Alfred Fowler was born in 1903, in Toronto, Ontario. At the age of 23 he began working for Canadian National Railways (C.N.R.) in the company's telegraph accounting department. He remained employed there for 45 years, with the exception of the years 1940-45 when he served with the Royal Canadian Artillery during World War II. During his service he was stationed at Shilo, Manitoba, where he met his future wife, Elsie Bowen. They were married late in 1944, and in 1945 returned to Toronto. Fowler remained in Toronto until his death in 1969. Throughout his life, Mr. Fowler was an ardent amateur photographer.
All 105 prints in this collection were created by Davidson & Gowen, a photography business located in Brandon. It seems likely that they were created for display and/or for commercial sale as part of the November 7, 1912 "Harvest" edition of The Brandon Sun. Alfred Fowler acquired a copy of the Davidson and Gowen prints during his stay at C.F.B. Shilo during the Second World War. In 1946 Alfred Fowler left Brandon returning to his home in Toronto. With the death of Alfred in 1969 the collection passed to his wife, Elsie Fowler. Elsie died in 1987, also in Toronto. Her estate passed to her nephew, Byron Forsyth, a Brandon resident. Byron brought the collection back to Brandon and in 1999 donated it to the McKee Archives.
Scope and Content
The prints concern various subjects in Brandon, Manitoba c. 1911-1912 including Brandon residences, store fronts/businesses, streetscapes, churches, the Brandon Fair, parks, hotels, institutional structures (ie hospitals, City Hall) and rail yards (both Canadian Northern and Canadian Pacific) in the city. These images provide a visual record of Brandon in the years just before the Great War.
CAIN No. 202647. All addresses listed for photographs in the Fowler collection were derived from Henderson's Directories (1911, 1913).
Copies of the photographs are in the green binder on the reference shelf in the reading room. Negatives for CPR photographs have been placed with 6-1999.10 (CPR Railway depot).