Fonds whyte-1106 - Bert Riggall fonds

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Bert Riggall fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on accession record and contents of fonds

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WHYTE whyte-1106

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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  • [ca.1865]-1959, predominant [ca.1890]-1959 (Creation)
    Riggall, Bert

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Physical description

ca.13,100 photographs: ca.7080 prints, ca.5310 negatives, ca.700 transparencies. -- 9 photograph albums. -- ca.2 m textual records, print material and graphic records. -- 33 cartographic records

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Frederick Herbert (Bert) Riggall, 1884-1959, was a mountain guide, outfitter, hunter, trapper, rancher, naturalist, photographer, writer and gunsmith/loader in southern Alberta. Born in 1884 at Gayton-le-Wold Grange, Lincolnshire, his family moved to Grimsby where his father was an auctioneer and, in 1905, served as Mayor. In England, Riggall was an athlete, avid sportsman and naturalist. He was exposed to alpine country on school holidays in Switzerland and, determined to visit Canada, left for North America in 1904. Upon arriving in western Canada, Riggall worked for a year at Craighurst Farm near Calgary. There he met Dorothea (Dora) Williams, 1877-1951, an Irish Quaker ranch cook who had emigrated with her sister Anna in 1902. In 1905, Bert worked on the Correction Land Survey in southwestern Alberta and explored Waterton Lakes. Bert and Dora married in 1906 and until 1946 they homesteaded and ranched adjacent to Waterton Lakes National Park. Initially, Bert and partner Jack Hazzard built boats and guided fishing parties on Waterton Lakes. In 1909, with partner Cyril Watmough, the Riggalls began guiding and outfitting summer and fall hunting and fishing trips for numerous repeat clients, especially, after 1913, four Minneapolis, Minnesota families: Bovey, Crosby, Bennett and McKnight. Hunts involved Big Horn Sheep, goats, black and grizzly bears. Bert served as chief guide and Dora as camp cook. Prior to 1911, the Riggalls worked at Gloyne's oil camp and Oil City to supplement their income. In 1911, Bert and partner Cyril Watmough made a 1000 mile (1600 km) exploratory trip from Fort Steele, B.C. to the Yellowhead Pass and beyond. Following that trip, Riggall concentrated guiding activities on the continental divide as far north as the Highwood region, but primarily in the upper Oldman River Valley and Gap in the Livingstone Range. Their outfit grew to include numerous saddle and pack horses. Of five children, only two daughters survived infancy. Kay Riggall (Russell), 1909-1984, and Doris (Babe) Riggall (Burton), 1910-1999, were both able riders, markswomen and packtrain workers. They accompanied their parents on summer back country trips starting in 1918. Bert Riggall was renowned for his knowledge of botany, geology, zoology, wilderness life and lore as well as literature and current affairs. He was especially endeared to his clients for his skill as a raconteur and campfire storyteller. He wrote articles for magazines such as: Arms and the Man, American Rifleman, Field and Stream and the Boone and Crockett Club's book: North American Big Game. Riggall was an accomplished semi-professional photographer who specialized in wildlife studies, panoramic landscapes, Dufaycolor and later Kodachrome transparencies. His photographs appear in Department of Interior Reports and other publications. Bert's heart problems forced the Riggalls to move to Pincher Creek in 1947. Daughter Kay and son-in-law Andy Russell continued the packtrain and guiding business until 1960. After Dora's death, Bert experienced medical problems and lived with or close to Doris.

Custodial history

Fonds was inherited by Doris "Babe" Burton after Riggall's death in 1959. She cared for the records until her own death in 1999, using the material to develop displays of Riggall's photographs and to prepare two books: "Bert Riggall: Mountain guide extraordinary" and "Babe's Sunshine: I made my own".

Scope and content

Fonds includes seven series: I. Personal and professional, 1884-1959; II. Business and financial, ca.1910-1959; III. Professional photography, 1900-1955; IV. Writing, 1906-1957; V. Natural history, 1904-1954; VI. Other interests, 1913-1956; VII. Riggall family, ca.1865-1959. Personal and professional series consists of diaries and notes, correspondence and personal papers. Business and financial series consists of guiding and ranching records, gunsmithing, shooting and loading records; and legal and financial records. Professional photography series consists of standard photographs, panoramas, transparencies and textual records;Writing series contains manuscripts, published magazines, book outlines, newspaper articles and letters to the editor;Natural history series contains bird and plant records, and other natural history papers;Other interests series consist of clippings, annotated books and collected material;Riggall family series contains Bert and Dora Riggall family papers and photographs, Williams family photographs, Frederick W. and Fanny Riggall papers and photographs, and Allan Riggall papers and photographs. Negatives and transparencies pertain to Andy Russell as a young man with Bert Riggall.

Notes area

Physical condition

Fonds contains numerous oversize items, including cartographic records

Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired by donation, 1990, 1999, 2001;Fonds was donated in 1999 by Dale Burton, great-grandson, and John Russell, grandson, of Bert Riggall. A small quantity of photographs and text were received as part of the Andy Russell fonds, donated by Andy Russell in 1990, and Richard (Dick) Russell in 2001


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  • Language is English

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General note

Record No. M376 / V26<br><br>

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