Fonds consists of the photographic records and sample materials of Byron Harmon Photos, the photographic business of Byron Harmon and his successors; as well as the personal photographs of Byron Harmon. I. Scenic / commercial, 1907-1975, ca.7600 items. Primary component of series is film and glass…
Byron Hill Harmon, 1876-1942, was a professional photographer and businessman at Banff, Alberta, Canada. He was born near Tacoma, Washington, USA and operated a portrait studio there for a time. In 1903, while travelling around the United States and Canada as an itinerant photographer, he decided to settle in Banff and by 1907 had produced enough mountain views to begin selling a line of postcards. Between 1906 and 1913, Harmon was official photographer for the Alpine Club of Canada and made trips in numerous mountain areas, such as the Bugaboos (1910) and Mount Robson (1911, 1913). Harmon personally financed trips into other areas, such as Tonquin Valley (1918) and Lake of the Hanging Glaciers (1920, 1922), producing both still photographs and motion pictures for commercial sale. After his last major expedition in 1924 across Saskatchewan Glacier, through to Maligne Lake and back to Banff by packtrain, Harmon devoted most of his time to photographing scenes along the railway, skiing in the Assiniboine and Skoki regions, and the annual rides and hikes of the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies and the Sky Line Trail Hikers of the Canadian Rockies. At the same time he managed several businesses, including a drug store, fountain lunch, theatre and book store. In his later years, Harmon spent much time travelling and photographing in other parts of the world. The business, Byron Harmon Photos, was managed successively by his son, Don Harmon, then his grand-daughter, Carole Harmon.
Scope & Content
Fonds consists of the photographic records and sample materials of Byron Harmon Photos, the photographic business of Byron Harmon and his successors; as well as the personal photographs of Byron Harmon.
I. Scenic / commercial, 1907-1975, ca.7600 items. Primary component of series is film and glass negatives, 1907-1942, ca.6500 items. Also includes: postcard negatives and positives and production negatives to ca.1955; original prints; a wide range of sample products, such as postcards, enlargements and framing prints, calendars and viewbooks, mainly by Harmon business, some by other photographers; and lantern slides, ca.1913-192-, pertaining to Columbia Icefield Expedition, mountaineering, mountain landscapes, Indians, wildlife, Canadian Pacific Railway and Asian travel. Scenic / commercial series pertains to annual camps and expeditions of the Alpine Club of Canada in the Canadian Rockies and Selkirks, 1907-1913; private movie-making expeditions in the Canadian Rockies and Selkirks; mountain scenic views, primarily for postcard purposes; Banff events and development; skiing; birds and animals. Includes some material by Don Harmon and Lloyd Harmon, sons of Byron Harmon.
II. Personal, 189- to 194-, ca.370 items. Includes: family photographs and views received from others; motion picture out-takes pertaining to world travels, 1930s; and 35 mm. transparencies, ca.1940, pertaining mainly to world travels, also mountain and prairie scenics.
For more information on the Byron Harmon photographs, see "Great Days in the Rockies: The Photographs of Byron Harmon, 1906-1934" (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1978) or "Byron Harmon, Mountain Photographer" by Carole Harmon and Bart Robinson (Banff: Altitude Publishing, 1992)