star-Phoenix that talks about the history of the Steele Studio in Saskatoon (opened c. 1918) on the occasion of its closing and I found a short advertisement for Charmbury’s studio in 1945 and a mention of prize winning photos in 1948.  Charmbury’s was another vintage studio, as was Henry Thams’ Studio in Saskatoon.

I’m including here some small clippings that feature ads for various photographers who had businesses in Regina and Saskatoon in the early days.

???????????????????????????????     ???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????  ???????????????????????????????

1904 Dill ad Stoon  1903 Dill studio opens SSP

Interestingly enough, ads appeared in both the Regina and Saskatoon papers in 1927 featuring photography companies in both cities so you can see who lasted or who replaced the earlier photography companies.



1929 R Dill ad  1929 Hillyard ad for special SSP

1918 Townsend photography full page ad

1930 Hollywood photo studio & WAA talk

1955 Dick Bird photo studio ad

Stories about these photographers are pretty much non-existent in the early newspapers. I have only found one brief one about Ralph Dill, for example, who was a photographer in Saskatoon for a very long time.  However, recently I found a substantial article on him on the occasion of his retirement.  Ads for his photography studio appear from 1903 on. Someone else who was in Saskatoon that year was William James, a photographer who is associated with the early days of Prince Albert. There  are a number of photographs by Dill on the Internet. See the Saskatoon Public Library’s digital collection at:*&MR=20&RF=www_Canned%20Searches&QB1=AND&QF1=THUMBNAIL_IMAGE&QI1=*

There is a short biography of Ralph Dill of Ralph Dill (1876-1948) on Archives Canada website . The 1912 postcard by Dill I have on this blog was borrowed from Peel’s Prairie Province’s digital postcard collection. # PC002847 because I have not seen any Dill photos in the Saskatoon newspaper. It shows Nutana Collegiate and Victoria St. Bridge (no longer passable).

PC002847 Nutana 1912

The only Regina photographer who got a lot of press was Dill’s contemporary Edgar Charlotte Rossie.  I know that studies of the careers of Dill, James and Rossie have been done but since E.C. Rossie was a bit of a Regina celebrity and one of its earliest film makers, I’m going to focus on him because there are articles and newspaper photographs to look at, including a caricature of him which appeared in the 1913 Morning Leader, drawn by Regina’s John McNaughton. And what’s an essay about photography without some visual images? Fortunately, Peel’s Prairie Provinces has digitized some old postcards for capture which furnished examples of the work of some of these early photographers.


I found the earliest of his newspaper photographs in 1907, a picture of a train wreck, and there was a little commentary indicating that the newspaper was very impressed with his ingenuity.


In 1907 the Morning Leader reported that he had done a portrait group of the new city council. (Scroll to the left and down the column) That may relate to an incident referred to in my Odd Stories section.  And in 1908 he exhibited a large photograph of the Normal School staff surrounded by graduating students in Duncan’s drug store.  I found this  news item quite interesting as I just happen to own the 1908 year book for the Regina Normal School which has some lovely photos in it and I realize now he was probably the uncredited photographer for that booklet.  A family member also had a copy of the photograph mentioned in the news article so here’s a copy of a Rossie original: 1908 Normal school grads Colleen1cropped                                                                                               I found another photograph credited to him in the 1913 Leader, a fascinating view of a lost era.


But more interesting are the reports of his film making which he undertook in 1913 after some sponsored training.  Films were then new to the Regina audience and it was very thrilling for them to see images of themselves or people they knew on the silver screen. (Judging by what’s on YouTube today, it’s still pretty thrilling.) There is this initial showing of his films at the Roseland Theatre in Regina to a private audience and then more information a week later when they were shown to the general public. This still image below advertising a film he took of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police at their Regina training depot shows multiple Mountie uniforms.


Another tantalizing reference to his film making comes in 1914 when he was commissioned to make a film of foreign born children in Wroxton, Saskatchewan. He was also hired by the city to make a set of 24 slides of Regina and vicinity for publicity purposes that year.  One wonders whatever happened to these and other projects he undertook.  Curiously, there isn’t much of an archive although there are papers and material related to him in the Saskatchewn Archives in Regina.  In 1919 a profile of him with a photo he probably took of himself appears in the Morning Leader.  It is a supplement of the newspaper devoted to introducing Rotary Club members and it is likely that Rossie took many of the other photographic portraits on these pages. I cannot link to the page he appears on but if you scroll over to the next page from this link, you’ll find him.

Then of course there is his obituary. He died March 13, 1942 at the age of 66 and this basically tells you his story.

Rossie was very enthusiastic about the formation of a Regina Camera Club according to this 1909 article. But it seems that when the club was organized the following spring, he was not listed on the executive and may not have even been involved when it came together in Apr. 5, 1910

This latter article indicates the names of a number of amateur photographers in Regina and you can see that Woodrow Van Valkenberg was a member.  He was an early photographer who also made his own postcards, sold at his store. I was lucky enough to run across a photograph of this man in the newspaper when his death was announced so you can read what little there is known about him in this article. PC002765 Government house Regina

PC0002765 Peels’ Prairie Postcards

Frank Thompson, the  first president is briefly profiled in the 1910 Camera Club article and another member, William Lythe, is a man whose name is associated with being in charge of art exhibitions at the Regina fair and a member of the Camera Club in the 1930s.

The Regina Camera Club had quite an ambitious program although I am not sure how long it lasted. I found two reports, one in 1911 when it is mentioned as meeting at its new quarters in the YMCA building and as providing weekly photo talks and another in 1913 when the venue had changed to the Public Library. There are brief reports on their bi-weekly meetings until the end of May and then there is nothing that I could find.  Like many organizations, this one probably succumbed to the exigencies of World War I.

Although a new photo club was formed in Regina in 1925 called the YMCA Regina Camera Club. Like the earlier one, I didn’t find anything more until several years later in 1934 when an announcement appeared about the Camera club members sending photos to an International Photo Salon (Sep. 20, 1934). They held their own first salon later that year apparently occasioned by the fact that  a set of 12 photos from the club had won third prize at the International Photo Salon in Turin, Italy.  Duplicates of some of those photos and collections from the Winnipeg and Brandon Camera Clubs, as well as Victoria and Toronto were included in the three-day Regina salon.  The membership of the club and details about the winning photos are included in several articles (Nov. 28, Nov. 29, Nov. 30 1934) because the press gave this show extensive coverage and even featured this art photo in the newspaper.

1934 Regina YMCA Camera Club3 cropped

There may have been other shows mounted by the Camera Club prior to this but the only photography show I found announced was in 1926 when Leslie G. Saunders, Beatrice Brown and W.E. Knowles Middleton mounted a showing of their pictorial style photos at Regina’s Public Library in the middle of June, 1926. No mention was made of any relation to the Camera Club. Dr. (Les) Saunders was a biology professor at the University of Saskatoon and a very active exhibitor of his photos for decades in Saskatchewan.  Beatrice Brown was the daughter of Annie Barr Brown (wife of former Lieutenant-Governor G.W. Brown).  Beatrice was active with Regina art groups in the early 1920s before moving to California.  W.E. Knowles Middleton was then a student at the University of Saskatchewan who went on to become a prolific writer on the science of meteorology. In the late 1920s, however, he was an active exhibitor of photographs.  (

There is a brief mention of the work of Evelyn Spice in a very short article published in 1938.  Evelyn Spice Cherry figures in the history of the National Film Board as a film maker from Saskatchewan. Then there is this mention of a Regina photographer winning fame for a photo he took that appeared in Life Magazine.  And a surprise was finding an article announcing the formation of Prince Albert’s first Camera Club in 1938.

There were a number of lecturers visiting Regina to talk about photography.  And about 1943 several mentions of the Camera Club appear indicating it was active until at least the end of World War II. Other Regina Camera club articles I found: Aug. 1, 1939, Apr.18, 1940, Feb. 25, 1943, Apr. 1, 1943 and Oct. 4, 1945 and Jan. 9, 1946 when the Camera Club was part of the Regina Art Centre Group.

Marcell Seidler, a Jewish refugee from Vienna, Austria, spent a short sojourn in Regina. As a European trained photographer, Seidler gave a series of lectures to the Regina Camera Club in the early part of 1943 (above).  He also exhibited sculpture works in Regina College with Mrs. Basterfield. Marcell and his younger brother Harry spent some time in Canada, as Harry attended the University of Manitoba, studying architecture.  In 1945 he left Winnipeg and went to Harvard to continue his studies in architecture.  After graduating, he joined his wealthy parents and his brother Marcell in South Australia.  Marcell was known as a photographer in Australia but his brother became very famous there for introducing modern architectural principles into Australia.

Although mentions of film making in Regina are few and far between, I do wonder whatever happened to Rossie’s films and these other Saskatchewan made films I found reference to in the early newspapers:

July 18, 1921 – W.H. Bird of Pathoscope Co. filmed the Saskatoon fair, a Boy Scout Camp at Katepwa Beach and the investiture of Newlands as lieutenant governor in Regina  for the Government of Saskatchewan.  In 1923 W.H. Bird, now of Regina Films Ltd. filmed the Regina fair.

I don’t know if he was related to Dick Bird who had a  photo studio in Regina for many years and was known as a nature film maker. See bio at   A well-known lecturer, Dick Bird gave a presentation to the Regina Arts and Crafts Society Feb. 1941

Aug. 8, 1933 – Two hour film Scenic and Industrial Saskatoon sponsored by the Cosmopolitan Club of Saskatoon and shown at the Summer Fair. No maker is mentioned.

In July of 1937 Ted Davis of Prince Albert’s Daily Herald made a colour film of activities at the Emma Lake Art Camp and then showed the film in Regina at a reunion dinner

Nov. 10, 1945 – Two Regina men were reported as involved in filming The True Glory, feature documentary film shown at the Metropolitan Theatre.

Fred Bard of the provincial Natural History Museum was an all round artist who made films and showed them to local audiences. Apr. 3, 1943

I also ran across an early item related to the Yorkton Short Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in Canada. Fred Bard won a prize that year.

Few professional photographers maintained their entire archive as they had to make room over the years for newer photos and photos made by newer technologies.This 1943 story from the Star-Phoenix tells what might have happened to a lot of old newspaper photo cuts during World War II when there was a need for zinc, the material the cuts were made from.  It is a sad story since newspapers often kept archives of old photo cuts long after the negatives or paper prints had been discarded by the photographer. There is a photo illustration that appears in the 1940 Star-Phoenix which has a short description about how cuts were made.


While Ralph Dill is arguably the best-known photographer from the very early days of Saskatoon photography, there were others that I came across by accident, not referenced in the newspapers.  Archie D. Woods was a photographer in Saskatoon (active 1905) and his wife was the first Saskatonian to advertise her painting classes in the young town. He didn’t turn out to be much of a rival for Ralph Dill and moved to British Columbia where he took up farming.  His wife may have worked for him as a retoucher and colourist.  My great grandfather, a Moose Jaw dentist, was in Saskatoon in 1905 visiting his in-laws and while he was there he had his portrait taken by Archie Woods.  As you can tell by the photo, Woods didn’t even have pre-made signature cardboard mounts and wrote Woods Studio on the frame himself. My great grandfather was then 31 years old and he already had white hair, a family curse, but also sported what is now a cool hipster moustache.

DD Ross 1905

The Saskatoon Public Library’s Local History Room has a wonderful digital archive of early photos of Saskatoon and it is searchable by many access points, including the category “Photographers.” Here you will find photos filed under the names of Ralph Dill, Benjamin Skewis, Peter McKenzie and other early Saskatoon photographers and studios, although few files contain biographies.  Several of these names also appear in the digital archive of Prairie Postcards created by the Peel’s Prairie Provinces digital project.

Undoubtedly, there were others but I haven’t found their ads yet. They didn’t figure in any articles before 1920 that are accessible on the Google News Archive.

I am providing a direct link to the Saskatoon public Library’s digital biography of Len Hillyard and exhibition of 24 photographs here.

Hillyard had a studio in Saskatoon from 1913 to 1974 and is arguably the city’s most well known professional photographer from the 1920s until into the 1960s.  He also seems to have had a relationship with the Star-Phoenix because he photographed events for them at different times.

Since there are some interesting photos by him in the newspaper, I have included a couple of them. This unusual photograph of the Bessborough Hotel first appeared in the Star Phoenix in 1936 and then I found it again in 1955 in the special Jubilee edition, an example of how a photo cut was reused many years later.


An article explaining how Hillyard captured this image of Saskatoon’s now iconic Bessborough Hotel can be found here.  And below, a more typical photograph shot from the top of the Bessborough Hotel, I assume.


In the summer months of 1932 and 1933 the Regina Leader-Post held a photo contest for amateurs, printing the photos of the winners of several categories in a series of weekly articles throughout the summer. Aug. 2, 1932Sep. 2, 1932,  Jul. 21, 1933Sept. 16, 1933 are the ones I selected but winner photographs were published in every Friday’s (sometimes Saturday’s) paper during the contest . It is interesting, not only to see how the photographers tackled local subject matter, but also because the winners’ lists name a lot of talented amateurs living in the vicinity of Regina.

It was also personally fascinating for me because one of the consistent winners was Henry Schroyen, who married my mother’s aunt. I had little idea of his life but in 1933 he rated a full scale article in the Regina Leader Post. Oct. 19, 1933 Snapshot Wizard.  In the images I saw my mother’s uncle Clifton Heglin, Henry’s brother-in-law – he is the little boy facing the legislative buildings in “Sunset.” Clifton moved to Victoria, B.C. with his parents in 1943 and later operated a professional photo studio there called Chevron Studios and Henry apparently worked in photo studios for a while in Victoria, too, as he was still winning photo contests in the early 1950s. No wonder all the photos from that side of the family are superior to the usual snaps.

However, surely the most talented and best known amateur (in the sense that he made his living as a biologist) in Saskatchewan during this time was Saskatoon’s Dr. Leslie G. Saunders. Very active in the Saskatoon arts community from the 1930s on, he was a member of the Saskatoon Camera Club and the Saskatoon Art Association, even serving as president on occasion. As an associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he was a regular exhibitor of his photographs, locally and abroad, and he was also known for his watercolour painting.

Despite Saunders having exhibited in Regina in 1926, I haven’t found an earlier reference to his exhibiting photographs in Saskatoon other than in 1927 and Apr. 7, 1931, and 1932 with the Saskatoon Art Association. In Aug. 1935 he showed both his photographs and watercolours in Tyrie’s Art Shop in Saskatoon. From then on his shows are frequently announced. Dec. 14. During this period Saskatoon audiences were viewing large photographic collections sent from Britain (May 12, 14, 16, 1934), the National Gallery of Canada in 1935 at the Summer Fair and in 1937 at Convocation Hall.  Soon after the 1937 Third Salon of Photography moved out of Convo Hall to occupy a space in a downtown building for a while, Leslie Saunders’ 65 photos were hung in their place. Mar. 11, 1937. Saunders’ show appears to have moved over to the Saskatoon Normal School in late April where it was probably shown during teacher meetings.

Saunders’ name can also be found in the exhibition lists I have compiled and you can read what reviews of his work appeared in the papers by looking for the year’s exhibition dates on the Saskatoon Art Association exhibition List.

Saunders gave a slide show and talk to the Lion’s Club in Mar. 1938, the Kiwanis club in Mar. 1939

In the Regina paper  it was announced that one of Saunders’ photographs was hung in Ottawa at the International Canadian Photo Salon in Oct of 1939 RLP and that the show was scheduled to come to Regina.

This artist has been written about in exhibition catalogues which you can probably find yourself. I’m pretty sure he was the inspiration for the formation of the Saskatoon Camera Club.  So it would seem that three city camera clubs can be found to be most active in the late 1930s, Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert. The Mendel gallery website has a history of the Saskatoon Camera Club at, written on the occasion of its 75th anniversary.


The Star-Phoenix printed Saunders’ photographs as often as they could.


One of the earliest references I have seen in the newspapers to the Saskatoon Camera Club is this report of a meeting in 1936. The Camera Club mounted a show at the Bessborough Hotel in July 1937 and the Club had a showing of their members’ work in Feb. 1938 at Nutana Collegiate where mention was made of their previous year’s show. The next reports came in May 7, 1938 about a talk on colour film  & Dec. of  1938 when Dr. Saunders was addressing the club on technical matters.  Although there may have been a club in Saskatoon prior to this time, its activities were not well covered by the Star-Phoenix.  They are often mentioned in the newspaper after 1938.  Nov. 16, 1939 Dec. 21, 1939Dec. 3, 1940, Jan. 23, 1941Dec. 16, 1941

The Saskatoon Camera Club was housed in the new Saskatoon Art Centre in 1944 where they had a dark room and their shows were usually mounted in the Art Centre after that. Check Art Gum columns and reviews of annual fall and spring shows of the Saskatoon Art Association to find more mention of photographers from the late 1940s. I did find a rather amusing description of one of the Camera Club’s annual events in the Star-Phoenix on Nov. 13, 1947.

While the Star-Phoenix started slightly earlier, featuring art photos by their staff and others on the pages of the newspaper, by the end of the 1940s, the Leader-Post had caught up.  T. E. Melville-Ness is a name that appears on many of the best photos reproduced in the Leader-Post. He was a member of the Regina Camera Club in the 1940s.



In Saskatoon the newspaper featured prints of the month on occasion by amateurs in 1948. Here are a couple I came across.



Since this is my visual technology section, I thought I would include a surprising item I ran across in the newspapers. It concerns a Saskatoon man who read a paper to a club in 1916 in which he predicted inventions that sound very like today’s cellphones and flat screen TVs.  However, I’m kind of glad his prediction about radio-active wall paint being used for home heating didn’t come to pass because it’s cold enough in a Saskatchewan winter to make people try anything to keep warm.

Another two items have to do with Saskatchewan’s first exposure to the novel invention of television in 1934. Both the Saskatoon and Regina summer fairs featured demonstrations of television for amazed audiences. It would be another twenty years at least before many Saskatchewanians were able to buy televisions and receive local broadcasts in their home.

Some prognostications of the future were concerned with agency in the new medium of film appeared in 1926 and TV in  1940. Hope springs eternal for women.

© Lisa G. Henderson, 2014