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G.H. Williams postcard collection on Canada

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3062I

Scope and Contents

Album of coloured, monochrome and photographic postcards by various photographers, including a separate envelope containing nine duplicates. The period covered by the album corresponds to the 2-volume diary kept by Williams on a visit to Canada, whose general contents are described in the Manuscript Collection.

In his diaries, Williams makes various references to taking photographs, e.g. at Niagara 'I took a number of photographs as we went' (p. 89) but mostly in pessimistic terms, e.g. at Vancouver 'we did not get there until about 4pm so I don't expect my photographs will come out' (p. 163), Stanley Park 'I stalked a small squirrel for some time but did not get near enough to get a photograph' (p. 165); in the Rockies it was too cloudy (p. 178) and at New York too foggy (p. 195) for photographs. In any case there are none in this collection, but Williams was also a keen collector of postcards. At Halifax 'I cannot make out why they do not turn out a better brand of post card, they are very poor here' (p. 32). At Hamilton he 'got a few postcards' (p. 95). Calgary was the most satisfactory city from this viewpoint 'I got a very good set of postcards at a Woolworth store, photographs, the best postcards I have as yet seen in Canada' (p. 133). These were presumably the fine pictures of the Rockies by Byron Harmon of Banff. At Vancouver, however, 'I spent a good deal of time hunting for post cards, unsuccessfully. They don't seem to have many good ones here' (p.164). There are in fact some very good Vancouver views in the collection.

The postcards relate to all places visited in Canada, together with some views of Chicago, where he went on 11 October for a Commemoration Day in honour of his grandfather, Sir George Williams, and New York, whence he returned to England. It includes a few places, e.g. in Vancouver Island, which he does not appear to have visited. The collection, in summary, comprises:

1 S.S. Empress of France
2-14 Quebec
15-25 St Anne de Beaupré
26-34 Halifax, Nova Scotia
35-47 Fredericton, New Brunswick
48-57 Montreal
58-74 Ottawa
75-84 Toronto
85-93 Chicago
94-100 London, Ontario
101-110 Hamilton, Ontario
111-125 Niagara Falls
126-136, 138 Winnipeg, Manitoba
137 Boniface, Manitoba
139-142 Regina, Saskatchewan
143-185, 209 The Rockies
186-208 Vancouver, including Stanley Park and Capilano Canyon
210-219 Vancouver Island
220-225 New York

The catalogue entries for individual cards are, for the most part, limited to the titles on the front or back of each card, though occasionally additional information is given. Unless otherwise indicated, the cards are monochrome. Nearly 100 of the cards are reproduced from photographs, in many cases with a close approximation to actual prints. They are by varied publishers.


  • Creation: 1921-09-15 - 1921-11-21


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Some account of G.H. Williams, and the collection as a whole, will be found in the Manuscript Catalogue and RCMS 53.


1 album(s) (225 images in 1 album)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The album is fragile but the photographs themselves are in good condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given by the Museum of London in 1985.

Related Materials

Some account of the collection as a whole will be found in the Manuscript Catalogue and RCMS 53, and Williams' postcards and photographs of the Middle East are found at Y304H-L, and photographs of Egypt at Y3041D.


This collection level description was entered by SG using information from the original typescript catalogue.

Date information

DateText: This album is dated September 15, 1921 - November 21, 1921..


Williams, George Howard, 1893-1975, businessman

Includes index.
2003-12-05 09:23:34+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom