A Report from the Archives

A Report from the Archives

Every summer, the JMABC hires Archives Assistants through the support of Young Canada Works. This summer’s Archival Assistant is Alexa Barran, a student of Archival studies and Library Information studies at UBC’s iSchool.

Alexa is working on processing three collections: the Canadian Jewish Outlook fonds, the Fromson Family fonds, and the Fred Schiffer Photography Studio fonds. She reports on her progress below.



This summer I have worked on processing several different collections including the Canadian Jewish Outlook fonds, and the Fromson Family fonds.

The Canadian Jewish Outlook collection was donated to the JMABC when the magazine shut down earlier this year, and consists of all of the published magazine issues, drafts, and other materials acquired by the magazine during its years of operation. Being able to view this collection as a whole has given me fascinating insight into how the magazine evolved, both ideologically and aesthetically, over the course of its lifespan.

The Fromson fonds proved to be an equally compelling collection to organize. It consists primarily of love letters and photographs exchanged between Ralph & Ann Fromson during their courtship in the 1930’s when she lived in Victoria/Vancouver and he lived in Montreal. The correspondence resumes later in their marriage when Ralph was dispatched to Saskatchewan as part of the auxiliary forces in WWII. This collection gives intriguing glimpses of life and love in Canada in the 1930’s, but also insight into some of the daily experiences of the Canadian auxiliary forces in WWII.

Currently I am working on uploading Fred Schiffer’s photography collection onto the new JMABC database. This collection consists of approximately 100,000 photographs taken by photographer Fred Schiffer over the course of his prolific career. This collection contains a very wide range of unique photographs, and I feel very privileged to be able to contribute to making these amazing photographs available to the public online.

I am so grateful to the JMABC for having given me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the archival field, and I look forward to working on more exciting projects in the coming weeks.