Category Archives: Biographies women artists

Odd art stories of the early days in Saskatchewan newspapers

While researching newspapers I came across stories which don’t really fit into any category I have in this blog but they make for interesting reading.  I’m presenting  them here for your enjoyment.

This story “Stranger than Fiction – The Schemes of a Wily artist frustrated” appeared in the Regina Leader in 1894. Not really a funny story but indicative of the social perception of artists as bohemians, willing to break the rules of society for their passions.

Then there is the 1905 story of Marie Gilroy, the bachelor farmer girl, which again presents an artist as someone outside the norms of society.  It is essentially a funny story but also gives you an idea of how difficult it was to be a woman artist and a woman farmer in a pioneer society.

There were probably many stories of people being duped by artists or art dealers but this one received a bit of press in Sep 24, 1909 Morning Leader.  Sep 18, 1907, Jan. 13, 1908 are earlier articles which explain the circumstances of the later article. I cannot find any information on Charles S. Hatch but it looks like he had a good scam going and the Regina civic leaders were gullible enough. The reporter obviously enjoyed poking fun at the bad judgement of local politicians with the collusion of E.C. Rossie, Regina’s premiere photographer.

Other instances of quite visceral art, or more often than not political, criticism are:

Aug 13, 1920 Morning Leader (scroll right to next page for headline) announced the moving of a painting from the Legislature walls to the basement for dubious reasons.

A similar occurrence was reported Nov 21, 1934 LP. According to what I saw in the newspapers, Mr. Bryant seemed to be the first provincial politician who was reported to have an interest in art.  He had the legislative assembly collection cleaned up and put on view for the 1933 World’s Grain Exhibition and was one of the few politicians to speak about the need for an art gallery.  In 1933 he retrieved two valuable macquette statues from certain destruction. Mar 7, 1934   I believe Louis Phillipe Hébert deposited these pieces with the new Saskatchewan government  when the Quebec sculptor spent a few days visiting at Government House in 1905 (Sep 20 Leader), probably hoping to get future sculptural commissions. The statues can be seen on the Legislative Assembly art collection website.

Most stories about artists confine themselves to what the artist is best known for but in the first half of the twentieth century artists were called upon to do all kinds of work.  I’ve chosen a few of these stories to illustrate their activities.

Early on in his residence in Regina, James Henderson, apart from making oil paintings, illustrated handbooks, decorated scrolls and helped to create window displays (scroll up and to left).

Harriette Keating was probably not the only artist to work on parade floats but this image is the only one I have found which has an attribution to an artist.

Regina Float 1933

Fred Steiger did something similar in World War II when he designed a stage setting for a Saskatoon Victory Loan Campaign and Parade



And Campbell Tinning worked as a painter of backdrops for Regina’s Little Theatre… Oct 29, 1931 LP

Ernie Lindner, a talented illustrator but not known as a caricaturist, was a staunch fan of all things modern. In an illustrated letter to the editor Sep 13, 1947 SP he humorously critiqued the mayor’s idea to have a new city hall built in the neo-Gothic style. I particularly like the “boomtown” Gothic pediments he’s added to the facades of surrounding buildings, so typical of small prairie towns with pretensions in the early days.



Sometimes stories about artists are just interesting.

May 6, 1918 LP – Soldier artist from Regina encounters unimagined difficulties

Jul 5 1921 SP A Saskatoon boy wins recognition in a British Empire art contest

Apr 29 1939 SP Saskatoon born boy wins recognition in the Soviet Union for his sculpture

Jan 22, 1943 SP is about the wartime oddysey of two former Regina art students  & Nov 25, 1944 SP has a Saskatchewan connection

John Harvey Jorskies of Moose Jaw. Oct 10, 1928 Morning Leader.  I wonder whatever happened to him…

Mrs. M. Ewart, Aug 11, 1945 LP

I particularly like this Dec 8, 1937 LP magazine section profile of Superintendant T.V. Sandys Wunsch of the RCMP which mentions his bead working hobby. He showed his beadwork in a Regina craft shows in the early 1940s

Nov 6, 1946 SP it was reported that a Saskatoon artist was hired by the Eaton’s Co. to paint murals on velour for a display. The newspaper praised the display and the Eaton’s employee who commissioned the work but the artist’s name was never mentioned.

Jan 12 1948 SP – Levine Flexhaug, the super fast oil painter of Gull Lake. UPDATE – See small article on Flexhaug in Canadian Art magazine, May 2015.  A curated exhibition of his work toured western galleries beginning in the summer of 2015.  See: Mackenzie Gallery. Who knew?

Nov 1, 1929 SP An editorial appears on the need for a new flag and Mar 12, 1930 SP a pioneer of Saskatoon comes up with an idea for a new design.

Oct 16, 1948 LPFred Lahrman, wildlife painter is profiled

Oct 8, 1949 LP- Possible surrealist sculptor at Eastend, Sask.

Sep 19, 1930 SP Helen Craig ex pat Saskatoon artist

Dec 14, 1935 SP Former Saskatonian Edna MacMillan won a prize for New York Beaux Arts Ball costume design

Nov 2, 1964 Maud Fletcher McIntosh, pioneer of Saskatoon, lifelong painter. Maud was the daughter of Grace Fletcher, a pioneer merchant of the town who had the first protestant church named after her — Grace Methodist Church. Maud attended the Little Stone School House and the University of Saskatchewan.

Mar 14, 1947 LP – We learn that the Moose Jaw fire department has a cartoonist in its midst.

Oct 29, 1924 Morning Leader story about a creative use for Regina mud

Jul 24, 1929 SP Clay statue broken at fair – again no artist’s name mentioned

Aug 3 and Aug 6, 1927 Morning Leader.  Farmer Darnbrough of Laura, Saskatchewan shows his seed pictures at fair. The 1933 World Grain Grower’s exhibition in Regina featured building decorations created in Ottawa using the same technique.


W. V. Magee of Domremy Apr 22, 1925 Morning Leader.  He probably wasn’t the only one making horn and antler furniture .  I have seen examples of it in many places but this is the only article I ran across about it.

1933 Regina World’s Grain exhibition featured photos of two hand-crafted objects which made it on to the front pages of the Leader – farm carving Jul 7, 1933 and model train. Jul 26, 1933. Paintings made by locals never graced the front pages. For more about objects and art displayed at the 1933 exhibition in Regina see my post on the subject.



And then there are the usual stories about undiscovered masterpieces in local collections —

Mar 28, 1917 E.C.Rossie’s mother got a bargain at an auction which she passed on to her son

May 15 & May 17, 1948 LP – Regina resident found to be owner of a possible old master painting

And speculations about recently discovered objects —

Feb 2, 1934 and Apr 17, 1934 SP there appeared reports about a so-called Stone Goddess found on a farm near North Battleford.


Early Saskatchewan Arts and Crafts Organizations

This post is centred on specific arts and crafts organizations in Saskatoon and Regina but I have included mentions of selected other organizations who sponsored arts and crafts shows and education in the years prior to 1950.  While my source is only Saskatoon and Regina newspapers, there was one provincial institution which got coverage in both newspapers, even though most of its work was in rural areas.

The Homemaker’s Institute aka Homemakers’ Clubs began in 1911 and was overseen by the Department of Household Science at the University of Saskatchewan.  Initially the Institutes were concerned with scientific homemaking courses and workshops but I have come across a few of their reports made at annual conventions which show how heavily this organization was involved in handicraft group organization in rural areas in the 1930s.

From the 1920s to 1940s the Homemakers Clubs (known generally in Canada as Women’s Institutes) were often the centre of rural social life and art and craft activities went on in their club rooms.  For example, Bertha Oxner, the Director of Women’s Work at the University of Saskatchewan, organized art exhibits and art education materials that were circulated in rural locations or donated to clubs in the 1930s.

This is a selection of articles which will highlight this aspect of their activities. Jun 20, 1924 SP (this is only a headline, the rest is illegible, but it gives an idea of the interest in arts and crafts at an early stage), Jun 30, 1933 LP, Jun 11, 1937 SSP are two reports from annual Homemakers’ conventions. Nov. 9, 1950 LP is a report on the development of a local club in Melfort. Nov. 9, 1950 SP shows how the Homemakers’ Clubs arts and crafts sections eventually came under the purview of the Saskatchewan Arts Board.

For more information on the Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan see: Women’s Organizations in Saskatchewan– Report for Culture Youth and Recreation by Dr. A. Leger –Anderson, 31 March 2005 online at’sOrgs , pp. 33-44.


The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society 1923-1946

This society grew out of the Saskatoon LCW Arts Committee.  In fact, when the Arts and Crafts Society was established as such, the LCW Arts Committee ceased existence for some time. The LCW Arts Committee was established in Saskatoon about 1922 and the few shows it held indicated that the direction of interest was the promotion of handicrafts. In order to accomplish their aims the Arts and Crafts Society became a separate, but affiliated body of the LCW in 1924. Organized and run by Vivian Morton, the wife of Arthur S. Morton, historian at the University of Saskatchewan with the honorary assistance of Christina Murray, the wife of University of Saskatchewan’s first president Walter Murray, the focus was not on members of the association making crafts but on concerns raised by the University’s Historical Association. The Historical Association worried about the disappearance of traditional craft items as modernization took place and was attempting to collect items which might not be produced in the future.  Source for this is Cheryl Meszaros, Visibility and Representation: Saskatchewan Art Organizations prior to 1945, Queen’s University Master of Arts Thesis (1990)P.42-43

In her thesis, Meszaros quotes the constitution of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Committee, found in the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society papers at the Saskatchewan Archives, Saskatoon, regarding their objectives:

  1. To encourage, retain, revive and develop arts and crafts
  2. To prevent the loss, extinction and deterioration of the same
  3. To aid people skilled in any such crafts by providing a market for their products
  4. To educate the public to the value of arts, industries and crafts and of good handiwork.

The idea was to support and maintain the production of traditional crafts, particularly those made by what were termed New Canadians and indigenous people. I guess the assumption was that the predominantly English culture of Saskatoon was not “new” but no one seems to have referred to anyone as Old Canadians. The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society held most of their functions in the YWCA building in Saskatoon, like many other womens’ clubs.

Saskatoon YWCA in 1912

Meszaros’ thesis highlights the marketing achievements of this finely tuned organization and the assistance they provided to poor farm women during the depression by paying them for their work, but also the problematic around a WASP group of university- educated society ladies dictating patterns and designs to multi-cultural artisans in order to make their work more palatable or saleable to a WASP audience.

Nonetheless, they provided an example of how to run a craft society by providing educational programs for their members and the public.  Western Producer journalist Violet McNaughton was a member of this organization in the 1930s and she and Luta Munday were in charge of obtaining the indigenous peoples’ crafts.  Luta Munday was a bit of a writer and you can see the problematic public attitudes in some of her publications in the newspaper.  She was concerned about maintaining the integrity of indigenous crafts but she also personally displays the prejudices and misunderstandings that this type of arrangement led to. eg. Nov. 17, 1931 report of a speech and Dec. 19, 1933 and Dec. 16, 1935 SP articles written by Munday.

The Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society became quite famous in Canada for its work and was invited to join the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, headquartered in Montreal. The group declined the invitation because they felt they already had a high profile and did not want to lose it by affiliating with the national crafts organization.  Lack of raw materials for workers, war chaos and the aging of the Society members caused the demise of this group after World War II. There is an article on the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society in Saskatchewan History written by Sandra Flood, well known Canadian craft academic and a former resident of Saskatchewan, but I don’t have access to her discussion of this club. There is a full archival record for the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society at the Saskatchewan Archives Board in Saskatoon.

I would add that the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society was the only group in the city who sponsored what could be called solo shows of individual painters, although that was not their purpose.  They provided this honour to Hilda J. Stewart in 1935 and to Augustus Kenderdine in 1936 when both artists were leaving the city.  Hilda Stewart returned to Saskatoon in 1936 to replace Kenderdine at the University of Saskatchewan as art instructor after the latter left for Regina.

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The activities of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society were well-covered by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix in the Women’s pages of the newspaper.  Vivian Morton, often the president of this club, was also active with the Saskatoon Art Association and later the Saskatchewan Arts Board. Apr. 4, 1957  She received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1962. May 11, 1962 SSP


Presidents of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society: List compiled from reading newspaper articles.

1924/25-1928/29 Mrs. A.S. Morton1929 Special report on Stoon Arts & Crafts Society

1929/30 Mrs. Roy Todd

1930/31 Mrs. A.S. Morton

1931/32 Mrs. A. S. Morton

1932/33 Mrs. A. S. Morton

1933/34 Mrs. F. Garnet Hopper

1934/35 to 1938/39 Mrs. A.S. Morton

1939/1940 – Mrs. G. A. Bonney???????????????????????????????

1940/41 Mrs. G. A. Bonney

1941/42 Mrs. G.R. Peterson

1942/43 to 1945/46 Mrs. A.S. Morton







Articles containing historical information on the club:  Nov. 25, 1931, May 17, 1935 SP, Jul 20, 1935, Apr. 16, 1940, SP










Chronological list of articles found in the Google News Archive with some additions from old clippings unavailable at the Archive reproduced here:

Nov. 16, 1923 SP, May 31, 1924( scroll right), Jun 13, 1924, Jun 13, 1924, SP – These articles are mostly illegible but the headlines contribute to the story of the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society.  Newspaper issues for 1925 and 1926 are unavailable and a lot are missing in the 1920s.

Jun. 2, 1927 SP, Oct. 22, 1927, Nov. 28 1927 SP, Jan. 24, 1928 SP, May 31, 1928 SP, Oct. 31, 1928, SP, Nov. 28, 1929, Dec. 31, 1929 SP

Jan. 15, 1930 SP, Feb. 6, 1930(see illustration), Feb. 8, 1930 SP, Mar. 24, 1930, Apr. 19, 1930, Apr, 23, 1930, Oct. 21, 1930 SP, Nov. 24, 1930 SP

Mar. 3, 1931 SP, Mar. 17, 1931, Apr. 21, 1931 SP, Nov. 17, 1931, Nov. 30, 1931 SP

Feb. 18, 1932 SP, May 31, 1932 SP, Nov. 22, 1932, Dec. 2, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, 1932( see illustration), Dec. 13, 1932 SP


Jan. 17, 1933, Apr. 25, 1933, May 20, 1933, May 23, 1933,  Oct. 17, 1933, Dec. 12, 1933 SP, Dec. 19, 1933 SP

Jan. 23, 1934 SP, Feb 20, 1934, Mar. 20, 1934, Apr. 17, 1934, May 12, 1934, May 14, 1934 SP, Oct 16, 1934 SP












































Jan. 22, 1935 SP, Feb 13, 1935, Feb. 15(see illustration), Feb. 18, Feb. 19, 1935, Mar. 19, 1935 SP, Apr. 16, 1935 SP, May 4, 1935, May 17, 1935,  Oct. 22, 1935, SP, Nov. 16, 1935, Dec. 6, 1935, Dec. 10, Dec. 14, 1935, Dec. 16, 1935 SP,



Apr. 2, 1936, Apr. 9 & Apr. 18, 1936 SP, May 20, May 23, 1936, Oct. 21, 1936, Dec. 15, 1936 SP

Jan. 19, 1937 SP, Feb. 16, 1937, Mar. 17 & 18, 1937, May 18, 1937, Dec. 10, 1937 SP, Sep. 21, 1937, Oct. 19, 1937,SP


Feb. 23, 1938,  Mar. 30, 1938, Apr. 28, 1938, May 3, 1938 SP, Nov. 1 & Nov. 3, Nov. 23, 1938, Dec.1 & 9, 1938 SP

May 16, 1939, Sep. 19, 1939, Oct. 17, 1939, Nov. 21, 1939 SP, Dec. 4, 1939, Dec. 9, 15 & 21, 1939

Jan. 16, 1940, May 3 & 7, 1940, Dec. 9, 1940. SP See also historical articles noted above.

Feb. 18, 1941, Apr. 22, 1941, Apr. 30, 1941, Nov. 18, 1941, SP

Apr. 21, 1942, SP, Jan. 19, 1943 SP, Apr. 3, 1945, Nov. 27, 1945, Jun 20, 1946 SP


The Saskatoon Craft Guild 1942post 1951.  This is a club comprised of craftspeople who showed their own work. Initially, the club was devoted to making petit point embroideries, taught by instructor Mrs. T. H. Johnson who lived in Saskatoon in the early 1940s. Later the club began meeting at the Saskatoon Technical School and the range of crafts broadened to include pottery and other pursuits.  I found these reports about this club, in addition to the short ones illustrated below :  May 15, 1942 SP, May 22, 1942, May 13, 1943, May 18, 1944, May 11, 1945, May 19, 1945, May 11, 1946, Oct. 2, 1946, May 6, 1948 SP, May 11, 1949, SP,  May 9, 1950 SP is a photo story, May 9, 1951 SP.

List of presidents compiled from reading newspaper articles.

1942 – Mrs. W.G. Brigman                     1945 Mrs. Bouskill president Craft Guild

1943 – Mrs. Roy Ruemper

1944 – Mrs. Charles Blake

1945 – Mrs. W.H. Bouskill

1946 – Mrs. J.G. Wilkinson

1947 – Mrs. Vern Welker

1948 – Mrs. C. Kargut

1949- Mrs. R. Pepper

1950 – Miss Lenore Jantz

1951- Mrs. D.H. Fast







1949 Craft guild display




The Ukrainian Women’s Association of Saskatoon 1934-present


With a very large presence in the prairie provinces by 1920, people of Ukrainian ethnicity began forming music and arts associations early on.  The Saskatoon Ukrainian Women’s Association seems to have come into being in the 1930s, if you judge by the newspaper reports. By 1938 they were already announcing that they were collecting items for a future museum.  The Saskatoon Association was affiliated with the Ukrainian Women’s Association of Canada, who in turn was affiliated with local and national Councils of Women.  Begun as a social club, this group was not an arts organization per se but they seem to have decided that their handicraft committee could represent the arts of their cultural background more fully than the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society whose prime focus was marketing.  I noticed a number of articles on their activities so I have included them in this discussion because their activities led to the formation of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada in Saskatoon.

1941 Ukr. Women's Assoc. show & sale

What little material the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Society must have collected for the Historical Museum at the University of Saskatchewan was likely destroyed when that museum had a fire in the late 1940s. It is a very good thing that someone else was also doing the collecting.

Mar. 17, 1934 SP, Jul 5 & 6, 1935, Jun 21, 1937, Jul 16, 1937, Dec 15, 1937, Dec  10 & 19, 1938, Dec 9 & 18, 1939, Sep 17, 1940, Dec. 14, 1940, Feb 18, 1941, Dec 22, 1941, Dec. 21, 1942, Mar 13, 1945, I can’t find any announcements of craft displays during most of the war years and after. Mar. 5, 1949 SP.

???????????????????????????????1940 Burianyk Ukrainian Women's Assoc2


The Ukrainian Women’s Association’s museum collection was held by the community in the Mohoyla Institute for many years before a purpose built museum was erected in 1979.  Mrs. Rose Dragan, active since the Association’s early days, was an instrumental figure in pushing the creation of a physical space for the collection forward.  She was a weaver and also wrote books on Ukrainian handicraft. She was honoured for her efforts. Rose Dragan was also a member of the Saskatoon Arts& Crafts Society.

The Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists has produced an exhibit of Ukrainian arts and crafts which can be viewed online.



German Canadian Association 1934

Like the Ukrainian Association, the German Canadian Association was an ethnic social club but in early July, 1934 there was some coverage of an arts and crafts show which they arranged in Saskatoon at Eaton’s Department Store. Jun 29, 1934, Jul 3, 1934, Jul 6, 1934, SP Jul 6, 1934 LP

Saskatoon has a German Canadian social club to this day called the Concordia Club.  Mention is made of this club in this poster for German Canadian day which appeared in the July 4, 1936 edition of the Star-Phoenix. The cutline says that the German Canadian Reunion, as it was called, had been in existence for 7 years, meaning that this club was probably formed in 1929.

1936 German Day poster


The German ethnic group had a difficult time in Saskatchewan from World War I onwards and the activities of their social and cultural organizations may have been deliberately omitted from the news owing to the suspicions and hatreds developed during the two world wars about enemy cultures. People of German extraction were often subjected to internment during the wars if their activities were deemed ‘suspicious.’


In 2009 the original 1957 Concordia Club building burned to the ground and many artifacts and documents from the early days of the association were lost according to pp.44-47 of above magazine article. But a new Concordia Club has since risen from the ashes.



Early Regina craft organizations included the Regina Handicraft Guild, est. 1908.  See my post under The Craftsmen Ltd. and the WAA Fine and Applied Arts committee or Guild, 1930-1945. See the discussion about the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan in a separate post.

Other independent craft organizations in Regina were the following:

Regina Arts & Crafts Society 1937-1950

This society seems to have been an outgrowth of the Saskatchewan Women’s Art Association Fine and Applied Arts Guild, which was formed in the early 1930s. The guild, a committee of the WAA, was primarily interested in crafts and continued to operate alongside, but separately, from the Regina Arts & Crafts Society, although some members belonged to both groups.  I base my assumption on the origin of this group from the fact that many of the new Arts& Crafts executive members were formerly on that WAA committee.  The Regina Arts & Crafts Society was affiliated with the Canadian Handicraft Guild, unlike the Women’s Art Association’s Fine and Applied Arts Guild. (This terminology is confusing but I am basing this distinction on one made in Cheryl Meszaros, Visibility and Representation: Saskatchewan Art Organizations prior to 1945, Queen’s University Master of Arts Thesis, 1990, p. 63).  The Society held membership teas in the fall, usually October, had demonstrations, classes and lectures throughout the winter and held a large craft show and sale every spring, usually March or April.  They also helped to host incoming shows, did some exhibiting at the annual fairs and sent work out to shows sponsored by the Canadian Handicraft Guild.

The association, unlike its Saskatoon counterpart, was composed primarily of craftspeople and the range of crafts on display was dictated by their interests.  Shows included everything from needlework and fibre arts, leather tooling, woodcarving and china painting to oil paintings.  The crafts they produced were reflective of their urban WASP membership and did not represent the multiplicity of ethnicities then living in Regina and the surrounding countryside.  Although they made items for sale, they were primarily a club concerned with companionship and learning and exposing the public to the work of contemporary artisans in Regina. The WAA FAAG, on the other hand, initially modelled themselves on the Saskatoon Arts and Craft Society in the sense that they showed the work of a variety of ethnic groups in their early exhibitions, performing educative work by doing so.  However, neither of the Regina groups managed craft workers in the way the Saskatoon organization did because artisans were running these organizations.




Dec. 7 & Dec. 8, 1937 LP, Dec 11, 1937,  Jan 13, 1938 LP, Mar. 10,  28 & 29 & 30,1938 LP, Oct. 1, 1938 LP

Feb 9, 1939 LP, Mar 29 & 30, 1939 LP

Oct 11, 1940 LP, Dec. 14, 1940 LP

Feb. 15, 1941, Apr 2 & 3, 1941 (two articles on each page),

Mar 16, 1942, Apr 10, 1942,  May 9, 1942 LP

Apr 24, 1943 (two articles on opposite pages)

Apr 22, 1944 LP



Apr 24, 1945 , Oct 3 & 6, 1945 LP, Nov. 10, 1945, Dec 15 1945, LP

Jan 12, 1946, Apr 26, 1946, May 16, 1946 LP

Feb 17, 1947 LP, Apr 15 & Apr 25, 1947 LP

Jan 20, 1948, Apr 10, 1948, Apr 23, 1948, May 13, 1948, Oct 2 & Oct 7, 1948 LP

Oct. 1, 1949, Apr 22, 1950 LP I couldn’t find many reports from the late 1940s, although it is clear from the 1950 article that the club was still intact.

Regina Arts & Crafts Society Presidents

1937/38 – Miss E. Don Cathro

1938/39 – Mrs. J. C. Black

1939/40 -Mrs. Stewart Adrain

1940/41 –Mrs. Stewart Adrain

1941/42 – Mrs. Stewart Adrain

1942/43 – Mrs. J.D. Rowand

1943/44 – Mrs. W. G. Currie

1944/45 – Mrs. N.C. Elborne

1945/46 – Mrs. Harold F. Thomson

1946/47 – Mrs. Harold F. Thomson

1947/48 – Mrs. R. B. Van Iderstine

1948/49 – Mrs. R. B. Van Iderstine

1949/50 – Mrs. G.B. Munro


The Regina Handicraft Centre 1940-1945, possibly longer

This was a civically sponsored institution which provided a space for handicrafts to be taught to children.  It received a lot of press in these years but I didn’t notice much afterward.  Sometimes there were shows and sales offered at Handicraft House, which eventually found a home  on Hamilton street after moving around a bit in the earlier years.

Dec. 13, 1940, Nov 4, 1941, Nov 8, 1941, Nov. 24, 1941, Apr. 26, 1943, Apr 30, 1943 (scroll left), Aug 24, 1945

©Lisa G. Henderson

Saskatchewan Art Patrons prior to 1950

This post is devoted to shining a light on a number of articles I found reporting on commissioned/ purchased works of art in the province.  I also want to bring forward the names of people and groups whose support of the visual arts in the province made an impact on individual artists and public collections in Regina and Saskatoon. Three major art collectors in Saskatchewan are dealt with in my previous post Art Collectors in Saskatchewan prior to 1950.

In the absence of dedicated art galleries, government offices, large schools and public libraries often were the recipients of donated works of art,.  These were places of public business and were accessible to the public, although their main purpose was not to display art.  The provincial government and the civic government had a limited mandate and usually a budget to collect art documenting their services. The schools generally did not, with the exception of the University of Saskatchewan and some private schools. Public libraries did not actively collect art but were grateful for donations and by the late 1940s, with the persistent absence of places to display art exhibitions, libraries became a safe and welcoming place for art to be displayed.  The Dunlop Gallery in Regina eventually developed into a separate art gallery from its beginnings in the Public library and the Frances Morrison library  (Saskatoon’s public library)  has had a dedicated space for rotating art exhibitions for many years.  It appears that the Moose Jaw Library also had a gallery space prior to 1950.

Some notes on these collections:

Saskatchewan Legislature Art Collection begun in 1910. See website:  This website doesn’t seem to be active any more although it was in operation in 2014.  There is now a flickr page for some works from the Legislative Art Collection but no artists’ names or image details are featured with the images on the new site.  Fortunately, the photos on the flickr page are bigger than the tiny thumbnails that were featured on the older website so you can actually look at the art without a magnifying glass.  The Legislative building, itself, has a photo gallery, although only one interior shot of the building is included. It does show the mural mentioned in an article below. Here are some reports on items commissioned or collected by the legislature prior to 1950.

Sep. 20, 1905 Montreal sculptor Louis-Phillipe Hebert visit to Regina – he obviously left some macquettes behind, see: follow up Mar. 7, 1933 LP, Oct. 13, 1908, Jul 15, 1910 (scroll right and up). Oct. 15, 1910 (scroll left), Feb. 19, 1914 Morning Leader, May 13, 1916 Morning Leader, Jul 19, 1918 Morning Leader, Aug. 10, 1920 Morning Leader, Apr. 5, 1928 SSP & Apr. 19, 1933, Jan. 28, 1933, Jun. 16, Jun 17, 1933, Apr. 16, 1934, Sep. 5, 1947 RLP, Apr. 1, 1957 SSP

Civic government collections, mostly painted portraits of local dignitaries, purchased by respective cities and towns from at least the first decade of the twentieth century and hung in their public spaces.  Nov. 1 (scroll down column) and Nov. 8, 1913 RLP – note that the second article refers to James Henderson, artist, but he was so new to Regina at that time that the reporter got his name wrong. There is a little bit more about Regina’s early civic collection in my post: Odd Art Stories in Saskatchewan prior to 1950

I would include public libraries as civic collectors, since they were supported by civic governments.

Regina Public Library :  The Regina Library offered display space for artworks purchased by various groups for a future collection.  The library also collected art. Sep. 29, 1908, Oct. 29, 1948, Jan. 4, 1950

Saskatoon Public Library – Like the Regina Public Library, the Saskatoon Public Library hosted craft exhibitions and related initiatives prior to 1950. Feb. 28, 1934,  Dec. 6, 1938, SSP (scroll down).  The Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Club had a display corner in the children’s section of the library for a number of years in the late 1930s and early 1940s before the Saskatoon Art Centre opened.

University of Saskatchewan Art Collection, begun in 1911, still active. Considered to be an educational collection housing examples of Canadian and international art with some samples of early Saskatchewan art. See website:    And  Little is known about the beginnings of this collection but early works were probably bought at the discretion of the first University president, Walter Murray (term of office 1909-1938).  He favoured Saskatchewan paintings by Gus Kenderdine and James Henderson.  The art purchasing committee did not become truly official until long after 1950. Walter Murray and professors Alfred J. Pyke of the Mathematics department and Richard A. Wilson of the English Department were very active in raising the profile of the visual arts and deserve to be noticed as patrons of Saskatchewan art. The University began hosting National Gallery of Canada travelling art exhibitions in the early 1920s.

Some articles related to the acquisitions of this collection are:  Oct. 29, 1914, Morning Leader, Feb. 20, 1926 Morning Leader, Dec. 21, 1939 SSP, Jan. 12, 1940 SSP

Regina College collectionFeb. 4, 1915 &  Mar. 25, 1916, Morning Leader, and  Women’s Club activities noted below. Regina College was a privately-owned institution that received civic support until it, like other affiliated colleges, before and after, came under ownership of the University of Saskatchewan in 1934. It did not become a separate provincial university, the University of Regina, until 1974.  The bequest of Norman Mackenzie’s art collection to the University of Saskatchewan in 1936 was primarily intended to create a showpiece, a school and an art gallery for the city of Regina. Like the U of S, Regina College hosted travelling National Gallery art exhibitions beginning in about 1920.

Nutana Collegiate Memorial Art Gallery, begun in 1919 as a memorial to 29 former students killed in WW I. It is still an open collection containing Canadian works of art from the Edwardian period on.  See the published catalogue Nutana Collegiate Memorial Art Collection: permanent collection , 1995 with an essay by Donna Volden and online description of the collection at  For its role in the development of Saskatoon art, see my post Assorted Saskatoon art clubs to 1936. The collection was paid for primarily by students who collected money annually to buy paintings.   Alfred J. Pyke was the principal and curator of the art collection initially and then Aldis W. Cameron took over the position and guided the acquisitions after 1923. Cameron lobbied the civic government to provide funds for an art gallery in Saskatoon (May 22, 1928 SSP)and attempted to educate the Saskatoon public about contemporary Canadian art by bringing in National Gallery of Canada travelling art exhibitions to Nutana Collegiate, starting about 1921.

2016 update. Note that there is a fascinating series of letters written mostly by A.W. Cameron to artists and letters received from them regarding the Nutana Collection at SaskHistoryonline, a digitizing project at the University of Saskatchewan.

2019 Update: A descendant of one of the original shareholders in the Nutana Art Collection has sent a copy of the share certificate and also an article from the Saskatoon Star on the founding of the collection. Thank you Keith Cunningham for your effort to add more information about this collection’s history.






















Regina Women’s club collection – This is a title I invented for artworks collected for institutions by the LCW Arts Committee and other women’s groups from  c.1920 to 1953 which were eventually housed in the Norman McKenzie Gallery (1953) or Dunlop Collection at the Regina Public Library.  Most were collected from 1920 to 1945 and hung in the Library, Regina College and other collegiates in the city until such time as a purpose built art gallery arrived in Regina. It was a public collection without a permanent home and without a name until 1953 when 23 collected paintings were donated to the Norman Mackenzie Gallery collection. or remained in the Public Library collection (it is now known as the Dunlop Art Gallery)

An early example of a report of this collecting activity is Mar. 6, 1924 Morning Leader

The extent of and contribution of specific women’s art clubs is discussed in my posts Regina LCW Arts Committee and Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan, as well as in the individual biographies of artists mentioned in this post. My post on the craft organizations in the two major cities of Saskatchewan adds more names, including specifically Christina Murray and Vivian Morton of the Saskatoon Arts and Crafts Club, a major patron and sales facilitator for many craftspeople in the central part of the province.

Regina Women’s Educational Club , known after 1936 as University Women’s Club –  Oct. 27, 1920 (scroll to left under Social column) & Nov. 1, 1920 Morning Leader – Women’s Educational Club announces their intention to buy a work of art for the College annually.  Sep. 18, 1919, Feb. 26Mar. 1 & Mar. 5,1920 (scroll to left), Feb. 22, 1923, May 16, 1929, Dec. 2 (scroll down and to left), Dec.4 (scroll left), Dec. 5 (scroll right), Dec. 6, 1929, Apr. 19, 1930,  RLP


Elgar Club –  Feb. 13, 1926, Dec. 1, 1930, LP

In Saskatoon the University Women’s Club often had study sessions on the arts but they don’t appear to have collected art. eg. Jan. 22, 1935 SSP  The Saskatoon Arts& Crafts Club was associated with some collecting for the University of Saskatchewan Museum, particularly crafts.  The Ukrainian Women’s Association in Saskatoon also collected craft items as far back as the 1930s.  Saskatoon is now the home of the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, an institution these women founded with their volunteer effort and collections.

Saskatoon and Regina IODE (International Order of Daughters of the Empire) collected art for patriotic and educational purposes.  The IODE was particularly concerned with buying collections of photographic reproductions of British paintings and graphic work for the public schools and was very active during the World War I period with this function.

Nov. 20 & 21, 1916 SP, Jun 22, 1916 SP, Dec. 2, 1919 SP,  Jun 1, 1933 SP

Mar. 20, 1918 Morning Leader, Sep 27, 1919 RLP

Various Churches across the province – The major Catholic churches in Saskatchewan collected art and also commissioned artists to make art in the province. The Cathedral at Gravelbourg and St. Peter’s Church at Kronau were decorated primarily by artist priests in residence but other churches in the province, like the Anglican church at Cannington Manor were decorated by the congregation who either made or imported fittings for it.  There were a succession of artists in Saskatchewan who specialized in church painting. Berthold von Imhoff, for example, who lived near North Battleford, was responsible for painting the decorative program of many Catholic churches in the northern half of the province.  These collections were privately owned by the Church but the churches were open for all the public to see. There is more on this in my post Ecclesiastic Art in Saskatchewan prior to 1950.

I recently found evidence that the Anglican church in Saskatchewan also had an early art collection: Jan. 28, 1933 RLP

The Saskatchewan Arts Board was formed in 1948 and soon started exhibiting and collecting May 15, 1950 RLP. Today, it has a significant collection of art and craft made in Saskatchewan.


Art transactions

While scanning the newspapers prior to 1950, I ran across a number of miscellaneous articles on art transactions, acquisitions and dispositions.  These would be of particular interest to curators and registrars.  A. Perring Taylor, Oct. 11, 1915 Morning Leader, Henderson, Mar. 9, 1917, David Payne, Oct. 22, 1930 LP, Imhoff – Jul 26, 1933 LP, Kenderdine – Jun 1, 1934, LP,  Minton – Jun 4, 1934 SP, Thornton,- Sep. 29, 1934 LP, Kenderdine – May 20, 1936 SP, Kenderdine, May 19, 1938, SP,  Lindner & Steiger, Sep. 24, 1941, SSP, O’Neill –  Sep. 25, 1941 SP, Sheldon- Williams,May 5, 1942 LP, Effie Martin & Ruth Pawson – Aug. 28, 1945 LP, Edith Shane, Jan. 23, 1947, RLP.  Many other reports of art transactions are linked or mentioned in my posts on the biographies of individual artists.

And Private Collectors

Mention of private collectors of art in both cities is often found in the earliest reports of local art exhibitions where collectors showcased what they owned.  In the case of Regina, reports on the RSAALS exhibitions give us information on the names of collectors and what they owned. Another source is the first Regina LCW art exhibition  in 1920 which featured works of art owned by collectors. In Saskatoon, the first city art exhibition in 1915 also featured works of art owned by local collectors and I have also found a Saskatoon Phoenix clipping  in my research files from 1921 about a travelling National Gallery exhibition of Canadian art at Nutana Collegiate. In the report there is a list of  local collectors who exhibited paintings they owned alongside them.  The report on this exhibit also gives an indication of the state of the Memorial Collection at Nutana in 1921 because it enumerated the paintings in the collection on display at that time.

1921 Ex at Nutana


Patrons of the arts

A number of people deserve mention for being benefactors or promoters of art in the province. In Regina, I have selected the following people, based on mention of them in the newspaper and on the Internet. They were what might be described now as power couples:

Francis N. Darke – Frank Darke May 26, 1924 Morning Leader – Opening of Darke Hall Nov. 6, 1928,  Jan.7, 1929  & Jan. 8, 1929 Morning Leader. Annie Darke is profiled in my Club Women artist Biographies and her name can be found as an active participant in reports on many of Regina’s art and craft organizations.

Darke Hall - October 30, 2014 - 3

Darke Hall, Regina

Dr. Hugh & Susan MacLean – Hugh MacLean was a social activist in the fields of Medicine and politics. He has been described as the “godfather of Medicare in Saskatchewan.” He and his wife Susan were also art collectors and donated 11 paintings to the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery in 1953. The MacLeans, who had moved from Regina to California in 1938, also offered to donate their substantial house at 2930 Albert Street in Regina to the University of Saskatchewan in 1940, hoping that it could provide space for a much needed art gallery building in the city. Their home was never used for that purpose but I have found a drawing and brief history of the house on the Regina Walking Tours website (p,116, 117).  Articles on Dr. Hugh MacLean:  Jan. 4, 1958 SSP, Jul. 14, 1944, RLP, Sep. 26, 1953, RLP. Susan is profiled in my Club Women artists biographies and her name can be found in articles related to the Women’s Art Association and other cultural organizations. – eg. Dec. 14, 1933 RLP, Feb. 27, 1935 RLP

2930 Albert Street MacLean residence

George and Ethel Barr–  Ethel Barr is profiled in my Club Women artists biographies and her name can be found in posts dealing with the Regina LCW Art Committees and the Regina Art Centre Association. – Oct. 9, 1954, RLP. As I have said elsewhere, her contributions to the Regina art world included chronicling early Regina art and leading a campaign for an art centre in Regina, in addition to maintaining a sustained volunteer career in many arts organizations for over 30 years.  George Barr was active in art affairs as both an artist and a prominent member of the Saskatchewan Art Association . He also was most vocal about raising the provincial status of Regina College.  See the following articles about him: Jun 22, 1955 RLP, Feb. 9, 1960 RLP, Apr. 1, 1960  and a sample of his guest editorials in the Leader Post on the issue that consumed many other Regina community leaders  and educators of his vintage. Feb. 16, 1954, RLP  Feb. 17, 1954, RLP.

Lorne and Evelyn Johnson –  I offer a short biography of Evelyn here and some articles on her activities but the biographies of both she and her husband should be consulted at the Johnson Foundation website, linked below.  – Sept. 27, 1933, Oct. 22, 1948 RLP


Evelyn Madill Vrooman Johnson (Mrs. Lorne) (b. 1 Nov 1883 Ontario – d. 25 May 1977, Regina, Sask.)

Evelyn Madill Vrooman Johnson, wife of Lorne Johnson, m. 1916. Evelyn was the daughter of James L. Vrooman and was born in Vroomanton, Ontario.  A 1912 graduate of the Toronto Conservatory of Expression, Evelyn was a founding member of the Regina LCW Fine and Applied Arts Committee. Although she was not an artist, Evelyn Johnson was often on the executive and was an active participant in the committee’s art shows, hanging many of them.  She and her husband lived in Regina from World War I and had no children.  Both were very active in the arts and culture sector and established the Johnson Foundation in Regina over 50 years ago which is still offering funds to support the arts and culture in Regina. The Johnson Foundation website offers biographies of both of them which highlight their public service. Note how many times her name is mentioned in connection with LCW art exhibits on my post.  Also see online: Pioneers and Prominent People of Saskatchewan for an earlier biography of the two.

Evelyn Johnson photo from ancestry Mr. and Mrs. Lorne Johnson from a photo on

The story of art patronage in Saskatoon is quite different.  There were art patrons and collectors, as in Regina, but none of them apparently had the wherewithall or felt the need  to fund buildings, endowments or public collections until Fred Mendel pledged funds to the city for an art gallery in 1960. I found almost no reports of art acquisitions or art patronage in Saskatoon’s newspapers as opposed to Regina’s newspapers. However, in Saskatoon there were many more reports of the individual achievements of artists and lots of reproduced images of local artwork, something seldom seen in Regina’s Leader Post until after 1950.

You can read the reports associated with the “non-gendered”  art organizations in Saskatoon, like the Saskatoon Art Club and its successor, the Saskatoon Art Association to see the efforts that many artists put forward to create a space for the visual arts in their city and in Saskatchewan. Apart from the few Regina women mentioned above, there weren’t many other visual artists in Regina, who can be noted as patrons or activists in the arts .  Barbara Barber was an exception. She is profiled in my club women’s biographies and in my post on the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan, an organization that she spearheaded. She also was the founder of the Regina Beach Art Centre and one of the few Regina artists who made a concerted effort to have works by her fellow artists shown outside the province.  In the sense that she broadened the horizons for Saskatchewan art, she was the equivalent of Ernest Lindner in Saskatoon, although they were very different people doing different things. Lindner strove to raise the standards of art in Saskatchewan by forming artist associations, opening up venues for artists to show their work and by promoting better educational opportunities for Saskatchewan artists. A number of reports on the activities of Barber and Lindner (Saskatoon Art Association and Saskatchewan FCA) can be seen in the posts I have on the organizations they played a major role in.

Interest in the arts in Saskatoon was driven by educators and artists and this is clear when you look at newspaper reports.  In Regina there are many reports of people donating money, effort and time to local institutions, whereas in Saskatoon people primarily donated their time and effort prior to 1950. Regina artists were often passive recipients of the benevolence of women’s art clubs, who made efforts to show all artists’ work to the public, but Saskatoon’s visual artists were more likely to initiate exhibitions and shows themselves. The Saskatoon Art Centre, which opened in 1944, was the result of the combined volunteer efforts of artists and concerned citizens who did not have the assistance of wealthy benefactors.  I would add that the Saskatoon Star Phoenix deserves credit for treating art activities and events as important cultural news, highlighting local activities with photographs and art columns in the 1940s. The newspaper distinguished itself nationally in that way.

The one important provincial institution in Saskatoon was the University of Saskatchewan.  In Regina, the provincial interest was represented by the institution of the Legislature. Both held collections of art in trust for the people of the province. Neither of these entities were civic institutions, although the cities and art cultures they were located in certainly benefited from their existence. The big difference was the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon hosted travelling art exhibitions as part of its educational mandate from the early 1920s.  In Regina, a local college took on part of this role for its community around the same time, assisted by more than one volunteer women’s organization. The Legislature did not generally sponsor art exhibitions but it did provide commissions for artists and actually employed artists like J.H. Lee-Grayson and John Leman on its staff.

There were a number of civic institutions and local businesses who neither collected art nor made art exhibiting their major concern.  However, they were important in the growth of visual arts awareness in the province because they provided exhibition space in their organizations or businesses at a time when there were few other venues to welcome travelling or local shows.

Local art dealers didn’t get much press but they did advertise and deal in art and occasionally hosted local artists, particularly in Saskatoon during the period before 1944 when there were no solo exhibitions sponsored by local organizations.

Saskatoon:  Hazen-Twiss Stationery store, Hudson’s Bay Store and Eaton’s.  Tyries’ Art and Framing Store. YWCA, University of Saskatchewan, Nutana Collegiate, Bessborough & King George Hotel and various empty downtown buildings.

1928 Etching show at Tyrie Studios
















Regina: Willson’s Stationery Store, Glasgow House, Eatons & Simpsons department stores, City Hall, Regina College, various empty downtown buildings, Hotel Saskatchewan, Laubach’s Art Studio and later Clay’s Art Studio












Additionally, commercially sponsored art shows by such entities as the Elson Co. , Richardson Brothers Co. of Winnipeg, the Cooling Galleries and even major newspapers and IBM were hosted in these cities and private collectors sometimes came to town to sell works of art to the public.



1936 Connoiseur shows art collection ad


The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is and was an institution funded by Canadian taxpayers so in a way it also was a Saskatchewan institution.  Its policy of sending art exhibitions out across the country certainly contributed to art awareness in Saskatchewan, where access to significant art collections was very limited in the first half of the twentieth century. The Gallery may be faulted for having a very narrow conception of what constituted Canadian art during this period, limiting the bulk of their Canadian purchasing to favour one region of the country, but not for their education program which allowed Canadians from coast to coast to see not only Canadian work but also international art. Praise for the educational functions of Canada’s National Gallery can be found in an editorial in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix Aug. 6, 1937

I was happy to find a series of articles on contemporary art patrons of Saskatchewan on the Saskatchewan Arts Alliance website.

©Lisa G. Henderson



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


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.

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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

Saskatchewan Clay stories to 1950

People in Saskatchewan have been using the vast clay resources of the province for a long time. During the early settler period, clay, both in raw and manufactured form was put to all kinds of uses by individuals and small groups.  Eventually it began to be looked upon as a resource for commercial exploitation. Many of the early newspaper stories deal with finds of various types of clay and the possible uses it could be put to. There are also stories about early manufacturing ventures and various individuals who used local clay for a whole variety of purposes, sculpture, ceramic ware, and industrial tiles and pipes and building materials.

My interest in clay is really confined to its use by artists. I am particularly interested in the china painters who not only painted pre-manufactured china imported into Saskatchewan but also attempted to become ceramic artists and used native clay to fashion pottery and finish it themselves with glazes. Much more research needs to be done on all these early china painters and potters in Saskatchewan. (I’ve provided some names in my posts Some Women Artists in Saskatoon and Regina)  From Regina, here’s an early story that tells of pioneer ingenuity in building kilns . (Scroll down the City and Country column to find the story)

Laboratory tests of clay were constantly being done from the time that Saskatchewan became a province.  A report from the Provincial Laboratory on the subject of clay from 1908 is in the Leader. Small displays of fired clay vessels were featured at summer fairs and in jewelry store windows, promising people a future Saskatchewan-based clay industry. Women’s clubs also tried to promote Saskatchewan clay for artwork (Jun 3, 1926 ML) and it’s use in projects of all kinds was highlighted. Jan. 31, 1941 RLP

In 1921 the University of Saskatchewan was the first Canadian university to set up a department of Ceramic Engineering, probably in anticipation of manufacturing facilities being developed in the province. Apr. 30, 1921 SSP. For twenty-six years W. G. Worcester headed this one man department which closed not too long after he retired. He was involved in testing local clays and promoting clay manufacture across the province. eg.) Aug. 22, 1925 ML; Apr. 21, 1927 SSP; July, 29, 1927 ML; July 6, 1938; Apr. 10, 1940 SSP; Jan 31, 1944 RLP. His son’s family also was involved. Nov. 18, 1941 SSP. In fact, his son James Cameron Worcester was instrumental in setting up an art pottery business in Saskatoon called Canadian Clay Craft in the mid 1930s.  Canadian Clay Craft developed a line of pottery known as Teepee ware which was featured in the summer fair exhibits in 1938. For more about W.G. Worcester’s involvement in Saskatoon art, see the Saskatoon Art Club/Saskatoon Art Association posts.  Photo below from linked June 25, 1938 SSP article on Canadian Clay Craft.

1938 Claycraft items photo June 25

As late as 1947 there are reports of people being given pottery souvenirs produced by the University. Delegates to the National Council of Women’s annual meeting held in Regina received Saskatoon made items to take home with them.

The University of Saskatchewan now has an online exhibition featuring some of the ceramic ware produced in Saskatoon by both the department of Ceramic Engineering and Canadian Clay Craft. It is well worth a look.

Although this is starting to sound like a success story, it really is not. Despite all the promotion of clay manufacture as a viable and necessary business in Saskatchewan, most of the clay dug out of the ground was exported.  I have found references to some clay manufacturers, the first being the United National Resources Ltd. of 1914, later International Clay Products of Estevan and the Dominion Fire Brick and Clay Products Ltd. of Claybank, but the fact is that the Alberta Clay Products company of Medicine Hat was extracting clay from Saskatchewan for manufacturing purposes in Alberta from 1912.  It seems that the main natural resource in Medicine Hat was cheap natural gas to fuel kilns.  I was astounded to find out that the famous Medalta lines of Alberta pottery sold in Saskatchewan were often made from Saskatchewan clay.  More about this subject later in the post.

For more information about the industrial uses of Saskatchewan clay see this website for information about the Claybank Company, whose original factory begun in 1914 remains intact.

I want to go back to the heyday of Saskatchewan clay discoveries in the early 1920s because, among other stories, I have uncovered an obscure story which really interests me.

I first encountered Helene Pachal advertising the opening of a new ceramic studio in Regina in 1919. There are several mentions in the Morning Leader of her studio in 1919. Jan.16, 1919 is one of them.  I thought that she was just one of many china painters who set up shop in Regina and then moved on to greener pastures but further articles about her were intriguing. Mar.4, 1921; July 2, 1921. There didn’t seem to be anything more about her until I stumbled across this headline in the 1925 Morning Leader.


Someone at the Leader had obviously run across this story in another newspaper and inserted it in the Morning Leader because of the Regina connection.  I had no idea from other stories in the Morning Leader that Pachal was a ceramic engineer.  I was intrigued and started some genealogical digging.  I found scads of news stories about her.  One of the earliest is this one which says it in the most detail. It is an OCR translation  of the newspaper page and there is one indecipherable section in it but most of the oft-repeated story is here.

********************************************************************************Winnipeg Tribune 28 July 1923. P.6 in page devoted to News of Girls Activities Here and Elsewhere

GIRL LOCATES FINE CHINA CLAY, Enterprise of Canadian Girl is Rewarded After Much Work The pioneer efforts of many women’s movements have had their origin In Western Canada, and In that status of greater equality accorded the sex In the West and the spirit of Initiative the area naturally generates, women have found It easier to break the shackles which previously hampered them and have penetrated Into fields, previously considered sacred to men. On the top of many feminine successes in many lines in the Canadian West comes a novel achievement, that of Helen Pachal, artist, scientist, business woman and explorer, whose adventures are described in a bulletin of the Canadian Pacific Railway. “Miss Pachal, a Regina girl,” states the bulletin, “graduate of the New York School of Ceramics, since her graduation had been actively Interested In the china business, successfully operating a studio for china painting In Regina. The delay and inconvenience in obtaining fine china to paint set her to wondering if it would not be possible to produce for this purpose a suitable china in Canada. She was more than ever convinced of the national value of such an Industry when she discovered that the three Prairie Provinces alone Imported annually $5,000,000.00 worth of china which had to be transported 8,000 miles by water and 2,000 miles by rail. She saw a future for this Industry in Canada, if fins numb uuuiu uo luunu hi nunie. “The work of prospecting she undertook alone. From the geological formation of certain hills in south-western Saskatchewan, she was convinced that suitable clay was hidden under the soil. In the summer she started out, attired in prospector’s garb, with pick and shovel and a 4 – inch pole auger. A day’s travel brought her to the range of hills, where she was left by the livery driver with her food supply and camping equipment. Throughout the summer she followed an arduous routine, rising at 7 a.m. and tramping fifteen to twenty miles each day with tools and supplies carried in a pack. She discovered many beds of clay, but tests made by herself In the following winter of 1920 – 21 proved them worthless for her purpose. She returned to the quest in the summer of 1921, and after the same failure had dogged her efforts for months she was rewarded toward fall by discovering what appeared to be the long – sought – for clay. She took samples to Medicine Hat during the winter and spent months testing it and making it into fine china dishes. The results were eminently satisfactory and quantitative tests proved that only two per cent of outside materials were needed to supplement the clay to make the finest pottery and table dishes. Other tests proved that it could be made into pony insulators for high voltage electrical power wires, thousands of which are imported into the country every year. Still further tests at New York con- vinced her that, granted the deposit was of sufficient extent, she had discovered a rich china clay deposit. “Returning from New York, she stopped off for several weeks In New Brunswick and Quebec to do further prospecting, and in the latter province found quantities of feldspar and asbestos, the only minerals needed to fuse with the clay to make a perfect china body. Securing mining rights to these discoveries, she went back to Saskatchewan and made another trip to the hills where she discovered the valuable sample of clay. There, according to her report, extensive excavation operations proved that this clay was a thick stratum extending over a wide area and in sufficient quantity to last a great Industry for many years. ” Miss Pachal Is reported to be engaged at the present time in preparations to commercially exploit her discovery by erecting a plant for the manufacture of dishes and Insulators. Whether this enterprise Is success fully launched and the years of effort brought to successful termination, there exists little doubt that, in the near future, Saskatchewan will possess such an Industry, for the survey and tests of the past few years have proven It to be the wealthiest clay area of Canada, with every advantage for the establishment of clay Industries.*********************************************************************

This story of discovery appeared in many newspapers. I found online versions of it in the Scottish Aberdeen Journal  on 27 Dec 1922, another story in the Evening Review of East Liverpool, Ohio on 23 Oct 1923 and one in the Northern Advocate, a New Zealand newspaper in 17 Nov 1923, among others.  This lady was world famous by 1923 when, as they say, her story had gone viral. I think the CPR Bulletin referred to in the Winnipeg article must have come out in 1922.

But her international fame was obviously fleeting.  The last story I found about her discovery adventure was in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1925 where the story had deteriorated to a couple of sentences.  I have done quite a bit of digging to reconstruct what details of her life are online.

Helene (usually spelled Helen) Pachal (often spelled Paschal) was born in Winnipeg on Oct. 23, 1889 to Russian émigré parents.  Her large family moved to the Yorkton area of Saskatchewan to farm before 1891 so Helene really was a Saskatchewan girl.  There was a Doukhobor clay brick factory in Yorkton in the early part of the twentieth century and it would certainly have been in operation there when Pachal was a child.  Read about it here.

From what I can infer from news stories, she left Yorkton behind and went to the New York State School of Ceramics in 1907 where she must have earned a 4 year B.Sci. degree in Ceramic Engineering.  The New York State School of Ceramics and Clay Design (now known as Alfred University) was established in 1900 joining engineering with art and design.  Charles Fergus Binns was appointed as its founding director and an online journal article outlining its early history lists W.G. Worcester as a lab assistant and instructor at the school from 1907-1911, precisely the same time when Helene Pachal attended.  It was the premiere institution of its kind in North America. (note you cannot read the full article unless you are using an academic library database)

What Pachal did after her graduation is sketchy.  She married Jean Renneaux-Kich in Winnipeg in 1911 and had a daughter LaVere who was born in Coal City, Illinois in 1914.  I have not been able to find out what happened to her first husband but by 1919 she had established herself in a ceramic studio in Regina as Miss Helene Pachal. There, she taught ceramic painting classes and spent the summers prospecting for clay, it seems. However, in 1919 she announced that she had recently taken a course at the Art Institute of Chicago and was offering painting lessons as well as china painting classes. Regina audiences appear to have been impressed by her work but she didn’t advertise as an instructor there after 1921.

The early 1920s seem to have been a busy time for Pachal, as outlined in the newspaper article from the Winnipeg Tribune. Helene was a resident of East Liverpool, Ohio* when she married Martin Boudreau Midland of Grand Forks on 11 Oct. 1926 in Glasgow Valley, Montana . They had a son named Gordon Midland who was born 21 Jul 1927 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  She must have moved to Montana shortly after and ceased to be a resident of Canada.

*East Liverpool, Ohio was the pottery capital of the United States from the early 19th Century until the 1930s with many clay-related companies based there.

Helene Midland’s husband Martin died in Glasgow Vallery, Montana in 1940 and I did find one further news article that gives more information about her later life, again in OCR**************************************************************************

Montana Standard 21 July 1940 › Page 5

WOMAN ENGINEER PAYS VISIT HERE Mrs. Helene Midland of Hot Springs was a Butte visitor the past few days. Mrs. Midland is a ceramic engineer, possibly one of two in the United States. She owns mining property near Hot Springs. Mrs. Midland is a graduate of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred. N. Y. Her daughter followed in the same profession and recently graduated as a ceramic engineer at Ohio State University. Mrs. Midland has had almost a lifetime of experience in the minerals industry, including leading an expedition to Labrador In search of placer gold. She owns land in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan that is said to contain “China clay” deposits.

And I found her obituary: ******************************************************

The Daily Inter Lake
Tuesday, August 24, 1954
page five

Mrs. Helene Midland, 64, died in Kalispell last night. Mrs. Midland was a former resident of Perma, where she lived 25 years before moving to the Flathead two years ago.
She was a ceramic engineer and geologist. Mrs. Midland is survived by one son, Gordon Midland, Kalispell; a daughter, Mrs. LaVere Ives, Pensacola, Fla.; five grandchildren and several brothers and sisters.

Service arrangements will be announced by Waggener and Campbell Funeral Home.


She is buried in Conrad Memorial Cemetery, Kalispell, Flathead county, Montana

Lavere Ives died on Oct. 10, 1982. A U.S. Navy veteran, she is buried in Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.

Gordon B. Midland’s obituary appeared without a source on Google but I suspect it was in the same newspaper where his mother’s death was announced:

Gordon B. Midland, 84, died April 10, 2012.

He was born July 21, 1927, in Moosejaw, Sask., Canada, to Martin Midland and Helen Pashal Midland. He was a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Navy. Gordon was preceded in death by his parents; his sister LaVere Ives; and his son Gordon Midland Jr.

 He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marjorie Grimm Midland; sons Tharon Midland, of Kamiah, Idaho, Phillip Midland, of Hermiston, Ore., and Martin Midland, of Littleton, Colo.; daughters Sandra Fletcher, of San Jose, Calif., Darlane Lovell, of Hermiston, Ore., Patricia Counsell, of Columbia Falls, Kathy Tindol, of Aurora, Ill., and Maggie Halbert, of Hermiston, Ore.; 18 grandchildren; and 13 great grandchildren.

A private service was held April 14, 2012.

Memorials can be made to Frontier Hospice, 29 Second St., Kalispell MT 59901 or Vange John Memorial Hospice, 645 West Orchard Ave. Suite 600, Hermiston OR 97838.


I hope the information I’ve gathered here will be enough to get someone started on a research project.  If anyone deserves a study, it is this lady. I would love to know more about her.

I would especially like to know more about her sojourn in Saskatchewan clay.  Apart from the one Leader article from 1921 which links her with Saskatchewan clay discoveries, and a press release she sent to the Leader in 1926 from Readlyn, Saskatchewan, a tiny place just north of Willow Bunch, her name never comes up in articles about new clay discoveries in Saskatchewan in the 1920s and I wonder if there is some kind of reason for this. What was her relationship to W.G. Worcester, the official tester of clay in the province? Did she own a company in Saskatchewan? This report from the Star-Phoenix in Nov. 28,1927 allows one to speculate that she may have owned Canadian Clay Products but her name is not mentioned. It may be a completely unrelated entity.  Can examples of her Saskatchewan china painting be found? So many questions.

Here are some examples of announcements of clay discoveries from the early 1920s. Jan. 19, 1920 ML; July 6, 1923 ML and a detailed editorial on the subject of Saskatchewan clay from the Morning Leader in 1927. The Phoenix had at least a couple of articles which might be informative, but beyond the headlines, they are unreadable Nov. 21, 1923 & May 3, 1924. On Dec. 31, 1929 a large spread in the Star-Phoenix featured a map and discussion about Saskatchewan’s natural resources. I’ve reproduced a segment here to situate the area where clays were found to be most valuable.

1929 Page segment dealing with clay areas cropped

On July 30, 1929 there was a report in the Morning Leader on an exhibit at the Regina fair sponsored by the railways department which focused on clay and minerals of Saskatchewan. Later that year the development of Saskatchewan clay was still a hot topic. But the Great Depression changed everything. The outflow of capital and people and the collapse of agricultural production in the province meant that no new industries had a chance.  In 1930 International Clay Products of Estevan could not even supply raw clay for planned terracotta decoration on  Saskatchewan’s provincial war memorial. (see my link on the Albert Street Bridge in World Wars and Saskatchewan art post)


Another possible industrial/artsy use for Saskatchewan’s clay was proposed as early as 1906 and as late as 1943. A few artists who mixed their own pigmented oil paint must have tried it but the only mention I’ve seen is Regina artist Ethel Barr mixing her own paints for her Saskatchewan landscapes from clay pigments and poppy seed oil, all native Saskatchewan products.  She demonstrated this method at the Emma Lake Art Camp in 1937. Although Barr could probably afford tubed paint in the 1930s, many other artists in Saskatchewan could not. The ladies of the Women’s Art Association heard a talk on the general and artistic uses of Saskatchewan clay reported on Oct. 10, 1931 in Regina.

In the early 1940s, with the rise of the CCF as a viable political party, the truth about the state of Saskatchewan’s mineral and clay resources was being revealed. eg) July 27,1942 RLP in a special jubilee feature which also contained on the same page an ad for Medalta pottery and Jun 25, 1943 RLP. The CCF came to power in Saskatchewan in 1944 and started to develop policies and procedures that would protect the province and ordinary citizens from financial exploitation.  This editorial from the Leader Post dates from that era.

In 1947 the Leader Post contains a spate of articles on Saskatchewan clay which shows what happens when you try to change the rules. Jun 14,  Sep. 5; Oct.10; Oct. 15; Oct. 31 & May 14, 1948.

For another interesting clay story of a different kind see Judith Silverthorne’s illustrated article on the SNAC website on Peter Rupchan (1883-1944).  Silverthorne is an expert on the subject, having written a book on him.

To complement Silverthorne’s story I have links to a couple of newspaper articles I found mentioning Ukrainian born Peter Rupchan’s activities. Jun 24, 1939 RLP. This rustic potter was active in the Preeceville area and sold his pots in cities beginning in the 1920s. This latter article on the Saskatoon Arts & Crafts Society doesn’t use his name but the description of the potter fits.

Rupchan’s work also appears in a Mackenzie Gallery online exhibit called Fine Form: Saskatchewan Ceramics

While we may not know much about Saskatchewan’s early artists who worked with clay and the long dreamed of ceramic industry never did come to pass, the ceramic sculptors of the 1960s and 1970s and beyond are more well known.  The Mackenzie Gallery has an online exhibit of this too called Regina Clay: Worlds in the Making (link may be broken) featuring such luminaries as Joe Fafard and Vic Cicansky.

I wonder if they bought their clay from Alberta?

©Lisa G. Henderson

Some Early Women Artists in Saskatoon

This is my third post on women artist biographies. See previous posts on Some Early Women Artists in Regina and Club Women Artists of Regina.

Please note that there is a website called SNAC (Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting) which has quite a number of pocket biographies of Saskatchewan artists active both before and after 1950. Terry Fenton also has a website Canadian Prairie Watercolour Landscapes with slightly more detailed biographies of Saskatchewan watercolour painters, including a few women, and a few more well documented women artists of Saskatchewan are on the CWAHI website.  It is not my intention to present re-gurgitated biographies so I will direct you to any pre-existing online biographies I found, but when I have enough information to add I will write a short biography myself, using some of their information and some of my own.  I have gone to great lengths to find maiden names, birth and death dates and traces of these women’s activities in newspapers and a whole variety of other sources useful for genealogy.

I will begin with artists I could find little information for, those who placed ads in newspapers. I have arranged the biographies in a kind of chronological order, rather than an alphabetical one.

Saskatoon and Vicinity

The Saskatoon newspapers do not go back in time as far as the Regina ones because Saskatoon was a very small place until the early 1900s.  The first painter I found advertising in the Saskatoon Daily Star  and Saskatoon Phoenix was Mrs. A.D. Woods who offered to give painting and drawing lessons in May and September of 1905. ??????????????????????????????? I have found a bit more information on her.  She was Alice Maude Bowler,( b. in England in Sep 1879 –d. Mar. 24, 1973 in Mission, B.C.) and she and her husband Archie were newlyweds living with Alice’s mother in Saskatoon in the 1906 Census of Canada.  They had a young daughter Agnes who was born in February 1906.  Unfortunately, the 1906 Census does not detail professions but I have a photo of my great grandfather, a dentist in Moose Jaw in 1905, who had a likeness done that year in Saskatoon while visiting his in-laws and it is labelled Archie Woods, Photographer, Saskatoon.  So I suspect Archie (b. Apr. 1880 in England) and Alice were attempting to develop a photography business there. (See my post on photography) However, Saskatoon was very small and already had photographers so Archie and Alice moved to B.C. in 1907.  In 1911 they lived in Nanaimo, B.C. with three more B.C. born children and Archie was farming, probably a more promising enterprise for a growing family.

Miss V. Isaac offered a class in July of 1907 and Miss Annie Matilda Gilpin (b. 9 Dec 1875, Perth, Ontario) offered herself as a china and watercolour painting teacher between 1907 to Sept. 14, 1909 in the Daily Phoenix. 1909 Miss Gilpin ad cropped In 1910 Iola Fowler (b.24 Apr 1881 in Seaforth, Ontario), with significant training, also had a china painting studio before moving on to Carlyle, Sask. The same year Margaret L. Sisler (b. 30 Dec. 1882 in Malahide, Elgin, Ontario – d. 1978 in Rhode Island, New York, USA) was advertised as having her annual china exhibition.  She married William Lovelock in Saskatoon before 1916 and doesn’t appear to have had any more advertised showings, although Margaret I. Lovelock exhibited china at the Saskatoon Fair in 1916.  Mrs. Groves and Mrs. C. Parkin were both offering painting lessons in 1915. China painting continued to be very popular in Saskatoon through to the 1930s, as it was in Regina,  and I have more information about the artists of the later period.

 Anna Rue Kleven – b. 1858 in Wisconsin, USA, d.19 Mar 1925 in Saskatoon) She was a widow when she left Grand Forks, North Dakota to come to Canada in 1911.  The 1911 Census shows her as a ‘professional artist’ in Moose Jaw. That was also her profession in North Dakota prior to her immigration and probably in Minnesota  before that, where she had her children in the 1880s.  She was active as an artist in Saskatoon between 1915-1919 where she exhibited in the local summer fairs and also showed her own work in other venues. She received little notice in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix for her shows at the fair because she didn’t enter them in the amateur competitions for prizes, the only time a name usually appeared in the newspaper in those days. Probably miffed by her painting display being ignored by the Star-Phoenix and having to field questions from naive fair goers wondering why she didn’t win a prize, she wrote this letter to the editor on Sept. 5, 1916.

1916 Annie Kleven letter cropped

Juliet Burdoin aka Mrs. A.F. nee Juliet Howson (b. 1873, Toronto, On – d? Ohio) The italicized part of this biography  of Juliet Howson is from the Canadian Museum of History website which discusses some of the women artists who worked on the Canadian Historical Dinner Service: “she was educated at the Ontario School of Art, and also studied in Paris and The Netherlands. At the Academie Julian, she studied under Bouguereau and Ferrier. She painted oil and water-colour landscapes, flower studies, and portraits of notable women. Juliet painted 12 cups and saucers for the Canadian Historical Dinner Service presented to Lady Aberdeen, the patroness of the Women’s Art Association of Canada in 1897.

Her work was exhibited at the Toronto Art Gallery (1891), through the Ontario Society of Artists (1891-1893 and 1900), and at the Royal Canadian Academy (1891). At the Ontario Society of Artists exhibition in 1900, she exhibited a china tea service (four pieces), as well as two vases (daffodils, dandelions), and three plates (one of yellow roses, one of red currants, and one of raspberries).”

Juliet Burdoin seems to have galvanized the small art community in Saskatoon where she and her family lived from 1911 to 1915. She had a solo exhibit of her work in a downtown art shop in 1912 and was involved in the local Arts & Literature Society and the Women’s Art Exchange in 1913.  These sale venues for art and craftwork were popular in larger cities and were usually associated with the Western Art Association in Winnipeg  or Women’s Art Association in other places but there was no WAA in Saskatoon.

She seems to have figured prominently in Saskatoon’s “first art exhibit”, as it was called, through the local IODE, the sponsoring body of which she was president.  The exhibit consisted of a display of Mrs. Burdoin’s paintings, some borrowed paintings from local collections and a collection of paintings from the Toronto WAA. It was held at the YMCA between May 25-28, 1915.  Mrs. Burdoin gave an illustrated lecture on Canadian art, using lantern slides borrowed from Toronto and a projector borrowed from the City. (See May 21, May 24 and May 25 of the Saskatoon Phoenix)

Burdoin moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in the summer of 1915 and later Dayton, Ohio where she was active in the art community there.  She also spent summers in Gloucester, Massachusetts where she had a studio.

Jessie King (Mrs. Frederick)b. 1876 in England – d 5 Apr 1959 in Saskatoon) Arrived in Saskatoon in 1912 and was active in Saskatoon  during the teens as both a music and art instructor at the YWCA. She was a graduate of the Trinity College of Music in London by the age of 16.

Mrs. Frederick J. Parsons (Winnifred Virginia Parsons (b. 1890, Alberta d. )  – Cannot find her maiden name but it seems she was an art teacher in the public school system active in the visual arts in the 1920s in Saskatoon.  She did a demonstration of water colour painting at a teacher’s conference and had a solo show of her watercolours in 1924 at the Saskatoon fair. She was on the executive of the Saskatoon Art Club in 1927/28



Elizabeth E. Rankin (b. 1872 Ontario – d. 1960 in Saskatoon) was initially known as a Regina artist but spent most of her career in Saskatoon.  Miss Rankin moved to Regina in 1903 from Winnipeg, Manitoba to teach Art and Music at the Regina Normal School.    As a young woman she obtained her teaching certificate at the Normal School in Toronto and then later trained in the arts at Columbia University and the New York School of Art.  She was only in Regina for 9 years before she obtained a position at the Saskatoon Normal School as art director.  She was a fixture on the arts scene in Saskatoon long beyond her retirement in 1938.

There is a biography of Miss Rankin at SNAC. I am adding some material to it because I just happen to have the 1908 Regina Normal School yearbook. My husband’s grandmother was Miss Rankin’s student and graduated from there that year. The family kept the book. Here is a photo of Elizabeth E. Rankin taken in 1908 by the famous Regina photographer E.C.Rossie.EE Rankin 1908 by Rossiecomp

In the Normal School book, each of the instructors published a poem or an essay.  Miss Rankin’s essay was on a painting by Edward Burne- Jones, The Golden Stairway. She was a founding member of the Regina Society for the Advancement of Arts, Literature and Science and delivered a lecture for them in November of 1911, the text of which was published in the Leader newspaper.

Miss Elizabeth Rankin, along with Miss Jane Little, the supervisor of art in public schools in Saskatoon who also arrived there in 1912, taught summer art courses at the University of Saskatchewan in 1921.  These were not credit courses but since Augustus Kenderdine is always touted as the first person to teach non-credit art at the University, these ladies deserve some mention. They offered organized courses to students, not private lessons, like Kenderdine did for years. They held an exhibition of their students’ work after the course was over.

Elizabeth Rankin is not mentioned in the newspapers as being a member of any Saskatoon art organizations but she was included in the 1952 Art Centre exhibition called Saskatoon artists through the years. This interview was published in the Star-Phoenix about 3 months before she died and gives a good profile of her life and interests.  Her obituary can also be found in the Star-Phoenix. One wonders what happened to all those paintings that she saved… The University of Saskatchewan owns two of them, presumably obtained while she taught there.

Jane aka Jennie Little (b. 1886, Ontario) She arrived in Saskatoon in 1912 to become the supervisor of art in public schools. She, along with Juliet Burdoin,  was a member of a short-lived organization in Saskatoon, the Arts & Literature Society, c. 1913. Along with Elizabeth Rankin, she taught a summer school course in Art in 1921 (see link & reference above) 1921 Rankin & Little photos U of S summer class croppedShe left Saskatoon to later become principal at the Edith L. Groves School in Toronto (Saskatoon  Phoenix  Nov. 19, 1926 “Former Saskatoon Art Teacher is Head of New School”)






Ethel May Adelaide Thorpe (b. 11 Sep  1881 in Simcoe, Ontario – d. 19 May 1953 in Saskatoon)  She went to Normal School in Ontario and was an art teacher in various public schools in Saskatoon between 1913 and 1952. Thorpe did demonstration work, along with Mrs. Parsons at a teacher’s conference in 1928. She conducted Saturday art classes outside of her regular duties and showed her students’ work regularly at Tyrie’s Art Shop. Nov. 12, 1926; June 5, 1933 and Apr. 6, 1937 Star Phoenix.  She exhibited at the summer fairs in the 1920s and was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club and the Saskatoon Art Association and the Saskatoon Art Centre.  Note that Mashel Teitelbaum was among her students in 1933. She took a class with Sybil Jacobson at Lac Vert in the late 1920s.

Sybil nee Atkinson m.names Henley, Jacobson (b. 1881 England – d. 1953, Vancouver, B.C.) is one of three Saskatchewan women artists of her generation who has been the subject of a historical publication.  American writer Jean Anderson published a book on her in 1984 entitled Sybil Jacobson: Painting in the West which broke real ground by describing her life and achievements.  There is an online biography of her, based on Anderson’s book, at SNAC but I would like to make some revisions to it.  With access to online historical documents and records that Jean Anderson did not have for her research, I can add a bit more to Sybil’s story…

In 1911 Sybil and her husband Percy John Henley, also an artist, were living in North Studio, Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Their means of support was “private means” (1911 England Census).  Her husband is usually referred to as Peter Henley in the bios (that may have been his nickname but all legal documents refer to him as Percy, as does his gravestone, located at Wynyard, Saskatchewan).  In 1916 she and Percy were farming at Elfros, Saskatchewan according to the online 1916 Census of the Prairie Provinces.  Percy was listed as a farmer and Sybil as having no profession.  Although the family postal address was Wynyard, Percy died in Battleford on Dec. 5, 1917, not 1914, as previously believed, but corroborating Jean Anderson’s supposition that he probably died in a Battleford hospital from his mental illness.  His will was proved and registered at Wynyard in March of 1919 when his beneficiary was named as Sybil Henley, his wife.  ( has Saskatchewan Probate Records and you can see the original documents related to Percy John Henley’s will on this website).

After her husband’s death, a traumatized Sybil left the province with Dr. Johan Jacobson, a married father from the Wynyard area, for North Dakota where they stayed for some time (according to a border crossing document available through before returning to Saskatchewan in 1919, They lived in Saskatchewan as man and wife and had children.  Sybil and Johan did not marry until 1936 in Winnipeg, shortly before a blind Dr. Jacobson’s death.  This was a pretty racy story for the era and may explain why the Jacobsons moved around a lot and why Sybil maintained a studio in the remote village of Lac Vert, Saskatchewan, near Naicam. It is odd for an artist with professional training and career aspirations to have such a setup, but makes perfect sense if you wanted to avoid societal disapprobation.

Sybil’s story usually centres on her involvement with Saskatoon because she lived and taught there in the winter of 1925 but her work was widely admired and known in Regina and Moose Jaw, too. Jacobson was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club (1925) and the Saskatchewan Women’s Art Association(1929) in Regina and exhibited her paintings in Saskatchewan for approximately 10 years between 1925 and 1935. ( see LCW & WAA exhibition lists and reports). After Dr. Jacobson died in Winnipeg, she moved to B.C. and lived out her years in Vancouver, painting and exhibiting until the end.

There is some surviving correspondence from the late 1920s between Jacobson and A.W. Cameron, principal of Nutana Collegiate and president of the Saskatoon Art Club, that documents her desire to find a teaching position and her problems with non-existent Saskatchewan art exhibition standards. The Nutana Memorial Art Collection owns paintings by her and she first came to prominence in Saskatchewan through her exhibitions in Saskatoon with the Saskatoon Art Club in the late 1920s. See for example: Nov. 29, 1926 and other reports on Saskatoon Art Club exhibitions in a separate post which contain effusive descriptions of her work.  “Sask. artist wins praise at exhibition.” is a Jul 25, 1930 Phoenix report on her work being shown at the summer fair.

Alma Edith Trickey, (Mrs. E.H.) b. 14 Mar 1881, Ontario – d. 24 Mar 1978 in Saskatoon, SK) Lived in Dundas, Williamsburg, Ontario and moved with her husband to Tompkins, Saskatchewan prior to 1916, then arrived in Saskatoon before 1921.  She was well known in Saskatoon as a china painter and taught classes in china decoration. Alma Trickey exhibited at the Saskatoon summer fairs in the 1920s and 1930s, usually not in prize competitions though, which were left for her students to enter. (See for example: Jul 25, 1924;  Jul 26, 1928  Saskatoon Phoenix) She was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club. Probably as prominent in china painting circles in Saskatoon as Edith Vandermade was in Regina.  Her daughter Ruth Trickey also exhibited her china painting work in Saskatoon. Alma’s son?, R. H. Trickey was on the founding committee for the Mendel Art Gallery in the 1960s.

Henning, Mrs. Andrew S. (Flossie May) b. 1884 , Hamilton, Ont. – d.?) Flossie May initially lived in North Battleford in Saskatchewan  but by 1916 she and her husband Andrew lived at Kerrobert, near Kindersley.  Mrs. Henning exhibited with the LCW in Regina and the Saskatoon Art Club in the 1920s.  Kindersley is closer to Saskatoon so I have put her with the Saskatoon artists.

Jessie Fraser (nee Dunlop) Phillips (Mrs. H.G.) (b. Nov. 1888, Nova Scotia – d. Mar. 1963 in Saskatoon, SK.)  1938 Jessie Phillips photo exLived in Regina from 1906 to 1930, before moving to Saskatoon.  She was a prominent member of the Saskatoon Art Appreciation Club from its inception and had one person showings of her work under their auspices in  1938 See also Mar. 28, 1938 saskatoon Star Phoenix She also exhibited her work with the Regina LCW ALC annual Saskatchewan art exhibits. She exhibited her own work in 1941 in Saskatoon. Her daughter June was born in 1913 in Regina and was a pupil of Garnet Hazard before moving to Saskatoon and then took lessons from Gus Kenderdine. It is likely that both mother and daughter attended a class or two at Emma Lake. June Phillips exhibited with the WAA in October of 1932. Mrs. Jessie Phillips moved back to Regina in the 1940s and was active with the FCA in that city. This photo below appeared in the Star Phoenix May 9, 1940.

.1940 Stoon Mrs. H.G. Phillips cropped

Hilda Pocock Stewart aka Mrs. J.H. (1892, England – d. 1978, Vancouver, B.C.) Like Jacobson and Thornton, Hilda Stewart’s career has been documented, specifically by Lynne S. Bell’s Hilda Stewart R.M.S.: An Essay in Retrieving History, a catalogue published to accompany the first showing of Stewart’s work in over fifty years at the Mendel Art Gallery in 1991.  An online biography of her, based on Bell’s research, appears at SNAC. A fully trained and practising artist before she moved to Saskatchewan with her husband in 1921, she has the distinction of being the first woman continuously employed by the University of Saskatchewan to teach studio art in 1935 at Regina College and at Saskatoon from 1936-1948. She moved to Vancouver in 1948 and continued to paint into the 1960s.  She was a frequent contributor to the Regina LCW Arts & Letters Committee annual exhibitions from 1933 to 1945 and the Saskatchewan WAA and was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Association in 1936. (See exhibition lists of these organizations for reviews of her work in the shows) Her work was also exhibited in several solo shows in Saskatchewan and other areas of Canada and the U.S. and in England.

This is how she was introduced to the Saskatoon art community – Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Dec. 5, 1932. Other mentions of her in Saskatoon are: Mar. 22, 1933; Sept. 26, 1933, p.6 “Saskatchewan Artist returns from Banff..” (cannot link to page),  Feb. 16, 1934 ; May 23, 1936; May 1, 1939; Mar. 13, 1940 and in the Regina Leader Post Jan. 12, 1935; Mar. 5, 1935

Madeleine Lorimer Jordan Barnett (b. Sep 1886 in Manchester, England- d. Saskatoon, 20 Dec. 1961) has the distinction of being the most well known Saskatchewan sculptor prior to 1950. She arrived in Saskatoon with her husband Leonard Barnett, a store manager, in 1926.  Leonard and Madeleine had married in McLeod, Alberta in 1916 and had one daughter Violet there.  According to the 1921 Canadian Census, they were living in Vernon, B.C. then, where Leonard ran a trading post store. It appears that Madeleine took Violet to Europe with her sometime in the early 1920s, returning in time to move to Saskatoon, where the family was reunited .  This may have been the period when she studied sculpture with Albert Toft at the Royal College of Art in London.

Apr. 25, 1930 SSP

Nov. 15, 1946 SSP photo detail showing Barnett modelling a girl’s head

She had a private painting and modelling studio in Saskatoon and worked as a clay modelling demonstrator for the University of Saskatchewan’s unique department of Ceramic Engineering in 1930 (Oct. 15, 1930 SSP, p. 8 cannot link). She also taught modelling and claywork at Saskatoon’s Technical Collegiate after it opened in 1931 and for some years after. She exhibited her work in Saskatchewan and at various national venues in the 1930s-1940s. (Oct. 3, 1935; Nov. 23, 1937; Jul 20, 1938; April 25, 1939Jul 20, 1940 ) She is noted in the newspaper as doing a clay modelling demonstration for the Saskatoon Art Club (aka Saskatoon Art Association) in November of 1926 so was likely a very early member of this organization and its successor, the Saskatoon Art Association.  She was also involved with the Saskatchewan Women’s Art Association in the 1930s. For a time, she and her students were known as the Little Sculpture Group when they exhibited in Regina. There is additional biographical information on Barnett at SNAC and in the Biographical Dictionary of Saskatchewan Women Artists and in her obituary.

Mrs. M.F. Munro (possibly Margaret Steele Munro?) –  (d. aft. 1955 Saskatoon) She came to Saskatoon about 1915 with her husband who became a Reverend Professor at St. Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan. Professor Munro retired in 1945 and was 80 when he died in 1955 so I assume Margaret was born in 1880s. She was a graduate of Queen’s University in 1909 and took teacher training in Toronto. A student of Madeline Barnett’s, she exhibited her sculpture work in Regina and Saskatoon in the 1930s and 40s.



Mrs. Stewart Basterfield (Margaret Estelle Cumming) (b. 1903 in Manitoba – d?) Also a student of Madeline Barnett’s who exhibited her work in the 1930s and 1940s in Saskatoon and Regina.  She appears to have moved to Regina about 1940 as she is referred to as a Regina artist after that time. Her husband (1884-1954) was a professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Pharmacy but later became Dean of Regina College. Her work was exhibited in 1943 at the college

Mrs. Edith Kortes aka Mrs. Thomas Kortes  (d. 1993 Saskatoon) – Edith Kortes was a student of Madeline Barnett’s in Saskatoon and exhibited her work with the Saskatoon Art Association in the 1940s.

Catherine Adams Kortes aka Mrs. Brown Kortes ( b. 1908 Saskatchewan -d. 5 Nov 1977, Saskatoon) Catherine taught clay modelling at the University in night classes in the early 1950s but also exhibited her work with the Saskatoon Art Association in the 1940s and taught modelling for them.

Edith Tyrie – b.1901, Scotland – d. 14 Jan 1983, Saskatoon)  was involved in the  Saskatoon  art community from a young age because her father William Tyrie owned Tyrie’s Art and Framing Shop in Saskatoon during the 1920s and 1930s.  This shop was where Kenderdine’s art was discovered by University president Walter Murray.  Miss Tyrie seems to have been a go-to person for hanging and organizing art exhibitions at the Saskatoon Fair and maintained Tyrie’s Art Shop after her father retired.  In 1930 she was one of two Saskatoon artists who received recognition for their artwork at the Regina Fair. Edith won a gold medal for her landscape drawing. She was described at that time as a pupil of Gus Kenderdine at the University of Saskatchewan. She was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club & Saskatoon Art Association. This photo of her appeared in a July 20, 1935 Fair Supplement to the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.

According to a Coast to Coast report written by Gordon Snelgrove for Maritime Art magazine, Edith Tyrie joined the Women’s Division of the RCAF in 1943 after the Tyrie art shop suffered a devastating fire. She worked in the photography division.  So I suspect she was probably active as both a photographer and artist prior to joining the RCAF. I haven’t found any references to her after the 1942 fire but she did remain in Saskatoon until her death and exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Association.

May Fox (b. 1895 in Penge, Surrey, England – d. Jul. 11, 1987 in Saskatoon) May W. Fox was the daughter of Barr colonists Charles and Mary Fox who came to Saskatoon in 1903. May seems to have had some secretarial training, working as an insurance agent in 1920, at the Saskatoon Business College in 1926 and becoming a secretary at Saskatoon Technical Collegiate when it opened in 1931.  First mentioned as an art teacher for children in 1926. I believe she was a founding member of the Saskatoon Art Club and the Saskatoon Art Association and she exhibited her drawings and watercolours in their exhibitions.  I don’t know what kind of art training she had, other than taking some lessons from Sybil Jacobson at her summer camp in Lac Vert with  fellow Saskatoon children’s art teacher, Ethel Thorpe. See Nov. 4, 1930 SSP

What she is most well known for is her bi-weekly Saturday column Art Gum in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix which appeared between 1942-1944, the first regular art column in the province’s newspapers (more about this later) . Displaying a strong literary bent, she chronicled the activities of the Saskatoon Art Association as it matured and eventually obtained the civically- sponsored exhibition space known as the Saskatoon Art Centre. Her writing was heavily influenced by the projects of Ernest Lindner whom she worked with at the Technical Collegiate.

Margaret A. MacKenzie – an artist who taught painting classes and exhibited in Saskatoon  in the 1930s.  She also exhibited her art in B.C., where she had taught painting classes in Chilliwack, B.C. in the 1920s.

Annie Wadleigh – (b. 1880, Quebec – d.) art teacher in Saskatoon in public schools who exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Club and Saskatoon Art Association in the 1920s and 30s and also gave lessons out of her home. She took classes at Sybil Jacobson’s summer art camp at Lac Vert. See: Apr. 23, 1927 report on Saskatoon Art Club’s exhibition

Grace Hogg (b. 1900 Oxbow, SK. – d. 1989 Saskatoon, SK) Biography at SNAC A former teacher who had most of her art training in Saskatoon, Grace Hogg exhibited her paintings with the Saskatoon Art Association in the late 1940s.

Muriel J. Simpson (Mrs. G.W.) – (b. England – d. Saskatoon 1963) She exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Association in the 1940s. All I really know about her comes from her obituary and a short article regarding the dispersal of her art collection on Nov. 5, 1964

Death of Muriel Simpson 1963

Agnes V. Warren aka Mrs. Charles T. (no dates, but on a Voter’s List in Regina as late as 1972, profession artist, her husband was born in 1895) She took private art classes with Augustus Kenderdine in Saskatoon in the 1920s and also went to the Vancouver School of Art.  Based on offhand reference in a newspaper article, she likely exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Club in its heyday. In 1929 Warren was hired to teach art classes to students at the Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon. In 1934  and 1935 she exhibited her portraits in oil and pastel in Saskatoon stores. Between 1937 and 1944 Mrs. Warren lived in Regina and was actively involved in the LCW Arts & Letters Committee and the Women’s Art Association. (see their exhibition lists for reports)  She showed her work with both organizations. She then moved to Prince Albert where she became active with the local branch of the Federation of Canadian Artists.

In 1947 she was the only Saskatchewan woman whose artwork was chosen for the National Council of Women’s Canadian Women Artists’ show at Riverside Museum in New York.  The painting she exhibited was entitled Cathedral, a representation of Prince Albert’s venerable Anglican cathedral, St. Alban’s.  A brief  report on this and a profile was published in 1947 in the Leader Post which tells us she also went to the Art Institute of Chicago for art training.  She established a reputation as an art critic in Prince Albert, publishing articles in the P.A. Daily Herald.  She also represented the Prince Albert Art Association at the Massey Commission hearings in Saskatoon in October, 1949.

Mrs. Warren moved back to Regina in the 1950s, opened a teaching studio and continued to be an active member of the art community. According to the online Saskatchewan News Index, an article on her was published in the P.A. Daily Herald in 1953 but I do not have access to a digital copy of this newspaper. Like a couple of her fellow Regina art club friends, she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London, England.

Jean McKenzie Johnston (b. 20 Oct. 1912 Rosetown, Sk. – d. 2005, Saskatoon) Jean Johnston was a university student in Saskatoon when she started to get noticed for her entries in the art section at the Saskatoon Summer fairs during the 1930s. She also exhibited her work with the Saskatoon Art Association in the late 1930s. In the mid 1940s she was a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She seems to have lived in Rosetown afterward, being noted as an accountant on the 1965 Saskatchewan Voter’s List.

Clara Hume (b. Clara Burbridge in Kindersley, Sask. in 1914 – d. Saskatoon 2006). See biography at SNAC. Exhibited with the Saskatoon Art Association  and the Regina WAA in the 1940s.

Wynona Croft Mulcaster (b. 1915 Prince Albert, Sask, lives in New Mexico?) See SNAC and CWAHI  for  biographies. Mulcaster, like Reta Cowley below,  had a significant post-1950 career but I am including her here because she was very active and influential in Saskatoon art circles from the late 1930s on. After graduating from University she worked at the Regina Normal School and then became art teacher at Saskatoon’s Normal School in 1945. and took special children’s art training in Montreal . See also Saskatoon Art Centre and Emma Lake Art Camp posts for mentions. Mulcaster later went on to have a distinguished career as an art educator at the University of Saskatchewan.

Reta Summers m.n. Cowley (b. 1910 Moose Jaw, Sask, d. 2004 in Saskatchewan) See her biography at SNAC, CWAHI and at Terry Fenton’s website on Saskatchewan Watercolour Painters. Reta Summers Cowley also was very active in the Regina and Saskatoon art exhibitions of the 1940s. (Nov. 22, 1940 Regina Leader Post for example when she was Reta Summers of Yorkton) She moved to Saskatoon in 1945 and taught studio art in 1948 at the Emma Lake Art Camp.

Bodil Lindner (b. Bodil Brostrom-von Degen in Denmark c. 1911 – d?) No online biography. She was an art student from Prince Albert when she married her teacher Ernest Lindner in 1935. Primarily a self-taught artist, influenced by spiritual philosophies like Theosophy, she occasionally exhibited her semi-abstract paintings with the Saskatoon Art Association and also taught art classes to children, using new methods espoused by Wynona Mulcaster. Plagued by what might be diagnosed now as clinical depression, she left Saskatoon and her family in 1946. (Information derived from brief references in Terence Heath’s book on Ernest Lindner called Uprooted: The Life and Art of Ernest Lindner. Saskatoon: Fifth House, 1983)

One hit wonder:

Mrs. Marie Davis – A feature article on Mrs. Davis appeared in the 1942 Saskatoon Star Phoenix.  She doesn’t appear to have been involved in any of the Saskatoon art groups.