Fonds BF 26 - Frank Crean fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Frank Crean fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

Parallel title

Description type


Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Attributions and conjectures: The scrapbook of newspaper clippings may have been created, accumulated, or used by Robert Young (Superintendent of Railway Lands, Department of the Interior), but as it was acquired with other records relating to the Expedition, the decision was made to include them in the same fonds.

Level of description


Reference code

BF 26

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1908-1931 (Creation)
    Crean, Frank J.P. (Frank Joseph Patrick), 1875-1932
  • 1908-1931 (Creation)
    Canada. Dept of the Interior

Physical description area

Physical description

2 albums (329 photographs : prints, b&w)
0.080m of textual records

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Frank Joseph Patrick Crean was born in Dublin, Ireland to Michel Theobald and Emma Mary Crean (née Dunn) on March 6, 1875, the seventh of eight children. Crean and his brothers, John and Thomas, are thought to have attended Belvedere College [in Dublin?] before becoming boarders at Clongowes Wood College in Kildare.

In 1899 Crean enlisted with the 1st Royal Dragoons, Robert's Horse that served in the South African War. It appears that he subsequently came to Canada first in 1903 where he took a job with Bell Brothers Lumber Company of Prince Albert "cruising" timber. In February 1908, he accepted a position with the Railway Lands Branch, Department of the Interior and by August 1908 Crean was chosen to head a small party to travel into north-western Saskatchewan and north-eastern Alberta to evaluate the land, climate, vegetation, and animal life to determine the area's agricultural, forestry and mining potential, and to see if it would be satisfactory for settlement. This expedition, referred to as the New Northwest Exploration Expedition, was initially planned to last the one summer, but was extended to two after Crean submitted the first of two formal reports in April 1909. Crean submitted the final formal report to the Department of the Interior on May 2, 1910. His employment with the Department of the Interior ended in 1913 when he resigned his post.

After leaving the Department of the Interior, Crean briefly worked as an agent for the Canada Life Assurance Company and then worked with his brother-in-law in High River, Alberta. In January 1915, Crean enlisted in the Canadian Army, initally with the Mounted Rifles (12th Regiment), but requested his discharge a month later. He thereafter became commissioned as a lieutenant in the active militia of the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, spending the remainder of 1915 at the Brandon internment centre for enemy aliens before being removed from duty. He then re-enlisted for overseas service and joined the (Calgary) Second Canadian Tunnelling Company in France in March 1916. However, in October of 1916 he was sent back to Canada and remained in the service until 1917. Following the war, Crean lived in a variety of locations, such as Ottawa, Toronto, and Belle River, Ontario and was employed in several occupations.

On January 19, 1909, Crean married Josephine Mary Gigot in Nelson, British Columbia. Frank Crean died December 18, 1932 and Josephine passed away in March 1963. The couple did not have children.

Name of creator


Biographical history

In 1869, the Government of Canada finalized an agreement with the Hudson’s Bay Company to acquire Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an area that incorporates all of the present-day provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, part of British Columbia and all of Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. To centralize the administration and promote the settlement and development of this newly-acquired territory, the Department of the Interior was established by the federal government in 1873. During its 63 years of existence, the Department established a multitude of branches and sub-agencies, with most focused on its core areas of operation related to land sales and survey, First Nations and Métis relations, natural resource development and immigration in western Canada. For periods of time, the Department also administered functions of government that involved operations in all areas of the country, such as immigration, museums, national parks, tourism and geological surveys. Several branches operated within the Department of the Interior evolved into separate agencies or departments of the federal government, including Indian Affairs, Immigration, the Geological Survey of Canada, Parks Canada, and the North-West Mounted Police.

In 1930, the federal government transferred all responsibility for crown land and natural resource administration to the provinces. In Saskatchewan, these functions were assumed by the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of the Interior ceased to exist on December 1, 1936. Its remaining functions were amalgamated with those of the Departments of Mines, Immigration and Indian Affairs to create the Department of Mines and Resources.

Custodial history

The Saskatchewan Archives Board purchased some of these records from Photographic Antiquarian (Canada) Ltd. in July 1978. The records were assigned accession number S79-80.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by Frank Crean, primarily in his capacity as the leader of the New Northwest Exploration Expedition or by one of his assistants during the Expedition, William Caldwell in 1908 and Alfred Beale in 1909. Under the direction of the Department of the Interior, the Expedition was intended to evaluate the agricultural, forestry, and mining potential of north-western Saskatchewan and north-eastern Alberta. Between 1908 and 1909, the expedition made at least two trips to these regions.

The types of records included are correspondence with the Department of the Interior, a scrapbook (composed of newspaper clippings on exploration of the Canadian northwest), albums (containing photographs, primarily taken by Crean and documenting the New Northwest Exploration Expedition, with a small number from an apparent third expedition to north-eastern Alberta in 1910), and a copy of Crean's 1931 report entitled, 'The Winnipeg and English Rivers Prior to Power Development.'

No series assignment has been applied to the records described in this fonds.

Notes area

Physical condition

Records are in fair condition.

Immediate source of acquisition


Arrangement of photographs reflects original order.
Record identifiers were assigned to the photographs in the largest album first and any identical photographs were assigned the same identifiers with the remaining images numbers assigned consecutively.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Copy negatives and prints are available for some of the photographs.

Restrictions on access

Records are open for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication, and/or reproduction of records are subject to Crown copyright. Please consult reference archivist for assistance.

To consult the records, visit or contact the Saskatoon office.

Finding aids

SAFA 39 (old guide S-PG9) consists of a fonds description and item descriptions of photographs found in albums.

Associated materials

Associated material: Other records of Frank Crean and the New Northwest Exploration Expedition are held by Library and Archives Canada.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Some of the photographs appear in published Federal Government reports regarding the expedition, as well as in "The New Northwest: The Photographs of the Frank Crean Expeditions, 1908-1909" written by Bill Waiser.
Some of the photographs are available at the Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture (; Last accessed 2012-01-17)
Location for retrieval: Saskatoon - Murray.


Conservation practices in place at the time of processing were applied to the records in this fonds.

Alpha-numeric designations

Textual records: S-X147
Photographs: Old guide S-PG 9 (S-B8792 to S-B9120)

Alternative identifier(s)

Original ID

BF 26

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

BF 26

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.



Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin


Content of the fonds.

Accession area