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Thomas Mower Martin fonds

1827-1989, predominant 1856-1934

Physical Description:
1.12 m of textual records. -- 179 photographs

Thomas Mower Martin, 1838-1934, was born in London, England and received art training at a number of institutions. He and his wife, Emma Nichols, 1842-1911 moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1862. He painted mostly landscapes, animals in action, still lifes and some portraits and travelled widely throughout North America. In 1887 he made his first trip to Western Canada under the sponsorship of the Canadian Pacific Railway and returned approximately ten times. A collection of articles entitled "Canada from an Artist's Point of View" (1895) details some of his activities in the west. Martin was a founding member of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1872 and was director of the Ontario Government Art school from 1877 to 1879. He was also a founder of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1880. In 1907 he produced a major book, Canada, with text by Wilfred Campbell. In 1909 Martin became a member of the Royal British Colonial Society of Artists. Martin was a member of the Swedenborgian church and produced a number of pamphlets on religious matters such as "The doctrine of the human form and its practical use to mankind on all the planes of human life", "The difference between men and animals", "The formative principle of education", and "The broader view of war". He also illustrated A. R. Moncrieff's book Kew Gardens (1908) and J. T. Bealby's book Canada (1909). He and his wife had nine children, Edward Thomas, 1863-1891, Emma May, 1865-1957, William Anderson, 1867-1949, Ethel Kezia (Lydiatt), 1869-1941, Edith Eleanor (Harbert),1871-1965, Barbara Mower (Munderloh), 1873-1967, Winifred Grace, 1875-1898, Arthur Maxfield, 1878-1879, and Claude Woodward, 1885-1897. For further information see A Memoir on the Life of T. Mower Martin / E. T. Harbert. -- Calgary : E. T. Harbert, 1986; and The Father of Canadian Art : Thomas Mower Martin, 1838-1934 / by Toni Graeme. -- 1st ed. -- Sidney, B.C. : T & T Enterprises, 2009.

Custodial History:
The Martin papers passed to his daughters in 1934, to his granddaughter Eleanor May Harbert in 1965, to Eleanor's brother Edward Thomas Harbert in 1969 and to his son John Harbert in about 1995.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of his diaries and notebooks (1856-1930); correspondence (1864-1934); literary works including essays, short stories, poetry, and published religious and philosophical tracts (1873-1931); inventories, exhibition catalogues and proofs of his paintings (1878-1936); biographical and personal papers (1850-1989); papers of his children Edward T. Martin (1885-1891) and E. May Martin (1891-1957); and four albums of family photographs (1830-1905).

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of John Harbert, 2003, and Michael H. Dunn Trust, 2011.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

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

View finding aid / scanned documents:

There are over forty paintings by T. Mower Martin in the Glenbow Art Collection.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-8931, PA-3891, PD-340

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