Oliver, W.J.

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Oliver, W.J.

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William John Oliver, 1887-1954, was born in Ash, Canterbury, Kent, England where he was a butcher's apprentice. He became interested in photography after winning a camera. In 1910 he emigrated to southern Alberta and worked as a teamster at Strathmore. In the following years he began his photography career working as a camera assistant at the Frederick B. Cooper Photographic Studio in Calgary. Later in 1911 he began working for the Morning Albertan and in 1912 opened the W.J. Oliver Photographic Studio. He also joined the Calgary Herald as staff photographer. The studio became extremely successful and his work eventually took him outside the Calgary area. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he took many photos of the Calgary Stampede, and travelled across Canada taking photos and films for the National Parks Branch, Fox News and others. In 1936-1937 he was official photographer on Michael Lerner's big game hunting expeditions to Africa and southeastern Asia, and in 1939 accompanied Lerner to Alaska. William wound down his photographic activities in the 1940s and in 1942 sold the studio to Walter Cadman who had joined his staff in 1923. He then devoted his time to his Diamond L ranch in the Millarville area. He and his wife, Marjorie Beatrice Martin, 1896-1993, whom he married in 1920, had three daughters, Joan (Cavers), Doreen (Huffman), and Audrey-Jean (Langford). For further information see W.J. Oliver, Life Through a Master's Lens / Sheilagh S. Jameson. - Calgary : Glenbow Museum, 1984.


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