Summer 2004

Volume 23 Number 4


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Jasper-Yellowhead completes projects
Meghan Power, Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives

The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives has recently finished two important grant projects and we would like to share a bit about them with the rest of you. The personal fonds of Abe Reimer, a resident of the area between 1920 and 1950, was a project made possible by financial assistance from the Government of Canada through the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives and a matched donation from Mike Wasuita (Pine Bungalows and Board Member) and Connie Bjorkquist (Pine Bungalows), two valued patrons of the Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives.

Abe Reimer was a guide and outfitter in Jasper and Tete Jaune. He also worked seasonally for Milner's Dairy (providing Jasper residents with milk). Later on, Reimer owned and operated the haying operation in Hinton. The Abe Reimer fonds is an important addition to our archives because it offers fresh insight into the early development of Jasper National Park and the Yellowhead corridor (Hinton to Tete Jaune Cache), industry, and unique personal reflections from women involved in Reimer's life. The fonds was donated by Jacquie (Truxler) Hannington, whose family has an extraordinary history in Jasper National Park, and we at the archives appreciate that she keeps us in mind.

The Abe Reimer fonds project was worked on by Dee Dee Bartlett, who has worked with JYMA since 1991 on a number of different grant projects for the archives. Dee Dee found the Reimer fonds particularly interesting because of the many photographs pertaining to industries that are no longer permitted in the park. The fonds also includes correspondence that gives us a better understanding of what it was like for women living in the area and what it was like for them to deal with the domestic expectations of the time. Much of the correspondence occurs during World War II and expresses the realities and difficulties faced in a time of war and illustrates the long reaching effects of a war happening on another continent. One photograph, in particular, created a bit of a frenzy and made Dee Dee a very popular person among local history buffs, because it is the only known image (in the area) of a jack ladder, a device used for transporting railway ties and logs via a waterway.

The Abe Reimer fonds is of great historic value and we have no doubt that it will satisfy the hunger of researchers hunting for documentation and images pertaining to early life and homesteading in the area and, as well, of industries that have gone in and out of favour with those in charge of regulating the national park.

Our second project was the Jasper Booster fonds project. The Jasper Booster is our local paper and the project involved decades of old Booster photographs of Jasper residents and many community events and special occasions. The project was made possible by an ASA grant and the invaluable expertise of Dee Dee Bartlett. The Jasper Booster fonds came to us through serendipitous circumstances. Fred Kofin, our bookkeeper and most dedicated fundraiser/volunteer, was dropping something off at the Jasper Booster headquarters when he noticed a box of photographs sitting by the door. He inquired about them and was told that they were destined for the local landfill. Fred, being the smooth talker he is (which is why he is in charge of the historical society's memberships), was able to convince the Booster to donate the images to the archives and continue to contribute to the fonds.

The Jasper Booster signed over 1500 photographs, of which 800 were selected. Unfortunately, many of the images were beginning to show signs of deterioration and there was concern for their condition. Luckily, Hugh Lecky (a local professional photographer) offered to donate some of his time to copy the images and thereby reduce handling of the originals. The fonds is one that has particular significance to the archives because the photographs depict community events, sporting events, school events, and images that are relevant to the development of Jasper as a community, and because, in many cases, the fonds will be the only source of the images and therefore an important research tool for local researchers. And, if you really need to get back at someone, pulling out a picture of them partaking in some wacky local event during the crazy seventies usually does the trick.

Descriptions and images from both the Jasper Booster fonds and the Abe Reimer fonds will be available on ANA and on Alberta InSight at the Alberta Society of Archives web site