HBC Archives: Photos Transcript


The Hudson's Bay Company Archives has a rich and varied photographic resource, and one of the largest photograph collections that we have is the Hudson's Bay house library. It consists of over 100 thousand photographs and a wide range of formats from prints to negatives to slides to larger transparencies.

It documents the business activities of the Hudson's Bay Company, its establishments, including its fur trade posts and its retail stores, its employees, and its particularly strong in its documentation of the north. Often the archives has the only photographic documentation of those communities for the early period.

It was originally started by The Beaver magazine in 1920, when it started publishing. The Beaver would commission different photographers to create images for the magazine, readers would send in photographs to the magazine as well, and employees and their families would also donate photographs.

Often the photographs for a particular post or a particular store will run from the very earliest times when it was established into the late 20th century. So you have a continuum of a record of how the post or the story changed over time.

There's particularly good documentation of the retail stores. The one in Winnipeg, for instance, has a documentation where it shows the building of the store from the ground up.

The collection is heavily used by researchers all over the world. We have requests from publishers, filmmakers, exhibitions, and of course genealogists use it for family history.

It's become this really rich and varied resource that we have here.