Christmas in Alberta’s Archives

Since we are approaching the holiday break, the ASA was curious to see what Christmas-themed archives are housed in Alberta’s archives. We asked a number of archives in Alberta to send us their favorite holiday-themed archival holdings. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Millet & District Museum, Archives & Visitor Information Centre (Millet):

Millet’s archives houses photo albums and documents from Millet’s participation in the Winter Lights program. This photograph is from Millet’s participation in a Christmas festival event as part of Winter Lights 2002-2003. The archivist finds the photograph peculiar since there is no snow in the image.

Millet Archives 64.2002.122

Millet Archives 64.2002.122

Hinton Municipal Library and Archives, (Hinton):

Card from donor (back), 2010Hinton’s archivist shares a Christmas letter she received from a donor. This donor helped the archives with information on Hinton in the 1930s and lobbied to have a memorial for men who were killed in a 1938 mine explosion. In this Christmas letter we see what an impact an archivist can have on a member of a community.

Card from donor (front), 2010

University Archives, University of Calgary (Calgary):

This Christmas card was sent home to family and friends in Canada by James Wheeler Davidson, his wife and daughter from Malaysia in 1929.  The text on the card notes how the family “yearn for … friends in their holly-festooned homes”.  Christmas on the beach seems so unorthodox!

UARC 2010.004/1.22

UARC 2010.004/1.22

Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives (Lethbridge):

Muriel J. (Mona) Clark (née Waddell) resided in Lethbridge in the 1940s. The photographic collection suggests boisterous personality and passion for outdoor activities. She was a hunter, horseback rider, skater and hiker. Interestingly enough, she was a daughter of John William Waddell, an early Lethbridge photographer and a half-sister to John Enderby “Jock” Palmer, WWI gunner and pilot, who became known as “the Grandfather of Alberta Aviation.” Apparently, shooting guns and photographs is something that runs in the family.


Galt Museum and Archives 19981021027

City of Calgary, Corporate Records, Archives (Calgary):

The City of Calgary’s Archives submitted a photograph of Santa with an alternative form of transportation.

Santa doesn’t just drive reindeer!  Christmas bus courtesy of the Calgary Downtown Business Association, 1962.

CalA 95-025-003

CalA 95-025-003

Jewish Archives & Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, JAHENSA (Edmonton):

Rabbi Ari Dreilich of Chabad-Lubavitch Edmonton with former Premier Ed Stelmach and his wife Marie in 2006. Rabbi Dreilich is presenting the Premier with a Channukiah at the official lighting of the Menorah at the Alberta Legislature that year. The Channukiah was donated by Rabbi Dreilich to JAHENSA. Chabad has been sponsoring the Menorah lighting at the Legislature for 20 years now.


Red Deer & District Archives (Red Deer):

This scan is from a glass-plate negative taken by J.H. Gano of his son at Christmas. Red Deer Archives loves the tree, the decorations, and the composition of this image. From the shine on his boots to the sparkle of the “snow”, this archives wishes everyone who celebrates a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

MG 584 Gano Family fonds; Photographer: J.H. Gano

Red Deer & District Archives, G2274 ; MG 584 Gano Family fonds; Photographer: J.H. Gano

Musée Héritage Museum (St. Albert):

Actors in the Christmas Carol attended grades 7 to 9 under the teacher Helen (née Wibray) White.  Tiny Tim was played by Paul who was borrowed from a younger grade. The teacher who organized the play had donated this photograph to the St. Albert Historical Society. She commented that Kenny McKay who played Bob Crathchit gave the best Crathchit performance during her time as a teacher.

St. Albert Historical Society fonds, 2003.01.1799

St. Albert Historical Society fonds, 2003.01.1799

Esplanade Archives (Medicine Hat):

This image is of a poster that was saved by Gunther Poppe while he was a German POW in Canada during World War II. He was held briefly in Camp #132 Medicine Hat before he was sent to cut pulpwood in a labor camp in Northern Ontario. The caption of the poster is in German, but translated reads, “Merry Christmas our Beloved Homeland.” Gunther Poppe was repatriated back to Germany in 1946 via a camp in South Wales. After living in East Germany for four years, he escaped, and moved back to Canada.

Photo 370.1.32

Esplanade Archives 370.1.32

South Peace Regional Archives SPRA (Grande Prairie):

One of SPRA’s current favourites is the Carlisle family fonds which gets a lot of use because of the beautiful photographs it contains ( Part of the family album shows a 1939 Carlisle family Christmas, complete with stockings hung by the chimney with care, tree trimming, Frosty the snowman, and new toys. Ahhh… This particular photo shows children Jim, Mary Jean, and David with their Christmas tree.

Carlisle family fonds, 399.01.18

Carlisle family fonds, 399.01.18

Sylvan Lake & District Archives (Sylvan Lake):

Sylvan Lake’s archives enjoys the porcelain doll that is in the doll buggy in this photograph.  The photo comes from the Cuendet family, a family whose homestead was located one mile east of Sylvan Lake.


Sylvan Lake & District Archives 2000.19.14

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