Hidden Gems in the Alpine Club of Canada Fonds
Updated: Nov 10, 2022
By Hannah Yuzwa, Archives Assistant
One of the things I love about working in an archive is that you never know what you are going to find!
My name is Hannah Yuzwa, and I am the Archives Assistant at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. I grew up in Calgary and attended the University of Lethbridge. While at school I was introduced to the archival profession. Working in the University Archives, I was amazed by the stories and connections that people discover within the collections. Since then, I have had the privilege to work in a variety of archival institutions which has grown my passion for cultural heritage. I was hired in August to process the Alpine Club of Canada collection and help make it available to the public. For the next several months, it will be my Everest (poor pun intended, sorry Chic Scott)!
Every day I am fascinated by the range and scope of this collection. Whether you are reading through signatures and adventures in hut registers, or sassy memos from a Canadian Alpine Journal editor, the wealth of information is remarkable.
One afternoon, as I sifted through the backlog, I came across a small package and a letter inside, with an address from Salt Lake City, Utah. From the moment I saw that letter, I knew I had found a gem.
In 1971, the author of the letter was working for a recycling company in Calgary. She was hired to clean out the office of a former Alpine Club president when she stumbled across a collection of black and white photographs from the early 1900s. She saved and kept them in a scrapbook for decades. In the fall of 2000, the author penned the letter and mailed the package of photographs in hopes of finding a proper home.
The package contained over 100 photographs of the Calgary Section at summits, club houses, camps, Sunday Services, and much more.
One of these extraordinary photographs has an inscription that reads, “Members of the A.C.C. in camp 1911”. In the photograph, multiple women are wearing pants, unorthodox for the mainstream society of the time. This photograph highlights the popularity and inclusion of women in the A.C.C. since its inception. Over the years, the Club has grown to include members from all over the globe.
The photographs in this package document an important part of the A.C.C.’s history. Their collection contains more stories like this and so much more! While these photographs have not been digitized yet, the Whyte Archives are open for research appointments from Tuesday to Friday, 1 pm to 5 p.m. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment today. You can also start your search of our collections on our website.
Image 1: [Photos CH Early ACC Camps], Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Alpine Club of Canada fonds (V14/M200/accn. 6376)