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Description found in Archives

Harry Palmer fonds [graphic material and textual record]. 



Place of creation


8732 photographs b&w negatives.
2578 photographs col. transparencies.
351 photographs col. negatives.
1168 photographs proof sheets, b&w, col., transparencies.
264 photographs b&w.
50 cm textual records.

Scope and content

Photographic material, mostly black and white negatives and colour transparencies, as well as 264 "fine prints", related to the career of Harry Palmer, a Calgary-based photographer who has published a number of books since 1980, including "Calgary People and Places", "125 Companions of the Order of Canada", "Sentinels", "Je Me Souviens", and other photographic projects and essays. Mr. Palmer also photographed in the Canadian Arctic, while still an employee of Dome Petroleum, and carried out photography projects on Prairie towns, grain elevators, and people, various districts of Calgary, and European and Canadian war cemeteries and memorials. There is also a small amount of textual material relating to his work in the fonds. The textual material includes model releases from many of those having sat for formal portraits (as in the Companions, Calgary People and Places, and Veterans series); permissions and requests for aid in his photography; mock-ups for Sentinels and Je Me Souviens books; catalogues of his work; correspondence and other material relating to all of his photographic projects. All of the photographs in the fonds were taken for one or another of the following self-assignments, and these were often developed over a period of several years (the actual time frames for each can be determined from the negative numbers found in each assignment): Canadian Arctic Series (done while still an employee of Dome Petroleum, but based on several years' of experience in the Arctic); Places and People; Ramsey, Calgary (an extension in the 1990s, of his earlier work on Calgary, dealing with two older districts in the city); Companions of the Order of Canada (done over the period 1984-1991, selected from portrait sittings done with 139 Companions); an essay on the people of Quebec City, done in their own words, which resulted in "Je Me Souviens"; images of the Prairies, including grain elevators, small town Alberta, and people in these towns; war cemeteries and memorials in France, Blegium, the Netherlands, and Canada; and War Veterans. Most if not all of the black and white negatives are also available as positives on contact sheets. None of the colour material, other than the 16 8x10 colour negatives, is available as prints.

Textual records
99: Closed pending processing
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
from 1 to 12
90: Open
Archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright Harry Palmer. Credit Harry Palmer/National Archives of Canada/copy negative number.

Photographs: Finding aid is a list of photographs (for accession 1989-051). FA-364 90 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

Harry Palmer (1930 - ) was born and raised in Calgary, but attended university in British Columbia in engineering, graduating in the early 1950s. He worked for several different firms in Calgary during the 1950s but in the 1960s joined his father in a family-owned farm implements manufacturing business. When this became uneconomic in the late 1960s he was employed by several petroleum corporations, and moved to Toronto in the early 1970s. While there he began to photograph, taking courses and workshops to improve his abilities. By the early 1980s he left his last employer and began photographing full time on a variety of self-assignments. His latest interests are more oriented to the use of the computer as an intermediary in the development of art.

Works located in: Canada Council Art Bank; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; National Archives of Canada: 1982-075; Alberta Wheat Pool Collection.

Exhibition(s): 1981, Boston Gallery, Ottawa. 1981, Muttart Gallery, Calgary. 1982, Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary. 1985, Companions of the Order of Canada, Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton and Whyte Museum, Banff (individual). creator

Additional information

Custodial history
All the material in the fonds was in the possession of the creator, Mr. Harry Palmer, prior to the acquisition of the material by the National Archives.

Source of title

Seven earlier accessions of photographic prints, acquired by the National Archives between 1983 and 1992, were created from the negatives in this fonds.

Arrangement note
The negatives are arranged according to size; within the 6 x 6 cm material the photographs are arranged according to project. Contact sheets relating to the negatives are, in the case of the 6 x 6 cm material, interfiled with the negatives.

Language note
Title information is written in English

Subject heading

Palmer, Harry, 1930


Related control no.

1. 1982-075 NPC
2. 1983-102 NPC
3. 1984-032 NPC
4. 1984-092 NPC
5. 1987-025 NPC
6. 1989-051 DAP
7. 1991-360 DAP
8. 119-080156-6
9. 1999-00157-5