In 2018, our Archives Assistant (student), Sonya, started processing the Vader-Grimm Family fonds. Unfortunately, she didn’t have time to complete the processing before her time at the Archives ended. Since the pandemic began, we’ve had more time to dedicate to processing and turned our attention back to this fonds in order to get it finished and available for all to see and reference. We are so pleased to announce that we have now completed processing the Vader-Grimm Family fonds!
The Vader-Grimm Family fonds consists of 27.5 cm of textual material, 835 photographs, 692 photographic negatives, and 2 oral histories. The Vader-Grimm Family fonds tells the story and history of two separate families, the Vaders (from Spirit River) and the Grimms (from Rycroft), which came together with the marriage of Ora and Edith in 1943. The textual material consists of family history and genealogy books, estate and funerary paperwork, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and account books from running the family farm among other records. The photographs depict farm life and work, family life, schoolchildren, WWII training, and landscapes in and around the Peace Country.
This fonds will be available for in-person consultation once we open the Archives back up to the public. In the meantime, the finding aid is available to look through on our website: Fonds 676 Vander-Grimm Family fonds, and a selection of digitized photographs are viewable on Alberta on Record.
Photo: Three Adolescents with Baseball Gloves (SPRA 676.03.03.09.078)
Earlier this year, the Archives’ volunteer and Vice President Gail Prette, celebrated a special birthday milestone! As a result of the ongoing pandemic, she was forced to cancel her birthday plans and find a new way to mark the occasion. Gail turned to social media, where she asked her friends and family to make a donation to the Archives in lieu of attending a party. Over the next several months, donations were made on Facebook (through Giving Fund Canada) in Gail’s name. The Archives recently received a cheque for $475 for Gail’s birthday fundraiser. Additional cash donations made in Gail’s name brought the total to a whopping $585! Gifts such as these help the Archives continue our mission of gathering, preserving, and sharing the historical records of the South Peace. We are incredibly thankful for these generous donations, and to Gail Prette for her continued support of our organization.
Photograph: NAR Tressle over Bear Creek GP (SPRA 0256.02.24)
We are excited to announce the recent completion of an accrual to the Schenk family fonds (fonds 256). Although we have been closed to the public due to the ongoing pandemic, we have remained hard at work making records accessible for public use. Processing the accrual to the Schenk family fonds has been one of our many recent projects that we are thrilled to share the results with you!
This accrual has added 12 new photos, 50 cm of textual material, 9 maps, and 1 piece of artwork to the Schenk family collection. The photographs include the Schenk family, soldiers from WWII, scenes of the NAR railway, and images of early Grande Prairie including one staff favorite: the NAR wooden train bridge over Bear Creek. All 9 maps relate to the forestry industry of Alberta and the South Peace Region, including a detailed set of four maps made for the Alberta Forest Service. Each map covers all of Alberta and has a different overlay pertaining to Forest Service Air Operations including: a fuel cache overlay, a fire bombing overlay, an air patrol overlay, and a base map with no overlay. The most substantial portion of this accrual was the 50cm of new textual material. These records contain Forestry employment records from Dave and Melba Schenk, daily journals, newspaper clippings, handbooks, pamphlets, documentation books and many other unique documents. Some interesting highlights in the textual materials include an Alberta Liquor Board price list from 1955, WWII ration books that belonged to the Schenk family, and a newspaper clipping announcing the arrival of King George VI and the Queen Mother to Canada on a royal tour.
The newly updated finding aid, containing an in-depth description of the material, is now available on our South Peace Regional Archives website: Fonds 256 Schenk family fonds. A selection of the photographs are also available on Alberta on Record for your viewing pleasure. We encourage you to browse these new resources and, once the Archives reopens to the public, schedule a visit to see these documents in person.
Although the archives is still closed to the public, our staff have been hard at work completing behind-the-scenes work to achieve our institutional goals. With the closure of the reading room and cancellation of public events, we have been able to dedicate more time to processing records for public use.
Vital to processing is determining what material our repository will keep and what will be deaccessioned. Deccessioning is a routine procedure of removing materials from the holdings that occurs while appraising or reappraising archival records. There are many reasons why we might choose to deaccession materials. In some cases, materials may not be useful or relevant to our mandate. They may also be deaccesioned if they cannot be properly stored, preserved, or made accessible. Where possible, these concerns are generally addressed during the donation process, before the materials are accepted. However, there are always items that require further examination before a decision can be made, particularly when accepting large archival donations.
In recent months, we have identified a number of books and pamphlets within our unprocessed holdings that were originally intended for the SPRA reference library. On closer inspection, these books were not local to the South Peace and thus did not meet the mandate of our institution. After consulting with the donors of the books, we determined that the best method of deaccession would be by transfer to another archival institution. Our staff created an inventory and reached out to our fellow institutional members of the Archives Society of Alberta to find a home for the books. The response was overwhelmingly positive! We have now successfully relocated 26 books to new homes at archival institutions across Alberta. These were carefully (and colorfully) packaged by Archives Assistant Kaydence and mailed out last week. The books will now be able to serve their intended purpose in the communities that will benefit from them most.
The South Peace Regional Archives is currently hiring two contract positions to assist with upcoming projects: Archives Technician (Indigenous Records Project) and Archives Technician (Multimedia Project).
Are you interested in Indigenous records, Reconciliation, or historical photographs? The Indigenous Records Project will examine records within 56 fonds, previously identified as containing Indigenous content, in order to provide culturally-appropriate descriptions and contextual information. The project will increase access to approximately 300 Indigenous-related archival photographs and paper artifacts through digitization and promotion on social media.
Are you interested in film, educational outreach, or social media? The Multimedia Project will increase public access to the South Peace Regional Archives’ film collections using our YouTube, blog, and Facebook page. By increasing access to our archival films, this project will help us educate, inform, and inspire our community on local history.
The South Peace Regional Archives is pleased to introduce the newest member of our team. Stephanie Friesen has recently moved from Vancouver, BC to work as the new SPRA Archivist. Please join us in welcoming her to Grande Prairie and the Archives!
Hello everyone, my name is Stephanie Friesen and I originally hail from a small town in Manitoba. I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Masters in Archival Studies. Before starting my master’s degree in BC, I completed an undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Saskatchewan. During my time completing that degree, I was fascinated to learn how archival sources contributed immensely to a particular archaeological study. I also wanted to be able to facilitate research and widen people’s knowledge into the past (without personally digging in the dirt). This led me to becoming an Archivist!
My most recent position before coming to the South Peace region was as the Archivist and Records Manager at an independent school in Metro Vancouver. Another previous position I held was as a Collections Assistant at the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. In that position I was involved in a digitization pilot program where I digitized records held at a partner institution in order to make them more accessible to Survivors and other researcher through the RSHDC’s website. Before that, I was a records management co-op student with a large department at UBC where I was involved in a server migration project. I also spent a summer working for the Rossland Museum & Discover Centre as their Assistant Archivist.
I’m so excited to be the new Archivist at the South Peace Regional Archives and to begin learning all about this community. I look forward to meeting with many of you in the future.
Image: Convalescent home at Paignton, Devon, England, 1918 (SPRA 1969.59.331)
Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.
Rank: Lieutenant; Captain
Branch: South African Cavalry; South African Infantry; Royal Air Force
Arthur was born in Cape Town, South Africa on February 22, 1889. He served in West Africa and France with the South African Army during World War I. Arthur was severely wounded at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme on July 16, 1916. A citation reads:
“A bombing party under Lieut. Craig attempted to rush across 40 yards of ground which lay between the British and enemy trenches. Coming under very heavy rifle and machine gun fire the officer and the majority of the party were killed or wounded. Unable to move, Lieut. Craig lay midway between the two lines of trench, the ground being quite open. In full daylight Pte. Faulds, accompanied by two other men, climbed over the parapet, ran out, and picked up the officer, and carried him back, one man being severely wounded in so doing.”
Arthur eventually arrived in the South African Military Hospital in Richmond, England, having been taken to the dressing station and then by stretcher bearers to the South African Hospital at Abberville, the closest to the front line. Once he healed, he left the South African Infantry and joined the Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF). It was with the Corps that he was shot down in the observational balloon, again injured, this time receiving the steel plate in his head.
In 1919, Arthur came to the Peace Country with his brother George and filed on homesteads at NW 7-73-11-W6, NW 12-74-11-W6, and NE 12-73-12-W6. He canceled all three. Arthur met his wife, Marjorie Lily Marshall, in Edmonton in 1924. He later worked in silver mines in different parts of Idaho. Arthur died in Idaho in 1958 (1968?).
If you’ve received your copy of Telling Our Stories, you will already have had a glimpse inside the “Western Birds” book written and illustrated by eleven-year-old Cecile Sandboe Angen in 1931. Cecile’s family contributed a digitized copy of this book, as well as a selection of family photographs, to be shared in our magazine. The following biography was written by Cecile’s daughter, Gail Risvold.
It is appropriate to write about my mom in this edition of your magazine because she was always interested in birds. She put bird feeders out and she took great pleasure in observing which birds would come to visit. One time when she was visiting us in Hinton my husband Ross and Mom sat on our patio and watched the different birds that came for a drink in our backyard pond. I decided it was time to clean the pond and put in fresh water but I also added an ingredient that got rid of algae. The instructions stated that it was safe to use and it would not cause harm to any animals including birds. BUT the birds did not agree! They did not come back for a drink and I felt bad because I deprived Mom of the pleasure they had experienced. They quickly drained the water without me knowing and the birds returned.
Mom started school in Taco, Saskatchewan. Then the family moved back to LaGlace and she attended Buffalo Lake School, a one-room schoolhouse. Mom and her siblings would walk 3.5 miles each way and in winter they traveled to school with a horse and sleigh.
Mom was very responsible and obedient. Ted Heimdal sat behind Mom in school. He would bug and aggravate Mom on a regular basis. One day Ted kept poking Mom with his stick pen. Mom got so mad she smacked him with her ruler. The class, including the teacher, heard the smack. Mom thought she would get in trouble but instead she noticed Mrs. Maple turn away to hide her smile. I guess she thought Ted deserved what he got.
Mom was also a hard worker, a wonderful cook and a great home maker. She was intelligent and very creative. She started oil painting later in life and did fantastic paintings. We laughed at her when we played Pictionary because she was not able to draw a simple, quick picture. She painstakingly tried to draw a perfect picture but she always ran out of time.
Mom was the daughter of Carl and Clara Sandboe. She was born on September 27, 1920 in LaGlace. She was their first child and she was delivered by a midwife in the house where Ed and Guero Torgerson lived, about a mile north of LaGlace. Carl and Clara had six other children and the bond was very strong with the Sandboe family.
Mom married Olaf Angen on June 21, 1941. They had three children – Garry, Gail and Rosemarie. They had four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Family was so important to Mom and she treasured time spent with family members.
Mom lived her final years in Pioneer Lodge and she died on December 7, 2015 at the age of 95 years.
On March 16th, the South Peace Regional Archives closed to the public, amid rising cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) throughout Alberta and the rest of Canada. This closure resulted in an abrupt halt to all in-person donations, research requests, and volunteer work at the Archives as well as the cancellation of all public outreach events. The Board of Directors voted to postponed the AGM, originally scheduled for March 28th, until further notice.
The safety of our staff, volunteers, and members of the public remains the Archives’ first priority. The Archives will remain closed to the public until it is possible for us to reopen safely. Updates on the Archives’ services, including any plans for reopening, will be posted on our website and Facebook page.
While the South Peace Regional Archives remain closed to the public, our staff have been hard at work completing vital behind-the-scenes tasks to support our mission of gathering, preserving, and sharing the historical records of our region. Archives staff are also available via phone and email during regular business hours to provide remote research assistance. Thank you for your ongoing support!