Elva MacAskill sold her husband's business and his negatives to Halifax photographer Maurice Crosby in 1964, who in turn, sold them to Maritime Supplies & Exchange Ltd. in 1970. While in the custody of Maritime Supplies & Exchange Ltd., in 1984, the marketing company National Art Ltd. was given exclusive rights to use the MacAskill negatives to produce, sell, and distribute prints. The agreement expired in 1986 and in 1987, the negatives were donated to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia by Adare Developments Ltd., successor company of Martime Supplies and Exchange Ltd. Film reels produced by MacAskill were also donated to the archives by Maurice Crosby in 1986. In 1997, the archives purchased additional MacAskill photographs.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of negatives, prints, and slides taken by W.R. MacAskill, primarily when he was a commercial photographer in Halifax. Includes images of coastal villages, fishing scenes, seascapes, towns and landscapes, the International Fishing Schooner Races, 1920-1937, the Bluenose under construction, naval vessels, freighters and other ships, and yachting. The geographic area represented in the photographs is almost exclusively Nova Scotia but also includes New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Many of the photographs appear in MacAskill's books Out of Halifax and Lure of the Sea and his studio catalogues, as well as in Andrew Merkel's book Schooner Bluenose. The fonds also contains photographs produced at his studios at St. Peter's and Glace Bay, most of which are portraits; personal photographs of MacAskill, his wife, friends and acquaintances, his yacht Highlander, and his home "Brigadoon" in Ferguson Cove; and a small number of photographs taken by other professional photographers including Norman and Climo. Also includes film footage taken by MacAskill of the 1938 schooner race between Bluenose and Gertrude L. Thebaud, and a Nova Scotia tourism film.