Monthly Archives: January 2012

Opening the Vault – Peace River Museum, Archives & Mackenzie Centre

Today’s post was provided by Archivist Wendy Dyck.

Major G. H. Schoof in front of his Peace River Ranch (located in the Springfield area), 1936, at age 70. Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre, 77-890-001.

Major G. H. Schoof was born in Germany in 1866, immigrated to Nebraska at age 15 to become a cowboy, and permanently settled in Peace River in 1928. He served for the R.C.M.P, fought in numerous battles during the Boer War and the Mexican Revolution (under Generals Madero and Villa), and reportedly survived a gunshot as a spy in World War I. He was a renowned public speaker throughout North America, lecturing until his death in 1942.

The inscription on the inside of the Bible gives a more personal look at Major Schoof as well as the kindness of the medical staff here in Peace River.  The inscription reads:

“To the Matron and Staff of the Peace River Hospital:
Dear Friends, In [On?] the Summer of 1933 when a patient in your Hospital you found me a Bible. to [sic] prove my gratitude for your kindness I send you this Bible.
Very sincerely Major G.H. Schoof”

Inscription in bible, Peace River Museum, Archives, and Mackenize Centre

Opening the Vault – Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives at the Banff Centre

Thanks to Archivist Jane Parkinson of the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives for this post.

Here at the Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives at The Banff Centre, there’s a treasure hunt underway. That is, if you regard little chicken-scratch-like markings to be treasure, the way we do.

Annotated score, Zoltán Székely fonds, Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives, The Banff Centre

The hunt is part of an Archives Society of Alberta-funded grant project to arrange and describe the records of Hungarian musician and composer Zoltán Székely, who came to The Banff Centre as artist-in-residence in the 1970’s and stayed through his retirement, passing away here in 2001 at the age of 97.

In Hungary, Székely was a friend and collaborator of one of the most significant composers of the twentieth century, Béla Bartók. He was also lead violinist of the famed Hungarian String Quartet.

The records in the archives include a few boxes of archival manuscripts and photographs. He also left 63 boxes of published scores and books, which may be added to the library’s collection.

But in each box a few of the items have markings that make them unique and therefore archival: inscriptions to Székely by the composer or author, or little annotations that represent his notes to himself on how to play a piece of music – known as fingerings. While a score lays out the outline of the work, musicians have a key role in interpreting it. Székely’s interpretations, especially of Bartók’s music, are highly significant, since he worked with Bartók himself.

The Archives is fortunate to have Buffy Knill, a librarian and former musician, to work on this project. She understands the little chicken-scratches and is very good at spotting the significant ones. Because of her expertise, she has the privilege of working in our basement storage room, spending a week or so going through the 63 boxes looking for treasure.

Buffy Knill examining scores in the Zoltán Székely fonds.

Nitrate Treasures: A Special Screening of Archival HBC Films

As part of its ongoing efforts to publicize unique archival items, the Archives Society of Alberta, in partnership with Metro Cinema, Five Door Films and the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, is sponsoring a screening of rarely seen films created by the HBC in the 1920s. The films depict images that have not been seen in over eighty years of company activities and First Nations peoples in the north.

The screening, with a question and answer period to follow, takes place on Saturday, January 21 at 2PM at the Metro Cinema in Edmonton. For further information, please click on this link to the Metro Cinema listing.

Hope to see you there!