Fonds F 452 - W.J. James fonds

Horse drawn float in a Prince Albert parade - Medical-Hall, Chas. McDonald Horse drawn float in a Prince Albert parade - Medical-Hall, Chas. McDonald A Christmas tree decorated with small presents, beside a fireplace Large number of piles of lumber A young man standing beside a small tent strung between trees and a cook stove on the ground Fort Qu'Appelle Cycling Club standing with their bicycles in front of the Hudson Bay Company store Buggy drawn by prize horse on road Binder drawn by four horses at work in field of wheat Prince Albert - arches on bank of river with banner "P.A. to the Bay" "Northwest" steamboat on the North Saskatchewan River near Edmonton
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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

W.J. James fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material

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Description type


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Level of description


Reference code

F 452

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


  • ca. 1890 to 1940s (Creation)
    James, William John, 1870-1944

Physical description area

Physical description

ca. 3600 photographs

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

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Numbering within publisher's series

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

William John (W.J.) James was born on December 23, 1870 to William, Sr. and Maria James of the Fordwich area, Howick Township, Huron County, Ontario. His father was a blacksmith and carriage maker in Ontario, and first travelled west with the Wolseley Red River Expedition in 1870.

W.J. James came to Prince Albert, Northwest Territories ca.1890. His family followed around 1893. Both James and his father were employed by the James Sanderson sawmill as labourers. W.J. James became a barber while also establishing a photograph business briefly with W.J. Jackson in 1894. James continued in barbering while also working as an itinerant photographer in the 1890s. He hired Theodore Charmbury as a photographer in his studio between 1901 and 1903, and operated a branch studio at Indian Head in 1904-1906. James operated the City Art Studio (1909-1919) and W.J. James & Co. (est.1927) in Prince Albert until his retirement in the mid-1930s.

James' professional career as an itinerant, commercial and portrait photographer spanned over forty years during which he travelled extensively in the Prince Albert district and northern parkland regions of Saskatchewan documenting settlement, local industry and everyday life. William John James died on September 9, 1944 in Prince Albert and is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Prince Albert.

W.J. James married Maude Rebecca Courtney on April 27, 1904 in Prince Albert. They had four children: Mossie; "Eva" Eunice; Norma; and Murl.

Custodial history

The majority of photographs were purchased from William John James' daughter in September, 1958 (accession number 483) and from the Prince Albert Historical Society in 1962 (accession number 696).
The Provincial Archives of Manitoba donated one photograph to the Regina office in 1989: R89-005 (January 4, 1989).

Scope and content

This fonds consists of approximately 3,200 to 3,600 prints, glass plate negatives, nitrate negatives and negatives including panoramic views and commercial images of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and district taken by William James, photographer. The black and white images, which date from ca.1890 to the 1930s, include 550 panoramic views taken by Cirkut camera.

No series has been applied to the photographs.

Notes area

Physical condition

Photographs are in good physical condition.

Immediate source of acquisition


No arrangement applied to the photographs.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Location for retrieval: Regina-Hillsdale.

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Records are open for research use.

Glass plate negatives and nitrate negatives are not available for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of the Copyright Act.

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

Finding aids

SAFA 360 consists of a fonds description.

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

Associated material: The Prince Albert Historical Society has photographic records of the W.J. James fonds in its permanent collection.
Related material: The William John James family fonds (F 500) contains 33 photographs of William James, his family and City Art Studio at Prince Albert.
R-E2303: Catalogue and other material relating to a 1986 exhibition of James' photographs at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Some electronic copies of photographs are available in Archival Digital Storage.


Photographs were placed in mylar sleeves. Reference prints of glass plate negatives and nitrate negatives were made for research use.

Alpha-numeric designations

Photographs: R-A1952, R-A4330 to R-A4347; R-A4364 to R-A4631; R-A4666 to R-A4680; R-A4912; R-A6662 to R-A6663; R-A6666 to R-A6670; R-A10981; R-A12535 to R-A12536, R-A12800; R-A14498; R-A16462 to R-A16570;
R-B378; R-B1198; R-B1564 to R-B1725; R-B1729 to R-B1766; R-B3285 to R-B3325; R-B3328 to R-B3343; R-B3642; R-B3859 to R-B3861; R-B3912; R-B3913; R-B10112; R-B14465;
R-D464 to R-D633; R-D950 to R-D1280; R-D1811.

Alternative identifier(s)

Original ID

SAFA 360

Standard number area

Standard number

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Control area

Description record identifier

F 452

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions

Saskatchewan Archives. Archival Description Manual 2004.



Level of detail

Language of description

  • English

Script of description

  • Latin


Content of fonds.

Accession area

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