Back to the Community Book Sale: Copies From the Collection
Updated: Oct 25
By Kayla Cazes, Librarian/Reference Archivist
This October, the Whyte Museum Archives and Special Collections department offers a rare opportunity to add a bit of history to your library. Join the Whyte Museum for Back to the Community Book Sale: Copies of the Collection, a special book event held October 27, 2023, for Whyte Museum members and donors, and October 28-29, 2023, for the general public. Items will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
“I love the idea that people have the opportunity to add some hard-to-find titles to their own collection, with the added thrill of knowing that the book may have been part of someone’s personal library, with a historic connection to the Bow Valley,” said Elizabeth Kundert-Cameron, Director of Archives and Special Collections.
An impressive array of publications will be available, sure to delight bibliophiles, historians, naturalists, cartophiles, and the curious. There are books of literature and poetry, of travel and mountain adventure. And from naturalist Ben Gadd, there is a bounty of books for the public to choose from pertaining to natural history. Maps range from early Rocky Mountains Park of 1922 to topographical maps of the 1980s, while vintage pamphlets showcase a Banff from many eras.
Up to 1400 books, maps, magazines, and pamphlets dating from the late 1800s to mid-2000s will be available for sale, many of which would have lined the shelves of prominent historical figures like Bill Peyto, Pearl Brewster Moore, and Whyte Museum founders Catharine Robb Whyte and Peter Whyte. What someone reads can tell you a lot about them. This book sale provides the opportunity to own a little bit of Banff's famous locals' library and to step into their lives. Learn more about these well-known historical locals below.
Dorothy Wardle (1913–2003)
Dot, Dorie, Dorothy was a local woman who as a child attended the Mountain School (205 Grizzly St.) in Banff, run by Margaret Greenham. Her father was the Superintendent of Banff National Park from 1918-1921, Chief Engineer for Parks Canada from 1921-1935, and Deputy Minister of the Interior from 1935-1936.
A passionate and proud protector of Banff National Park, she was also a long-term volunteer here at the Whyte.
Lillian Gest (1898–1986)
Lillian was not Canadian and lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, she visited the Canadian Rockies almost every single summer for over 60 years. She began her love affair with the Rockies in 1921. She was Director of the Lake O’Hara Trails Club, and often rode with mountain adventurer Caroline Hinman. Her last visit to Lake O’Hara was in1981.
Sam Ward (1884–1973)
Sam was a builder and finishing carpenter in Banff, Alberta. Sam and Louisa Ward, 1884-1970, came to Banff in 1912. Alongside Vern Castella, Sam worked on various carpentry work on the Whyte Home, which is still on our grounds today. He and his wife were close with Peter Whyte and Catharine Robb Whyte. Sam Ward was quite the singer and known for music hall recitations.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Rummel (1897–1980)
Lizzie was a lodge owner and operator in Banff National Park, Alberta and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. Rummel was born Elisabeth von Rummel to an aristocratic German family. Her forty-two year career in the mountains included: working at Mount Assiniboine Lodge until 1942; managing Skoki Lodge and, at various times, Temple Chalet and Lake Louise Ski Lodge, ca.1943-1950; owning and operating Sunburst Lake Camp, 1950-1970; and working as assistant and oral history interviewer at the Archives of the Canadian Rockies (now the Archives of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies) from 1966 to 1980.
Catharine Robb Whyte (1906–1979)
Born in Concord, Massachusetts, growing up amongst the wealth and creativity of the Robb and Morse families, she began her studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, 1925-1929. Here she would meet the love of her life Peter Whyte, eventually marrying and moving to Banff.
Catharine was an artist, photographer, traveller, outdoor enthusiast, and philanthropist, she was heavily involved in the Banff community. She was also co-founder of the Whyte Museum alongside her husband, Peter Whyte.
Peter Whyte (1905–1966)
Peter, also known as ‘Pete,’ was born at Banff in 1905 to settler merchant Dave White and Annie (Curren) White. He was an accomplished skier and ski jumper and one of the region's first local-born painters. He had an intimate knowledge of the mountains and was an active photographer throughout his life. Peter Whyte studied art at the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1923-1924, and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, 1925-1929. He was co-founder of the Whyte Museum alongside his wife, Catharine Robb Whyte.
Ebenezer William (Bill) Peyto (1868–1943)
Bill was a guide, outfitter, prospector, and national park warden at Banff, Alberta. He was prominent among the early trail guides of the Rockies, beginning a colourful career around 1893. He led a number of mountaineers into climbing regions until ca.1910. Bill served in both the Boer and First World Wars, worked a talc mine on the edge of Banff National Park, and was a national park warden for over twenty years, retiring in 1937. Peyto Lake, Peyto Glacier, Peyto Peak, and Trapper Peak were named in his honour.
Norman Bethune Sanson (1862–1949)
Norman was a naturalist, meteorologist, and museum curator in Banff, Alberta. Born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of a prominent clergyman, he developed a life-long interest in natural history as a boy.
In 1896 he was appointed curator of the Park Museum and also worked as zookeeper for the Banff Zoo. From 1896 until 1931, Sanson was meteorological officer and curator of the Park Museum. In 1903 an observatory was built on Sulphur Mountain on a site chosen by Sanson.
During the period 1903-1931, Sanson made one thousand ascents of Sulphur Mountain to collect weather records. In 1948, the Dominion Government acknowledged his many years of service by naming a peak on the mountain for him.
Nicholas (Nick) Everard Morant (1910–1999)
Nick was a professional photographer based in Banff, Alberta. He was a Canadian commercial photographer of international repute and Canada's premier railway photographer of the 20th century. Nick served as Special Photographer to the Canadian Pacific Railway from 1929 to 1935 and again from 1944 to 1981.
Nick had a prolific career as a freelance commercial, portrait, magazine, landscape, and documentary photographer. He married Ivy May "Willie" Young in 1936 when he was a photographer with the Winnipeg Free Press. Willie was his travelling and working companion until 1986.
Justin James McCarthy (Jimmy) Simpson (1877-1972)
Jimmy was a trapper, guide and outfitter, and lodge owner in Banff and Bow Lake, Alberta. Born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Simpson was sent to Canada by his family in 1896. He worked briefly at Laggan (Lake Louise), Alberta for the Canadian Pacific Railway, travelled extensively and returned to the Rockies.
By the early 1900s, he was a successful guide and outfitter with Carl Rungius and the Alpine Club of Canada as clients.
Starting in 1920, Simpson began building Num-Ti-Jah Lodge at Bow Lake as a base for hunting and climbing parties. Simpson and Williamina (Billie) Ross Reid, 1891-1968, married in 1916 and had three children.
The lodge was run mainly by Billie Simpson and in 1945 the business was turned over to Jimmy Simpson Jr., 1922-2003 . Daughters Margaret Simpson, 1917-1941, and Mary Simpson (Hallock), 1919-2002, were internationally-famous figure skaters.