10,000 (and counting!)

This week the Community Archives has passed a numerical milestone in our photographic digitization project, with the uploading of our ten thousandth image to the photo-sharing website, Flickr. Our project began with the sharing of the Grace Waters photograph album, showing scenes of nursing during the First World War. This image was the first one added to Flickr, in August 2015.

Group of nurses in First World War uniforms

Grace B. Waters album

Since then, a range of summer students and volunteers have been helping to scan, describe, and share the extensive collection of photographs amassed by the Hastings County Historical Society from 1957 to 2010. The photographs record buildings (many now vanished), people, and local events, all now available to browse from the comfort of your own internet connection.

The 10,000th image records a significant moment in the Hastings County Historical Society’s own history: the 1961 opening of the first Hastings County Museum in the former Registry Office building on Church Street in Belleville. Gerry Boyce can be seen on the extreme right of the photograph. Since its foundation, the Historical Society has been a powerful force for the care of local history of all kinds and at the Community Archives we are proud to be able to share the results of their work over the past 60 years.

Opening of the Hastings County Museum

HC08237: Opening of Hastings County Museum, August 9th, 1961

Tips on using Flickr

If you are new to using Flickr, we have compiled a brief guide here to help you navigate the site. Flickr holds photographs from some 75 million people, so it is useful to know how to just search one account, like that of the Community Archives.

First of all, you’ll want to navigate to the home page of the account. In our case that would be flickr.com/photos/cabhc. There is a search box at the top of the page, but this searches all of Flickr, so you’ll want to limit that, which you can do by clicking on the small magnifying glass just above the photographs:

Flickr home page

This will change the search so that it only looks across the pictures in the Community Archives’ holdings. You’ll see that the search box changes slightly, with the name of the collection appearing at the start of the box:

We hope you have fun exploring the photographs and look forward to sharing many more in the years to come!

By | June 13th, 2019|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Local Link to a London Disaster

On January 6th, 1898, the Weekly Intelligencer reported on a disaster which had taken place in the city of London, Ontario, three days earlier

Intelligencer report on the London Disaster of 1898

DEATH FOLLOWS VICTORY

Awful Calamity at a Municipal Meeting in London.

23 CRUSHED TO DEATH

The Winners in the Municipal Battle Had Gathered in the City Hall to Listen to Speeches by the Successful Candidates – The Platform and Floor Gave Way and Twenty-Three Were Carried to Death – The Dead and Injured.

THE DEAD

F. Heaman, C. Beckit, E. Luxton, N. Carrothers, R. Leigh, S. Harris, A. Phillips, L. W. Burk, W. J. Smith, W. C. Talbot, John Turner, Benjamin J. Nash, J. W. Borland, Frank Robinson, W. H. Dell, Stephen Williams, Ben Jacques, O. Bruce, James McLean, John Fellows, John Burridge, Allen Towe, Unknown Man.

THE INJURED

Geo. Yates, Reporter, Joshua Darch, H. Passmore, Reporter, Thomas Blanch, Ald. Robt. Carrothers, Mayor Wilson, – Burges, W. Gray, leg broken, – Fleming, arm broken, Ald. Neil Cooper, internal injuries, H. Van Wyck, head cut.

London, Jan. 4.- During the height of a triumphal after-election meeting, 23 people were thrown to their death by the fiving way of a floor in the City Hall last night. Scores were injured, and the hospitals of the city are crowded with the dying and dead.

London, Ont., Jan. 5.- London’s pall of sorrow darkened and hung heavy over the city yesterday. From the masts of the city flags waved at half-mast in dolorous silence, and citizens spoke in whispers as they realized the magnitude of the disaster which had in a moment blotted out the lives of 23 people who the evening before were jubilant with life.

From all sections of the country came messages of sympathy, showing how deeply the calamity had touched the hearts of the people of Canada.

Upon the streets the disaster was the sole topic of conversation. The cause for it was earnestly discussed by the citizens…

[Drawing] Mayor-Elect J. D. Wilson, M. D., Whose election was being celebrated.

One of the people killed in this disaster had a Hastings County connection. Leander Ward Burke was born in Huntingdon Township in around 1859 and grew up with his parents, James Gilbert Burke and Charlotte Jane (Vandervoort) on their farm on lot 10 of the fifth concession. By 1888 both James and Charlotte had died and Leander was living in London in 1890, working as an agent for a life assurance company.

Burke’s death was registered with those of his fellow accident victims. Ironically, the ‘name of physician in attendance’ is Dr. John D. Wilson, the very man whose election everyone at the event had been celebrating, and who had himself been injured in the disaster.

Death registrations for accident victims

Death registrations for accident victims

After the disaster at City Hall, Leander’s body was returned to Hastings County and he was buried in the Moira Cemetery.

The Community Archives holds a tinted tintype photograph of Leander Burke, taken when he was conducting a group of girls near Maynooth, Ontario. This item was donated to the Hastings County Historical Society by Hazel Hutchinson of Stirling, Ontario, in September 1974.

HC04943: Leander Burke with choir near Maynooth, Ontario

By | June 5th, 2019|Featured item, News|0 Comments

May events

Archivists in Community Archives reading room Earlier this month, we were delighted to be able to host archivists from across Ontario at the Archives Association of Ontario’s annual conference, which was held in Belleville for the first time. The Community Archives was the venue for the First Timers’ Reception, pictured here, where newcomers to the event were welcomed and encouraged to get to know each other with a game of ‘human bingo’. It is quite surprising how noisy a group of archivists can sound when they get together…

On Thursday, May 30th, the Community Archives will be taking part in the Older Adult Information Fair at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre in Belleville. We will be sharing information on researching the history of a property, and there will be a prize draw to enter. If you are in the area, please call in to find out more about our work and how we can help you.

Older Adult Information Fair poster

By | May 23rd, 2019|News|0 Comments

New book on Belleville in the First World War

Laurel Bishop signing copies of her bookThe culmination of four years of work was celebrated today by Community Archives volunteer, Laurel Bishop. Laurel’s research on life in Belleville during the First World War is familiar to regular visitors to the Community Archives’ website, where from 2014 to 2018 she has been sharing newspaper reports 100 years after their first publication.

These reports have now been selected, edited, and compiled into book form and published by the Hastings County Historical Society. The book’s title is Belleville in the First World War: Reports from the Intelligencer. The volume is available here in the Community Archives, at a price of $30.

Congratulations to Laurel on the incredible amount of work she has put in to this project.

Cpver of "Belleville in the First World War"

By | April 23rd, 2019|Intelligencer WW1 Local News, News, World War 1|0 Comments

True or False?

With the end of our ‘The Tales We Tell…’ exhibit, we are now able to reveal the winners of the pictures and which ones were fact, which ones fiction.

Of the eighteen images, six had true stories attached to them, while the remainder were either completely fabricated or were a mixture of some true elements with a fair sprinkling of false ones.

Prize winners

Congratulations to our eighteen winners, pictured here with their prizes: John, John, Susan, Caleb, Philip, Brenda, Julia, Niall, Eveline, Helen, Denise, Adam, Colleen, Nancy, Jody, Terry, Andrea, and Lorie.

The true stories were the ones attached to the following pictures:

HC00854 'Bug House' on Dundas Street East, Belleville. HC00854 – The ‘Bug House’ (Dominion Entomology Lab) on Dundas Street East, Belleville
1888-1900 Fire Insurance map of Belleville, sheet 4. Belleville Fire Insurance map of 1888-1900
Belleville Hardware Company buildings, Pinnacle Street. HC00899 Belleville Hardware Company buildings, Pinnacle Street, c.1911
Raising of lightship, Muskegon. James F. Anderson negative 337B, raising of lightship at Muskegon, Michigan, 1911
Members of the Circle Six orchestra DESHIS-08-04 Members of the Circle Six Orchestra, c.1927
Horse and mule and three people with 'Votes for Women' sign. HC04638 Burrowes family members with ‘Votes for Women’ sign
By | February 26th, 2019|News|0 Comments

The Tales We Tell…

Archives, museums, libraries, and galleries generally pride themselves on the accuracy of the information they provide to their users. Careful research is carried out and the general public trust the staff of these institutions to explain their contents in a reliable way.

Historical materials often only survive by chance: some of these fragments of the past find their way into collecting institutions like the Community Archives or Glanmore National Historic Site, but many do not. And historians, librarians, archivists, and curators are human beings who can be mistaken, deceived, or dishonest, just like everybody else.

‘The Tales We Tell…’ exhibit

We are living in a world where truth can be hard to determine. In our first ever show in the John M. Parrott Gallery, we are sharing a series of images from the Community Archives with accompanying stories. These stories contain a lot of facts and some of them are true. But there are also some complete fabrications.

We are inviting people to explore our exhibit and to see if they can tell fact from fiction. We are also inviting them to think about who they can trust, and about the stories that cannot be told, because fragments of evidence about those people did not survive into the present, or were never created in the first place.

If you like any of the pictures, we are offering them as prizes in a draw at the end of the show. Entrants just need to tell us which stories they think are true, and which picture they would like to take home with them. On February 14th we will draw the winners’ names.

Thank you to Mike Gaudaur of Quinte Studios for making our images look so beautiful, and to Trevor Pross, Holly Dewar, and Susan Holland of the Belleville Public Library and John M. Parrott Gallery for the opportunity of putting on this exhibit. Additional thanks to Community Archives volunteers Trevor Parsons and Marilyn Wood for helping to come up with stories for some of the images.

By | January 4th, 2019|News|4 Comments

A 1907 photobomber?

We’re currently processing additional materials donated by the family of Lewis Zandenberg. Lewis was a former president of the Stirling-Rawdon Historical Society and Chair of the Stirling Public Library Board, and a keen genealogist and local historian. Among the items he collected are a pair of photographs from 1907, taken to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of a couple from Stirling, Ontario.

Golden Wedding group photo

2016-34/1/26/1 Golden Wedding group photo

The married couple are identified on the back of the photographs as Abigail Ann (1839-1927) and Stephen Badgley (1835-1914). Abigail’s maiden name was Barager and she married Stephen on October 27th, 1857.

Abbie Ann and Stephen Badgley

2016-34/1/26/2 Abby Ann and Stephen Badgley

The building in both of these photographs is the Methodist Church in Stirling, now St. Paul’s United Church. The younger couple in the front of the car are probably the Badgleys’ son, William Ward Badgley (1868-1929) and his wife Sarah (born Stiles, 1866-1958).

A closer look at both photographs reveals an interesting character: there is a man pictured in them who doesn’t seem to entirely belong. He is lurking just outside the group in the first photograph, hands in pockets, in contrast to the more formal poses taken by the rest of the people in the image:

Man on edge of group

2016-34/1/26/1 (detail)

and here is what seems to be the same man, skulking at the corner of the church in the second photograph:

2016-34/1/26/2 (detail)

We are left wondering if he was part of the party, or if he was deliberately inserting himself into the photographs to spoil them.

By | August 10th, 2018|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Finding the right home

Medical diploma for Clyde Orrin Barney

Medical diploma for Clyde Orrin Barney

Sometimes materials find their way to the archives, but don’t really belong there. One important role of the network of archivists around the world is to communicate with each other about such items and try to establish where the ‘right place’ is for something.

This week, we received a medical diploma which was issued in Syracuse, New York, in 1910. It had been picked up at a yard sale in Syracuse by a Belleville doctor, J. Russell Scott, for the princely sum of one dollar. Russell Scott was active in local causes and local politics: here he is on August 18th, 1971, presiding over the official opening of the Quinte Mall as Mayor of Belleville. He was Mayor from 1968 to 1972.

CABHC: HCM00260 Mayor J. Russell Scott at the opening of the Quinte Mall

Scott placed the diploma in the archives of the Belleville General Hospital, but its original owner, Clyde Orrin Barney, had no connection with the hospital and so it was passed on to us. Our collecting policy is focused on people and places of Belleville and Hastings County, so this was not really something that we would be able to offer a home.

Along with the diploma was a typed obituary for Barney, who lived from 1882 to 1966. The obituary was from the Syracuse Herald-Journal and it explains that Barney was on the staff of the medical school at Syracuse University for much of his life.

In 1950 Syracuse University sold its medical school to SUNY Upstate Medical Center. The archivist of Syracuse University put us in touch with this institution (now called SUNY Upstate Medical University), and staff there were happy to offer a home to Dr. Clyde O. Barney’s diploma. After some careful wrapping and a trip to the Post Office, the diploma is now on its way to its rightful home: a satisfying result of archival cooperation.

By | March 6th, 2018|Featured item, News|0 Comments

Around the World in 318 Photographs

Kilties Tour of the World photograph album

In 1908 a Belleville-based band embarked on a bold tour of the Earth, performing more than 1,000 concerts, covering 70,000 miles (112,600km) and spending some $60,000 on transportation. The band was the Kilties, popular performers of mainly Scottish music in the early twentieth century and the first Canadian group to create a record (you can listen to some of their recordings at the Virtual Gramophone site). The Kilties musicians and choir were accompanied on their tour by the Clan Johnstone dance troupe.

The group started their round-the-world tour in Belleville, where their manager, Thomas P. J. Power lived (he was the proprietor of the New Queen’s Hotel on Front Street, opposite City Hall). After performing more than 50 shows across Canada, the troupe took to the high seas on the S.S. Maramar in Victoria, B.C. and headed West across the Pacific Ocean. Their trip took them to Hawaii, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, France, Gibraltar, Scotland, and England (the full timetable is available in the Kilties’ promotional brochure).

One of the group compiled an album of photographs taken on the journey. Despite their punishing concert schedule, the Kilties found plenty of time to play the part of tourists and the album faithfully records many of the places they visited, including the Taj Mahal in India:

Taj Mahal in Agra, India

and the Sphinx in Egypt:

Kilties in front of the Sphinx

Alongside such standard tourist shots, are images that cannot be captured today, including the former Post Office in Yangon, Myanmar (then known as Rangoon, Burma), which was badly damaged by an earthquake on May 5th, 1930:

Or this image of the Victoria Clock Tower in Christchurch, New Zealand, with horses, carts, and an electric streetcar passing by:

Victoria Clocktower in Christchurch, new Zealand

This map from Flickr gives an idea of the number and location of the photographs taken:

Organizing a round-the-world tour in 1908 was quite an undertaking, and Thomas Power seems to have been a genius at promoting the Kilties. The band members always wore their kilts, even when they weren’t performing, and the photographs show huge Kilties posters displayed at the towns where their shows were hosted. This sign was put up in Masterton, New Zealand:

Kilties next to a Kilties advertisement in Masterton, New Zealand

Local newspapers were flooded with advertisements to ensure an audience. Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald from August 15th, 1908:

The photograph album was presented to Lena Power (Thomas’s wife) at Christmas 1910 by a man only identified as ‘Heine’. It was donated to the Community Archives one hundred years later by John D. Ryan. All the photographs have now been digitized and made available online, allowing everyone to explore the globe as the Kilties experienced it in 1908-1910.

By | August 30th, 2017|Featured item, News|1 Comment

Crime after Crime

Archivists are guided by collecting policies, also called acquisition policies, when it comes to deciding what to add to our collections. These might be determined by the geographical area that an archives covers, or perhaps by subject matter. In the case of the Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County, our general remit is a geographical one: we collect materials which reflect the activities of people in our area. If materials are brought to us that would be more appropriately kept by another archival institution we normally advise the owner to take it there, or send it there ourselves.

But there are always exceptions to rules and when this old volume arrived at the archives a few weeks ago, it became clear that this was going to be one of those cases.

The volume is ‘Circular Book 2’ and it was originally created by the Toronto Police Service, between 1929 and 1931 (and is therefore clearly outside of our collecting area!). However, the owner did not want to donate the book to an archives; they were just looking for some advice.

The book has seen better days: the spine is in a sorry state and the pages are very brittle, acidic and crumbling. We were concerned that the volume would only deteriorate further and suggested to the owner that we photograph the pages, so that the information could be saved and made available to researchers before the condition of the book got any worse. They agreed and were happy for us to share the images online.

Pasted on to 273 pages of this book are wanted posters (or circulars) from police departments and private detective agencies across North America. Sometimes the pages were annotated with information on the date and location of the arrest of the suspect. The photographs of these pages have now been added to our collection as digital files (2017-70) and are all available on Flickr.

These notices were produced at the height of Prohibition in the USA and they include one for Fred Burke, the man suspected of committing the Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1919.

There are many posters about men who escaped from prison, including Frank Grigware, who escaped from the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1910 (on a hijacked locomotive) and ultimately settled down in Alberta under the name James Fahey.

The faces staring up from these posters are overwhelmingly male: there are only two female criminals out of around 500 identified in the book. One of these was Dorothy Cherris, who was wanted in Houston, Texas for involvement in gang murders.

Dorothy and her husband, John were members of a gang of bank robbers.  John was shot in the head by fellow gangsters on August 30th, 1931 and his body was dumped in the Brazos river near East Columbia, Texas. Two weeks later, Dorothy was killed in a car accident near Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Cross-references from inside the volume suggest that there were at least three other ‘Circular books’ maintained by the Toronto police service. This one somehow ended up in Belleville and was rescued by its current owner during someone else’s house move. We don’t know if any of the other volumes survive, but at least the contents of this one are now available for research. Its pages give us an interesting glimpse into police procedure and criminal activity across North America between 1929 and 1931.

By | August 25th, 2017|Featured item, News|0 Comments