Schaffer, Mary

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Schaffer, Mary

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Mary Schaffer, 1861-1939, also known as Mary Schaffer Warren, was an American explorer, photographer and artist who visited the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk Mountains frequently beginning in 1888, finally settling in Banff, Alberta in 1912. Born Mary Townsend Sharples to moderately wealthy Quaker parents at West Chester, Pennsylvania, she first visited the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk Mountains in 1888 with her friend Mary Vaux. She returned the following year with her husband, Dr. Charles Schaffer, and until Charles died in 1903, the Schaffers travelled annually to the mountains to study botany. Using Dr. Schaffer's data and her drawings and photographs, Mary Schaffer and Stewardson Brown completed "Alpine flora of the Canadian Rocky Mountains" in 1907. Schaffer continued to travel in the Canadian mountains, often through remote regions. In 1908, she reached Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta, and returned in 1911 to survey the region. "Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies," 1911, recounts her adventures of 1907 and 1908. Schaffer settled in Banff in 1912 and married her guide, Billy Warren, in 1915.

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Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Archives and Library

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