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ARCHIVED - William James Topley:
Reflections on a Capital Photographer

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Search Topley Records

Topley records may currently be searched using either the Archives' Basic Search or the Advanced Search. A more direct search mechanism for Topley records will appear here in the future. The following paragraphs provide added information and tips on searching for Topley records.

Searching for Topley Records:

The Topley Studio collection (accession number 1936-270) contains approximately 150,000 negatives (almost exclusively glass plates), as well as tens of thousands of prints in albums and counter books. There are just over 107,000 online caption entries for the Topley Studio collection. Approximately 11,000 of these records have digitized images, the rest have yet to be copied (this means that there is no copy negative and the only available image is the original item, which is usually the glass plate negative or the counter book).

The majority of the Topley records refer to the names of portrait sitters. Because many prominent politicians and civil servants were photographed at the Topley Studio, examples of the work produced and sold by the studio can also be found in almost 200 different archival fonds or collections.

In order to perform a Basic Search of the Topley Studio collection, researchers must type the following accession number into the keyword box: 1936-270. Searches can be limited by combining the aforementioned accession number with one or more keywords, such as the portrait sitter's name, the location or year (this search will sort through all item level records that contain the desired keywords). It is not necessary to include quotation marks around the search terms. Topley records found in other fonds or collections can be searched by combining the name "Topley" with one or more keywords (note: this search will also include the Topley Studio collection).

Advanced Search allows researchers to search for Topley records in the Topley Studio collection as well as in other fonds or collections, with added options to further refine searches.

When searching for images with both the Basic and Advanced Search, researchers may look for both digitized and non-digitized images, or they may narrow their search in the "Online" box by selecting "yes" or "no".

Most records include a title (caption), a date, the name of the place where the photograph was taken, and the original catalogue number assigned by Topley.
LAC has plans to make available an interactive feature that will allow members of the public to add information pertaining to photographic records. Until this application is ready, please send information you have regarding any images taken by Topley to LAC using this form. Your information will be added to the online record and made available to other researchers.

Should you want to see an image that has not yet been digitized, you must request the photographic material from Reference Services, and make an appointment through them for a viewing.

With the exception of some albums which can be transported to the media research rooms at 395 Wellington Street, research in the Topley collection must be carried out at the Gatineau Preservation Centre (GPC) while accompanied by archival personnel. (Research in the counter books is restricted to those few which have been conserved.)