This book is a pictorial history of the geographic area known today as the province of Saskatchewan. In the brief time that the region has been a part of Canada, it has undergone dramatic and fundamental changes. A highly mechanized, agricultural economy has developed where a buffalo-and-fur-trade economy once existed. Nomadic Indian encampments have been replaced by cities, towns, and villages, linked together by a complex network of roads and railways. Saskatchewan has become the home of diverse peoples, representing different racial, cultural, and religious groups. Both its society and government have grown and developed in complexity to meet changing needs. The development of the province has been affected by participation in two World Wars and by a shattering drought and depression, which caused widespread unemployment and social unrest. The illustrations and text which appear in this book have been selected to represent some aspects of these developments.
For the purposes of the present study, photography has provided the main documentation, but drawings, cartoons, broadsheets, pamphlets, and newspapers have also been used. Appropriate textual material from diaries, letters, reminiscences, travelers' accounts, books, and other publications has been used to augment the story told by the pictures. The textual material is not intended either to provide a full history of the particular event or scene depicted nor, in its totality, to take the place of a narrative history.
There are many ways of looking at the past, and the point of view of the writer or historian will determine what kind of history is produced. The medium used to tell the story also has a profound effect on the result. The decision to tell the history of Saskatchewan with visual material
and brief quotations from written documents imposed very definite limits. The reader will not find here a definitive or analytical history of Saskatchewan. While in the main a chronological arrangement has been followed, it has not been possible to show all of the developments of our history. This volume is intended to be a companion volume to an analytical, narrative history of Saskatchewan. When read in conjuction with its more orthodox companion, it is hoped that it will add to the readers' understanding of our past.
Photographs are historical documents in the same way that letters, diaries, and business and government records are. In researching for this book, every effort has been made to establish the authenticity of each photograph, but it must be admitted that in many cases it has not been possible to do so because little is known about the provenance of some of the photographs. Repeatedly, for example, I have had to report in the picture credits that the photographer is unknown. Often little is known about the circumstances under which a picture was taken. Some interesting pictures could not be included, because the available information about them raised enough doubts to make their use unacceptable. Other pictures have been accepted and used in spite of incomplete information, because the facts available led to the conclusion that they were valid historical documents.
The history of photography in Saskatchewan remains to be written and is a separate study in itself. A significant number of photographs have survived and are in archival institutions, libraries, museums, and private collections. This suggests that many more pictures have probably been lost or are unknown to researchers. Still, when it came to choosing the comparatively few photographs that could be included in this book, the number of photographs available was daunting and the selection difficult. Photographs must offer information or evidence if they are to be used in a history. While availability was obviously a determining factor in making a choice of pictures, many fine, technically excellent photographs had to be left out because they did not, in my judgment, make a significant contribution to the story I was trying to tell. Such decisions are subjective and reflect the author's biases.
Saskatchewan's photographers have had their biases, too. They have tended to be interested in the new, the unusual, the special event, and not in the ordinary things of life which all of us share. Consequently the photographs that are available may present a somewhat unbalanced view of the past. It also must be remembered that, for technical reasons, most of the earlier pictures had to be posed, and they are therefore to some degree artificial. The photographs that have survived are probably those that pleased the photographer or those who were being photographed, whether or not they were closest to the truth. Anyone who has gone through the agony of selecting the one portrait proof he wants to have printed is well aware of this problem of selectivity. It must be recognized, then, that photographs, no matter how impeccable their credentials as historical records, record only an instant in time, and they may not record that instant entirely truthfully. They are useful historical documents, but they must be used with a knowledge and understanding of their limitations.
The camera cannot record everything, and there are historical developments and events which may be of considerable importance but which are difficult, if not impossible, to photograph. Social and political movements and the mood of a period, for example, are difficult to capture on film. The struggle for responsible government in the North-West Territories comes to mind as something that could not be recorded photographically in any meaningful way, and yet it was a movement of considerable importance in our history. A visual history for this reason is limited in what it can show, and in many areas it can only hope to be representative and suggestive.
There is some thanking to do, and I welcome the opportunity to acknowledge the assistance I have received from a number of individuals and institutions. Special thanks are due to Roxane Pelletier and Colleen Fitzgerald who worked as research assistants on the project and assisted in all phases of the work. Their dedicated work and personal interest in the project contributed considerably to its successful completion. Mrs. Kathlyn Szalasznyj joined the project at a later stage as a research assistant and helped in the selection of the textual material and in the detailed checking necessary to ensure its accuracy and uniformity. Lloyd Rodwell helped in compilation of textual material, the writing of captions, and the checking of sources. D'Arcy Hande contributed by doing some of the camera work that was necessary in the preparation of the photographic copies. The typing of the text was done by Mrs. Debbie Armstrong who managed to remain cheerful through the innumerable revisions and changes. The Regina staff of the Saskatchewan Archives Board and of the Saskatchewan History Project also assisted. Mrs. Jean Goldie, who is in charge of the photograph collection, and her assistant, Mrs. Janet Stoll, helped guide the initial selection of material, arranged for copy work, and provided information on the provenance of the photographs. Their constant willingness to help was of great assistance in the preparation of this study. E. C. Morgan, Trevor Powell, Ruth Dyck, Claudia Cunnington, and Endl Crane of the Regina staff of the Saskatchewan Archives Board assisted in the selection of textual material as did Dr. J. H. Archer, Jean Larmour, and Don Herperger of the Saskatchewan History Project.
I am pleased also to acknowledge the help received from a number of institutions. These include the staff of the National Photograph and National Art collection, Public Archives of Canada; the United Church Archives, Toronto; the Notman Photograph Archives, McCord Museum; the Public Archives of Manitoba; the Hudson's Bay Company Archives; and the Glenbow-Alberta Institute. Help was also gratefully received from the following Saskatchewan institutions: the Archives Department, Moose Jaw Public Library; the Local History Room, Saskatoon Public Library; the Biggar Museum and Gallery; the Western Development Museum, Saskatoon; the Soo Line Museum, Weyburn; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Museum, Regina; the Fort Battleford National Historic Park; the Maple Creek Museum; the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool; the Leader-Post, Regina; the Regina Chamber of Commerce; the North Saskatchewan Regiment, Saskatoon; the Tree Nursery and Experimental Farm, Indian Head; the Porcupine Plain Museum; the Co-operative College of Canada; and the University of Saskatchewan Archives.
Special thanks are due to the following individuals who made available their personal photographs, some of which we were able to include in the book: Mr. W. W. Aikenhead, Mr. Robert W. Anderson, Miss Evelyn Ballard, Mrs. Janet Barber, Mrs. Gertrude A. Barnsley, Mrs. Christina Bateman, Mrs. Joseph Bentley, Mr. E. E. Bidwell, Miss S. Carter, Mrs. Mary Cheney, Mrs. Gladys Clark, Mr. H. J. Cox, Mr. R. H. Crone, Mrs. B. A. Davidson, Mrs. N. L. Dering, Mrs. J. L. Donegan, Dr. Ian Dyck, Mrs. Lucy Eaton, Mr. J. M. Elliot, Mr. and Mrs. W. Forgay, Mrs. Ella Fraser, Mr. Alf Galenzoeski, Mrs. Art Grasser, Mrs. W. Hannerlindl, Mrs. Elaine Harrison, Mrs. Lula Hartsook, Mr. Lawrence E. Hauta, Mrs. R. Hawkins, Mr. B. Heibert, Mr. Dennis P. Herring, Isabelle Hoarsma, Mrs. Frank Hollick, Mrs. Joseph Hostyn, Mrs. Lillian Kallio, Mr. C. C. King, Mr. A. 0. Lepine, Mr. H. A. Lewis, Edna Lifeso, Mrs. Phyllis Lunden, Mrs. D.
Matheson, Mrs. V. Mathison, Mr. Theodore Matt, Miss A. McKay, Mr. and Mrs. G. L. McLeod, Mrs. Rose Melville-Ness, Mr. R. Monkhouse, Mr. E. Morris, Ida E. Morris, Mrs. Sidney Muri, Miss H. M. Purdy, Mrs. Sybil Rugg, Mrs. Margaret Salmond, Mr. Mike Siermacheski, Mrs. W. J. Smith, Mrs. Rose Stanek, Mr. R. G. Stebbings, Kay Stonehill, Mr. James Tingey, Mrs. A. C. van Nes, Mr. W. E. Veals, Mrs. K. M. Walberg, Mrs. Alvin Waite, Mrs. Edith Woolliams, and Mrs. Gertrude J. Workman.
In processing the photographs we had the assistance of a number of laboratories. These include the Audio-Visual Services photographic labs at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina; the Photo Arts Services, Executive Council, Regina; West's Studio, Regina, and Gibson Photo Limited in Saskatoon. Both Mr. Murray Gibson and Mr. H. G. West also made available some of their photographs for inclusion in the book.
We are grateful to the author and publisher for permission to quote from C. Stuart Houston, editor, To The Arctic by Canoe, 1819-1821, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1974.
The book could not have been prepared without the support of the Saskatchewan Archives Board who have sponsored the work. I also want to thank the provincial archivist, Mr. Ian Wilson, for his support in many ways throughout the project. Finally but by no means least I want to acknowledge the support that my wife, Merle, gave throughout the project.
Putting together a book such as this requires that many decisions be made, and it is not surprising that at times I have wondered whether I was making the right choice. Although I have had advice and assistance, I accept full responsibility for the shape the book has taken and for the selection of the photographs and text.