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Geraldine and Douglas Moodie fonds

1813-1967, predominant 1895-1915

Physical Description:
1.05 m of textual records. -- 1014 photographs

Geraldine Moodie, nee Fitzgibbon, 1854-1945, was born in Toronto, Ontario. She was the granddaughter on her mother's side of author Susanna Moodie and on her father's side of 1812 war hero James FitzGibbon. Her mother, Agnes Dunbar Fitzgibbon (later Chamberlin) was a botanical artist. Geraldine was western Canada's first professional woman photographer, and she ran studios in Battleford (1891-1896) and Maple Creek (1896-1900), with a branch in Medicine Hat.

John Douglas Moodie, 1849-1947, was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He and Geraldine married in 1878 in England, and returned to Canada the following year. Douglas (as he was called) joined the North-West Mounted Police in 1885 and had a long career with the force, retiring in 1917. In 1897-1898 he led a NWMP patrol overland from Edmonton, Alberta to the Yukon goldfields. In 1903-1904 he was part of the Canadian government's S.S. "Neptune" expedition to Hudson Bay. There he established a NWMP detachment at Fullerton Harbour, to prevent lawlessness, to collect customs duties from foreign whalers and fur traders, and to assert Canadian sovereignty in the region. In 1904-1905 he was put in charge of the government's S.S. "Arctic" expedition which wintered again at Fullerton.

Geraldine accompanied her husband on the "Arctic" expedition. She set up a studio in the police detachment house and took many of the portraits of Inuit for which she is well known. At the same time, her husband, an amateur photographer, took extensive outdoor photos of Mounted Police activities. Douglas Moodie was subsequently in charge of the Churchill detachment of the Royal North-West Mounted Police (1906-1909), and of the Dawson City, Yukon detachment (1912-1915), and Geraldine accompanied him on both of these postings. In 1910 he escorted Governor General Earl Grey on a canoe trip from Winnipeg to Churchill. In their retirement the Moodies lived in the Cypress Hills, Duncan, British Columbia, and Calgary, Alberta. For further information see Donny White's biography, In Search of Geraldine Moodie / Regina : Canadian Plains Research Centre, 1998.

The Moodies had six children, Melville Mary (Simpkin), 1879-1970, Douglas Gerald (known as Gerald) (1880-1954), George Malcolm (1882-1895), Alex Dunbar (1884-1962), Alan Macaulay, 1886-1955), and Charles Douglas (1888-1972). Their granddaughter Anne Geraldine Augusta Moodie (1911-1995) married Frederick Perceval (1914-2001), the Earl of Egmont, in 1932. The Percevals ranched south of Calgary.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists primarily of photographs taken by Geraldine Moodie at Battleford (including an 1895 Cree sun dance), Maple Creek, and Hudson Bay; and photos taken by Douglas Moodie during the two Hudson Bay expeditions, and the Governor-General's trip. The fonds also consists of diaries kept by both Geraldine and Douglas during their time in the north, and registers and copyright records related to their photography. Significant records of their ancestors and descendants in this fonds include James FitzGibbons memoirs and correspondence re his military career and Isaac Brock (1813-1865); poems and correspondence of the Strickland women (1830-1907); Agnes Dunbar Chamberlin's botanical sketchbook (1874-1883); and newspaper clippings re the Earl and Countess of Egmont (1932-1938).

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Don Perceval and Elizabeth Ard, 2015.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Other Moodie family material is held by the Medicine Hat Museum, Maple Creek Archives, and the RCMP Museum in Regina.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-9718, NA-929, NA-2306, NA-5733, NB-60, NC-81, ND-44, NE-11, PA-1270, PA-4003, PA-4033, PB-1012, PD-423, S-251

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