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  Saskatoon Through the Ages:
selected photographs from Local History Gallery Shows
 
     
 

Photo 1 of 26 | | |

1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Helen Schrader made a unique contribution to the photographic history of Saskatoon, providing us with a fascinating and refreshing view of life in the early days of the city. Her intimate photographs are a valuable counterpoint to the professionally-posed portraits and street scenes of the predominantly male photographers of the time.

In documenting the significant, as well as the everyday events of her growing family, Mrs. Schrader has given us a charming view of what it was like to live in Saskatoon. The family home at 321 - 6th Avenue North provides the focus for her images but does not restrict them; in the background we see the city growing and developing. When built, the house on 6th Avenue was at the city limits; over the decades as her family grew up, it was from this vantage point that Mrs. Schrader watched as the city expanded around her.

Although the primary focus of this exhibition is people, this does not mean Helen Schrader limited her photography to family portraits. The construction of the Bessborough Hotel, scenes of the exhibition, photographs of early Doukhobor settlements and pictures of early aviation provide the subject for other Schrader photographs in the Local History Room. The wide range of subject matter is testimony to a lively curiosity at work.

This curiosity has its roots in Helen Schrader's childhood in Minnesota. She was born to a wealthy family on 4 November 1881 in Red Wing, Minnesota. Her father was Edward T. Mallory, a superintendent with the Red Wing Union Stoneware Company; her mother, Leonora Vedder Mallory. The family traced its roots back to Sir Thomas Malory, author of the medieval Aurthurian romance Le Morte d'Arthur. Helen was well educated, graduating with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota. It was at this time that she began to take photographs with a retractable Kodak camera.

Marriage to Udo Schrader and the move to Saskatoon did not stop her photography. Isolated and lonely, Helen Schrader's initial impulse to photography was motivated by a desire to document for family and friends her life in this new land. A lively imagination and an artistic eye help to distinguish these photographs from the typical familiy snapshots of the time. To the social historian of early Saskatoon, they provide an invaluable record.

Helen Schrader would probably be surprised to see her photographs displayed in a gallery setting. Although her obituary mentions Mrs. Schrader's involvement in church, patriotic and educational organizations, her photography is not included among her achievements. She herself would have chosen to be remembered for her literary contributions. An active member of the Writer's Club, many of her poems were published in various American journals. She collected some of these poems together and published them in booklet form in about 1910. It is, however, as a photographer that this extraordinarily creative woman is honoured in this exhibition. As a woman and a mother, Helen Schrader brought to her photography an element of emotion and creativity lacking in other photography of the time. It is this quality which compensates for any lack of technical quality in her photographs and which is perhaps Helen Schrader's greatest legacy.

Original Gallery Show (1992) curated by: R. Jaremko

With the assistance of: A. Kagis, J. Colvine, and R. Millar



1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

A languid self-portrait of Helen Schrader taken circa 1910. Such moments of repose were less frequent as Helen Schrader coped with the demands of keeping a household and of raising five children, a task made more difficult with the death of her husband in 1918.

Date: [ca. 1910]

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Photo 2 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Two of the Schrader girls, Leonora in front and Ilse on horseback, pose with their Shetland ponies in the yard on 6th Avenue North about 1919. Behind the house was a barn with a stall for the horses and a hayloft on top.

Date: 1910.

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Photo 3 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

A proud Leonora Mallory Schrader models her drop-waisted party frock in the front yard of 321 6th Avenue North. Behind her is the home of Dr. William Bulmer, an early real estate dealer and prominent dentist.

Date: [ca. 1910]

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Photo 4 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Although the Schraders spent winters in the city, they spent much of the summer at their farm near Borden. This 1915 harvest scene shows the Schrader sisters Leonora, Betty and Ilse with their father Udo and the family dog, Bessie.

Date: [ca. 1913]

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Photo 5 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

A birthday party and a chance to dress up in your fanciest frock and your finest hair ribbon. Leonora and her sister Betty are toward the right in this party photo. The sad looking boy in the hat is Arthur Salter. His mother always made him wear a hat.

Date: [ca. 1912]

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Photo 6 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Two friends pose amid blooming petunias and climbing nasturtiums at a lake in the summer of 1914. The extravagant bows were typical adornments for children at the time.

Date: [ca. 1915]

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Photo 7 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

A summer picnic by the roadside. The dark-haired woman on the left is Verna Murphy, a near neighbour to the Schraders and the subject of several photographs. The blond-haired child standing is Kent Murphy, and his older brother Edward is tucked behind the woman seated at the right. The other family may be the Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Salter and their son. Dr. Salter was an early Saskatoon dentist.

Date: [ca. 1920]

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Photo 8 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

“Ice cream soda, lemonade tart, tell me the name of your sweetheart – A, B, C…”: A skipping song sung by countless schoolgirls and perhaps by Leonora Schrader in this circa 1917 photograph. Behind her at 324 6th Avenue North is the Riviera Apartment Block built in 1912-13 by Frederick A. Blain and called the Blain Block until 1915.

Date: [between 1917 and 1920]

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Photo 9 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

These elaborately hatted ladies strike a theatrical pose. The occasion may have been a costume party or perhaps a private joke. The woman on the left is Verna Murphy.

Date: [between 1915 and 1920]

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Photo 10 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

World War I saw the mobilizing of battalions from all across Saskatchewan. Young Saskatoon business and professional men and women were numbered among the officers who enlisted. This unidentified photo shows a young officer from the 105th Saskatoon Fusiliers as he bids farewell to his young family.

Date: 1914.

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Photo 11 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

A poignant close-up of the father and young daughter seen in PH 91 61 41. During the period of the Great War, railway stations were the scene of many such tearful farewells or joyous reunions. The scene is the departure of the 105th Fusiliers enroute to join the 2nd contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

Date: 1914.

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Photo 12 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Pulling his sleigh and toy shovel along a wintery Saskatoon street, this warmly-dressed tot is set for play. The child is Edwin Murphy, stopped in front of 514 Queen Street.

Date: [ca. 1918]

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Photo 13 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Wearing a toque to keep his ears warm, this youngster strolls down Duke Street. Behind him is Sunnyside Terrace, one of the few examples of terrace housing in Saskatoon. Now covered in stucco, the original structure was built in 1912 with brick from the Saskatoon Brick and Supply Company.

Date: [ca. 1917]

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Photo 14 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Duke Street in the then sparsely settled City Park area is the setting for this photograph of a youngster on his new wagon. The photograph was likely taken after 1914.

Date: [after 1914]

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Photo 15 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Two playmates join the younger in his wagon. The beribboned beauty on the right is the ever-lovely Leonora. Leonora had the distinction of winning second prize in the beautiful baby competition at the 1909 exhibition.

Date: [after 1914]

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Photo 16 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

The riders on this wonderful dappled rocking horse are Kent Murphy above and Edwin Murphy below.

Date: [ca. 1921]

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Photo 17 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Verna and Edwin Murphy share a laugh on a bench in what is now Kinsmen Park. In the distance we see the railroad bridge and at the far right the President’s Residence. At the time this photograph was taken wild crocus and other prairie flora could be found growing here.

Date: [ca. 1920]

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Photo 18 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Being land bound has not prevented local residents from enjoying sailing. Even before the founding of the Saskatoon Boat Club there was sailing on nearby lakes. This nautical trio is shown sailing on Redberry Lake in 1916 or 1917.

Date: [before 1920]

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Photo 19 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

A waterslide seems to have been one of the amenities at the “bathing beach” on the riverbank. Swimmers avoided slivers from the wooden slide by going down on a makeshift “surf-board” or sled. Although the boom was meant to keep swimmers out of deeper waters, frequent drownings testified to the treachery of the South Saskatchewan.

Date: [ca. 1910]

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Photo 20 of 26 | | |


1992 - Saskatoon Through the Lens of Helen Schrader

Take fine river sand, add plenty of water and you have mud. To this recipe add several small boys and the mucky result is captured in this exuberant Schrader photograph. There were no showers at that time on the riverbank so another dip in the river was needed to wash away the muddy mess.

Date: [ca. 1915]

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