Leaf 8, Percheron colts, the Williamson family, and a Sunday School picnic - FAR2018-039.1.8_1


Leaf 8, Percheron colts, the Williamson family, and a Sunday School picnic

Maker: John Dudley Williamson (b. 1885 - d. 1980)
Medium:Gelatin silver prints, paper, pencil, stickers
Geography: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Date: 1906-1925
25.1 × 17.6 cm (9 7/8 × 6 15/16 in.)
Object number: 2018.83.1.8
Credit Line: Gift of Mary F. Williamson. Courtesy The Family Camera Network
Not on view

This album page includes snapshots and handwritten captions. The recto features photographs of life at the Williamson's farm in Appleby. The top image shows two Percheron colts, and the bottom image shows a group of people popping their heads out of the dining room windows to pose for a silly photograph: (top) a family friend, Walter Blanshard; (bottom, L to R) John Dudley Williamson; his sister, Clara Ida (b. 1895 – d. 1981); and his brother, David Franklin (b. 1880 – d. 1976). The verso includes two photographs taken during a Sunday School picnic.

It is a page from a Williamson family photo album. The album was compiled by John Dudley Williamson in the 1930s, and was passed on to his daughter, Mary Frances Williamson, in the 1960s. It includes photos taken between the 1890s to the late 1920s and hand-written captions, which capture family and friends, daily life, outings, and local events.

John Dudley Williamson, also known as "J.D." or "Dud," was born in 1885 on a 100-acre farm in Appleby, on the Appleby Line south of what is now the Queen Elizabeth Highway, before it was part of Burlington, Ontario. His grandfather emigrated from Yorkshire, England, before 1837, and settled in Moffat, Ontario. John Dudley was one of seven children to John Fields Williamson (b. 1848 – d. 1929) and Hannah Maria Walker (b. 1853 – d. 1923).

In September 1906, John Dudley entered an Honours Mathematics and Physics program at the University College, University of Toronto. He spent his summer breaks in 1907 and 1908 in Langenberg, Saskatchewan, where he taught summer school and helped his brothers with the harvest on their farms. In 1909, he worked as a rail vehicle operator for the Hamilton Radial Railway. He graduated from university in 1910 and began practicing as an actuary with the Canada Life Assurance Company that same year. He married Marie Curtis Peterkin (b. 1898 – d. 1969) in 1922, and they had two children, John Peter Williamson and Mary Frances Williamson. He was an avid photographer and both he and his wife were enthusiastic family archivists. Their passion helped to inspire their daughter, Mary Frances, to continue to document and preserve their family history.

Williamson, Walker, and Peterkin/Bywater family photographs, albums, and archival materials can be found in collections across Canada, at institutions such as: the Burlington Historical Society, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Province of Saskatchewan Archives, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, and the University of Toronto Archives. This object is part of The Family Camera Network public archive at the Royal Ontario Museum, which includes photographs and oral histories, among other objects from family photo collections.

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