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Archival description
Haida Gwaii, BC English
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Archdeacon W. H. Collison fonds

  • 2009.7
  • Fonds
  • ca.1870 - ca.1986

The Archdeacon W.H. Collison fonds consists of textual materials, maps, published materials and photographs all documenting Collison’s life and work with North Coastal First Nations communities in British Columbia. Types of records found within this fonds include manuscripts, sermon notes, correspondence, oral history summaries, monographs, cartographic items, photographs and postcards. The Collison fonds also includes some records created by his children and grandchildren as well as a family tree created in 1986. The Collison fonds has been divided into four series.

Collison, W.H. (Archdeacon)

Publications Series

Series contains publications on the following subjects: linguistics, First Nations studies, anthropology, museum studies, the Missionary Society of the Church of England, the Metlakatla Inquiry, material culture and Canadian geography. It is believed that items published prior to 1922 had been collected by the Archdeacon W.H. Collison, while those published post 1922 (the year W.H. Collison passed away) were collected by both his son W.E. Collison and then his grandaughter Joyce Collison.

Photographs

Series consists of images pertaining the Collison family, North Coastal First Nations communities, means of transportation along North Coastal British Columbia, and various church structures and religious events.

Interior of chief's house in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Handwritten annotation on verso of photograph reads: "W.E. Collison Masset. Interior of Chief [Weah's?] house".

Caption under printed version of photo in W.H. Collison's book 'In the Wake of the War Canoe': "The house is about 40 feet square, forming one large room. The upper cubicles are on a level with the ground, which in front of them is excavated so that the fireplace in the centre is twelve feet below the surface. A ledge, for the use of slaves and dependents, is left half-way down."

Crest poles at Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Three unidentified men stand by poles in foreground, wood houses and crest poles visible in background.

Printed below image: "Totem Poles, Massett, Q.C. Island, B.C. "; "T.N. Hibbon & Co., Victoria, B.C. [crossed through with ink]"; handwritten below: "The old style giving way to the new."

Crest poles at Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Photograph depicts many crest poles in front of wooden homes. An unidentified family can be seen sitting by house in centre. Wood pile and path in foreground.

Handwritten annotation on image reads: "Masset Queen Charlotte's Islands, Crest Poles / Masset with Totems."; on verso: "Chap. XIII. No. 1 This photo to be copied as an illustration on 1st page or I Chapt. 'Section of Massett, Haida Encampment showing Totems. Queen Charlotte's Islands.' For heading of page 2 of Trophies."

Totem poles at Skidegate, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Totem poles (crest poles?) stand in front of a line of houses. Blanketed canoes sit on beach in right foreground; forest in background.

Handwritten annotations on verso read: “skidegate village Queen Charlotte Islands as it appeared forty years ago"; "Rev W.E. Collison Prince Rupert"; "Hughes"; "1".

Close view of totem poles at Skidegate, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Totem poles (crest poles?) stand in front of a line of houses. Blanketed canoes sit on beach in right foreground; forest in background.

Handwritten annotations on verso read: “Haida Encampment [crossed through with line]"; "Skidegate Queen Charlottes Islands / To illustrate Introduction / Introduction Trophies from a Song [Trail?] Page 1 Heading."

Haida tombs in Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Handwritten annotation on verso of photograph reads: "Tombs. ? Massett".

Caption under printed version of photo in W.H. Collison's book 'In the Wake of the War Canoe': "At Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C. The side-posts are solid and sunk in the ground. The horizontal piece is hollow, and contains the corpse. These tombs are now falling through decay." (see page 216).

Skeletal remains – Haida

Photograph depicts close-up of unidentified skeletal remains situated on the ground. Handwritten annotation in pen on verso reads: “skeleton fallen from burial box at Masset QCIs. Remains were buried near original site”.

Medicine man grave marker near Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Two carved wooden figures stand side by side to mark the burial of a Haida medicine man. Each figure has one arm up with a hand under or over the chin, while the other arm is down. Carved chiefly headdresses adorn each of their heads.

Handwritten annotation in pen on verso reads: “Illustration for insertion at end of Chapt XIX no. 2. Medicine man’s tomb Queen Charlotte Islands.” Photograph has pen markings made on its recto tracing the outline of these two shapes.

Haida canoe on beach at Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Photograph depicts an unidentified individual leaning against a large overturned dugout canoe; barrel, bucket, and wood planks in foreground. Houses and other buildings can be seen on shore above beach, and two unidentified individuals stand in distance on far right.

Handwritten annotations on verso read: “Haida canoe on beach at Masset / ? 1898”; “No. 4 Page 5. Haida Canoe ready for steaming to [widen?] out and finish.”

An original negative of this photograph is held by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, no. 26664.

Mortuary totem pole at Masset, Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

Large bear carving sits on top of wide pole, erected in memory of a chief of the Bear crest. Lines of houses stand in background.

Printed below image: "Totem Pole. Old Massett. Q.C.I / J.D. Allen photo Co."; handwritten below: "Mortuary Pole Bear [Crest?]"; on verso: "For Chapt. XIX. The old style and the new. Mortuary Pole & modern houses. No. 3. W.H.C. Oct. [6/ ?] 13".

First Nations village at Haida Gwaii

Rocky shoreline featuring a small dwelling, totem pole, net rack, canoes pulled up to shore, barrels and boxes and a tent.

Handwritten annotation in pencil on verso reads: “Kunhalas [sic] at entrance to C--- Harbour”.

Bentwood box

A bentwood box sitting on a pedestal in front of a bookcase in the office of W.E. Collison. Handwritten annotation in pencil on verso reads: “Carved ‘hope chest’ sent to New York. The box was carved by -- Luke Watson Skidegate. The photo was taken in the office – not bad for a --”

Three argillite totem poles

Three model totem poles carved out of argillite and of various heights standing as a trio against a white backdrop. Handwritten annotation in pen on verso reads: “W.E. Collison.” Stamped annotation on verso reads: “Department of Mines and Resources, Photographic Section. Oct. 6, 1939”. Numeric annotation on verso: “43-3”

Unidentified object

Unidentified carved and painted wooden object. Stamped annotation on verso reads: “Department of Mines and Resources, Photographic Section. Oct. 6, 1939”. Numeric annotation on verso: “46-5”

Unidentified tool and bark shredder

Unidentified tool leaning against a sheeted backdrop. Carved wooden bark shredder, used to soften and break up fibres of cedar bark lying on sheet covered table. Stamped annotation on verso reads: “Department of Mines and Resources, Photographic Section. Oct. 6, 1939”. Numeric annotation on verso: “48-3”

Stone fish

Stone figure carved in the likeness of a fish. Stamped annotation on verso reads: “Department of Mines and Resources, Photographic Section. Oct. 6, 1939”. Numeric annotation on verso: “48-5”

Wooden fish

Wooden fish, complete with carved fins and moveable (?) tail. Stamped annotation on verso reads: “Department of Mines and Resources, Photographic Section. Oct. 6, 1939”. Numeric annotation on verso: “48-1”

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