Richard Finnie fonds

Title Richard Finnie fonds
Dates of creation 1928-1977
Physical description 543 photogaphs : b&w and col. prints and negatives and other material
Administrative history or biographical sketch Richard Sterling Finnie, photographer, filmmaker and writer, was born in 1906 in Dawson City, Yukon Territories. His parents were Nellie Louise Roediger and Oswald Sterling Finnie, a mining recorder and Director of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch from 1921 to 1931. In 1909, the family moved to Ottawa and Richard Finnie attended local schools. From 1924 to 1927, he worked as a reporter for the "Ottawa Citizen" where he wrote a number of articles about the arctic. In 1924 and 1925, Richard Finnie joined Captain J.E. Bernier's arctic expeditions as a radio operator aboard the Canadian government ship "Arctic." During these trips, he received his first training as a cinematographer from George Valiquette. Bernier gave Finnie the ship's bell which he donated to the Bernier Museum in L'Islet, Quebec. I n 1928, Finnie traveled aboard the "Beothic" and filmed the 1928 Canadian government arctic expedition, which represents his first professional film, "In the Shadow of the Pole." In all, Richard Finnie made five expeditions by ship to the eastern arctic.

During the 1930s, he spent much of his time in northern Canada including time on King William Island, a year with the Copper Inuit of the western arctic and time on Baffin and Ellesmere Islands. He served on the Burwash Expedition of King William Island, one of Canada's first air expeditions in the Arctic. In 1937, he traveled aboard the "Nascopie" and produced films, which recorded the meeting of the Nascopie and the Aklavik at Bellot Island. During these years, he wrote "Lure of the North" and a film entitled "Dogrib Treaty." In 1942, Finnie left the National Film Board after producing a final film "Canada Moves North" which he also made into a book. In that same year, he was hired by the Betchel Corporation and produced films on the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Canol project. Richard Finnie spent 25 years as official historian and film producer for the Betchel Corporation until he retired in 1968. He traveled to many places to do his filmmaking, including Libya and Beirut.

His marriage to Alyce Robert ended in 1965 with her death. After Finnie retired, he continued an active life, lecturing and publishing on the Northwest and Yukon territories. Finnie was a fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America, honorary member of the Yukon Order of Pioneers and emeritus fellow of the Explorer's Club of New York and co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter, of which he was chairman for a decade. He also was a life member of the California Academy of Sciences and an active member of the New Orleans Jazz Club of northern California. Finnie died on February 2, 1987. His second wife, Anne Ackerman Finnie, died October 25, 1995.
Scope and content This fonds consists of 543 photographs, 8 audio reels, 4 DAT audiocassettes, 7 16 mm films, 8 videocassettes and 2 cm of textual material. The photographic material consists of 543 prints and negatives. Included among the photographs are black and white images taken by Richard Finnie between 1939 and 1946. Some of these images were mounted into photograph albums and feature people and scenes of Yellowknife, Fort Rae, Aklavik, Fort Norman, Norman Wells, Fort Smith and the Canol Project. This fonds also includes images taken in 1931 of people at Coronation Gulf, photographs documenting Finnie's travels in the arctic during the 1920s and 1930s that depict aspects of the fur trade, mission work, government activities in the north including treaty payments, medical treatments, transportation, communication and the life of the Copper Inuit. In addition, there are images taken by Richard Finnie during a trip to Fort Rae at treaty time in 1974. Some of these photographs were included in an article that Finnie wrote for "The Beaver", Summer 1975, entitled "Treaty Time at Fort Rae". The fonds also includes a photograph album containing 142 colour prints entitled "Canol: The Authors Photographic Post Mortem" which was compiled by Finnie from photos of his 1977 tour of the remains of the Canol project.

The sound recordings consists of 8 audio reels (original masters) and 4 DAT audio cassettes (archival masters) containing the following: Trevor Lloyd interviewing Henry Larsen and Vilhalmjur Stefansson in 1962; E. M. Weyer interviewing Stefansson in 1955; and the soundtrack from the 1962 National Film Board film "Stefansson the Arctic Prophet." The moving images consist of 7 films created or collected by R.S. Finnie; the films were copied to 8 Umatic format videocassettes. The films are: "In the Shadow of the Pole" (1928); "The Arctic Patrol" (1929); "Among the Igloo Dwellers" (1930-31); "Ikpuck, The Igloo Dweller" (highlights from "Among the Igloo Dwellers"); "Patrol to the Northwest Passage" (1937); "The Dogrib Treaty" (1939); and "Canol" (1946?). The first two films listed cover the Eastern Arctic voyages of the "Beothic" (ship), and the next two focus on the Copper Inuit. "Patrol to the Northwest Passage" depicts the meeting of the "Nascopie" (ship) and "Aklavik" (ship).

The text consists of one file containing a copy of a draft of an unpublished manuscript entitled "Canol - The sub-arctic Pipeline and Refinery Project of Bechtel - Price - Callahan for the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army 1942-1944."
Restrictions No access restrictions.
Copyright See file for copyright restrictions
Physical description note This fonds includes: 543 photogaphs : b&w and col. prints and negatives; 8 audio reels; 4 DAT audio cassettes; 7 films : 16mm; 11 videocassettes : Umatic copies of original films; Betacam copies of "Dogrib Treaty", "Igloo Dwellers" and "Canol"; and 1 folder of textual material. Some material may have been duplicated; see accession files for further details.
Finding aids Finding aids in various formats available; see accession files for details.
Reference # 229
Accessions list The fonds is comprised of the following accessions. Click any accession number below to see the accession description.
N-1979-018 N-1979-033
N-1979-063 N-1988-009