Glenbow Museum - Where the World Meets the West

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Oliver B. Buell fonds


Physical Description:
208 photographs. -- 12.5 cm of textual records

Oliver B. Buell, 1844-1910, was born in Henry County, Illinois, the son of a photographer. From 1873 until at least 1905 he made his living primarily through travelling lantern slide and lecture shows, which he called "entertainments". Two of his shows were entitled "A Tour Around the World" and "Views of Two Continents". During his career he travelled through twelve American states, nine Canadian provinces and Newfoundland. Although he was largely based in eastern Canada and USA, in 1884 he and his Canadian wife, Alice, travelled to western Canada to photograph views along the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). In 1885 he photographed the Riel Rebellion and Riel's trial. In May 1886 he was provided with a special photographer's car by CPR, and during the summer he travelled to the British Columbia coast. CPR used some of his photos for advertising purposes. In late 1886 he returned to Montreal. He made two later trips to western Canada, in 1904 and 1905. He died in Montreal. Oliver and Alice Buell had one daughter Frances Louise (Steward), 1887-1963. Frances and her husband Samuel George Steward had three children, William Buell Steward, 1914-1991, Virginia Alice (Shannon), 1917-1963, and Joseph Steward. For further information see Professor Oliver Buell, 1844-1910, Photographer / David W. Monaghan. - Montreal : Concordia Art Gallery, 1984.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of photographs of Riel's trial (1885), scenes along the CPR (1886), Alberta's inauguration (1905), and the Buells; letters from people who attended his entertainments (1873-1905); and newspaper reviews of his shows (nd).

Source of Acquisition:
Purchased from R.C.W. Dodd, 1975 and William B. Steward, 1980.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

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

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Other O. B. Buell photoprints are held by Exporail (The Canadian Railway Museum) in Saint-Constant, Québec, in the Charles Worthington Spencer fonds (PA018) and the William Cornelius Van Horne fonds (PA022).

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-5830, PA-1755, PA-2189, PC-182, PD-163, NA-3188, NA-4140, NA-5066, NF-30

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