Fonds SMI 1992-050 - Allen Fraser

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Allen Fraser

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    SMI 1992-050

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    • [192-]-1953 (Creation)
      Fraser, Allen, 1876-1941

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    Physical description

    • 14 film reels
    • 1 videocassette

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    Biographical history

    George Allen Fraser was born 13 August 1876 to John Dollis and Margaret (Wright) Fraser of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His parents had married in 1873 and moved from St. Margaret's Bay into the city where his father found work as a waiter, porter and hackman. Little is known of Allen's early life; however, a newspaper report at the time of his death indicates that he was a veteran of both the South African War and the Second World War. Footage in his fonds depicting a Halifax Rifles reunion indicates this may have been his regiment. A photograph in Nova Scotia Archives' Tom Connors Collection places Fraser in Bermuda in 1916 and this may have coincided with the period when he was employed by Canadian National Steamships in the West Indies. In 1921, he is listed in the Halifax Directory as a photographer with Cox Brothers and Fraser Studio on Barrington Street. In 1924 he ran the Fraser Photo Service on Sackville Street. However, he is listed simply as a commercial photographer from 1925-1926; and there is no listing for him from 1927-1929. In 1930 he is listed as working for the Maritime Photo Engravers. The following year he was hired as a photographer with the Halifax Herald and Mail where he remained until 1939. He was a freelance photographer for one year before he retired in 1941. Allen Fraser drowned at Fraser's Lake in Timberlea on 25 August 1941.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    Fonds consists of amateur films, predominantly by Allen Fraser. The films were found by Fraser's daughter among her late father's effects. Allen Fraser's will was signed 16 Sept 1938 and he had not designated an heir to his photographic equipment (which was mentioned specifically) when he died in 1941. Three films document Allen Fraser's trip[s] to Bermuda, circa early 1920s. They depict both tourist and Bermudian lifestyles - sometimes in interesting contrast. One of the Bermuda rolls includes the film "Lily Fields of Bermuda," which may have been done by Fraser as well. Four films document various activities and scenes in Nova Scotia during the late 1920s and 1930s. These four include a Guide's Meet at Lake William, Lunenburg County; Dartmouth Natal Day 1932; folk dance demonstration on Studley field, Dalhousie University; golfing; football; Halifax landmarks; and a large exhibition. One of these four rolls contains a short film entitled "A Screen Scrapbook" which depicts a dance tableau. Three films are of Halifax (and Nova Scotia in general) during and after the Second World War. As Allen died in 1941, all footage taken after this period may be attributed to his brother Russell. This would include a hunting trip to Cape Breton in the autumn of 1947 and footage of Lunenburg's 200th Anniversary parade in 1953. The fonds also includes a short film by W.G.C. (Billy) Strickland entitled "The Sherry Party."

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    Physical condition

    All films are extremely fragile. They are heavily scratched and warped with high shrinkage readings.

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Donated by Mrs. Dorothy Wright (niece of Allen Fraser) on 3 June 1992.


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        Allen Fraser's still photographs may be found within various other collections at the Nova Scotia Archives.

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