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Finnie family fonds

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Finnie family fonds

Title Notes 


Title based on provenance of the fonds.

Accessions 79/106, 81/21, 82/414, 82/561, and 87/12R were formerly called the Richard S. Finnie collection. Accession 82/80 was formerly called the Finnie Family collection.

Level of Description 



Dates of Creation 


1898-1948, 1973-1980

Physical Description 


1,187 photographs : 754 b&w prints, 432 b&w negs., 1 col. print
0.23 m of textual records
2 film reels : (1 hr., 23 min.) : duplicate, col., sd.

Scope and Content 


The fonds consists of photographs, textual records, and films. The majority of the material was created or collected by Richard S. Finnie primarily during his work on the Canol and Alaska Highway projects. The photographs also include images of Dawson City and the surrounding gold fields, other Yukon communities, and scenes in the Northwest Territories and the Eastern and Western Arctic (81/21). Identified photographers include Richard Finnie, Oswald Sterling (O.S.) Finnie, Fenley Hunter, C.T. Pedersen, Cyril Wingneks, L.T. Burwash, and Richard Roediger. The photographs date from 1898 to 1943.

Richard Finnie's photographs documenting the construction of the Canol pipeline, 1942-1944, include the June 1942 aerial reconnaissance flight from Norman Wells, NWT to Whitehorse, Yukon, storage tanks and the discovery well at Norman Wells, Taylor & Drury Sheldon Lake Trading Post, views of U.S. Army troops en route to Whitehorse, contract workers in Carcross, the Whitehorse airport, Snag and Aishihik airfields, telephone linemen at work, the Canol refinery in Whitehorse and Bechtel - Price - Callahan construction camps.

Oswald Finnie's photographs, originally compiled in albums, depict a variety of scenes including buildings, homes and people in Dawson City, Bear Creek, cabins and mining in the Gold Fields, Whitehorse, Carcross, Keno, Mayo, Klondike City, as well as Tacoma and Ottawa, 1898-1929. The photographs were taken by Oswald Finnie and friends and associates and many people are identified including Nell and Oswald Finnie, Richard and Phoebe Roediger and Richard Finnie as a young child. There are also a number of photographs taken by commercial photographers Goetzman, Wolfe, and Duclos, 1898-1906.

Photographs by unidentified photographers depict the Dawson City flood in May 1925, and Herschel Island dwellings, food storage racks and bales of fur. Photographs by Fenley Hunter capture the LaPierre House trail, RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Corporal Thornthwaite, Dan Cadzow at Rampart House, and John Firth of Fort McPherson in 1928. There are also photographs from a Goetzman album, "Souvenirs of Gold Commissioner's Office, 1898-1915" with views of Dawson City and the Gold Fields.

There are a number of photographs taken by Oswald Finnie, Richard Finnie, L.T. Burwash and others in the Eastern and Western Arctic which depict Gwitchin men gambling and fishing at Arctic Red River, and views of Shingle Point, Fort McPherson, King William Island in the Northwest Territories and Herschel Island on the Yukon's north coast. One colour photograph (accession 82/414) was taken at Forty Mile in 1973.

Correspondence includes letters Richard Finnie wrote (in 1980 and 1983) to Sandy Sippolo, Shelagh Grant, Stan Cohen and A.M. Pearson. He writes about the construction of the Haines Road, the Canol Road and the Alaska Highway, and his involvement in the projects (82/561). There is also correspondence with Lyman Woodman regarding his 1977 published article about the Canol Pipeline (79/106). The carbon copy of Finnie's diary describes his work on the Canol Project and the Alaska Highway from May 26, 1942 to May 24, 1946 (93/69R). There are also miscellaneous textual records including a copy of a letter from the Northwest Territories Council expressing condolences on the death of his father, Oswald Sterling Finnie, January 1948; a copy of Richard Finnie's 1906 baptismal certificate; a copy of a 1944 hand-drawn map of Dawson City streets, with detailed descriptions of certain buildings; and a copy of a page of photographs of Dawson City buildings, including the cabin in which Richard Finnie was born (82/80).

The two films, "The Alaska Highway" and "Canol", were written, edited and directed by Richard Finnie. The filming project came under U.S. Army jurisdiction, which resulted in classification of the films as 'secret'. They were declassified in 1973 and shown publicly for the first time, thirty years after they were made (87/12R).

Administrative History or Biographical Sketch 


Click on the link(s) below for more information.

Finnie family

Other Names Access Point(s) 


Click on the link(s) below for more information.

Finnie, Richard Sterling, 1906-1987
Finnie, Oswald Sterling, 1876-1948
Roediger, Richard

Immediate Source of Acquisition 


The material was donated by Richard Finnie.

Custodial History 


The copy of the diary was forwarded by the National Archives of Canada in 1993.

Restrictions on Access 


The videocassettes of the films are available for non-commercial use to any person, organization or company whose primary interest is making available to the public information of historical significance. For commercial use of the videocassettes of the films, contact Media Services Branch, Department of the Army, Office of the Secretary of the Army, Washington, DC 20310-1505. There are no donor-imposed restrictions on the remaining material except for the credit line. Any use and/or reproduction of the fonds to include the following: Yukon Archives, Finnie family fonds, accession #. Any photographs taken by Richard Finnie or Oswald Sterling Finnie to be credited as follows: Yukon Archives, Finnie family fonds, accession # photo # . Photographer, Richard Finnie or Photographer, Oswald Sterling Finnie. General copyright or institutional or legal restrictions may apply.

Terms For Use and Reproduction 


Films contain music that may be copyrighted by the U.S. Army.



Finnie also donated a copy of "The Alaska Highway", published by the Public Relations Branch of the Northwest Service Command in 1944 (PAM 1942-033). This was transferred to the Yukon Archives Library.

Of the 754 prints, some, such as the Goetzman images, are contact sheets made from third generation negatives. Others are original prints made by Finnie, such as the images of the Canol. The negatives are copy negatives that he made, even some of his own work. The location of his original negatives is unknown. The 754 prints and 432 negatives he created were donated to the Yukon Archives.

All photographs are in accession 81/21 except for the colour print which is in accession 82/414.

Item level Title, Scope and Content, and Dates of Creation information taken from photograph. Information in square brackets [ ] provided by Archivist.

Physical Description Notes 


The negatives correspond to the prints.

Availability of Other Formats 


Videocassette and DVD copies of the films are available for viewing. Circulating videocassette copies are available at the Whitehorse Public Library.

The photograph in accession 82/414 has been digitized as a Production Master for access.

Finding Aid 


There is a caption list for the photographs in accession 81/21.
Click here to view online.

There are detailed shot listings for the films and an inventory of the diary dates.

Location of Original 


Library and Archives Canada (formerly called the National Archives of Canada) holds the original b&w photographs (161 P-370) and colour photograph (161 P-142), and original diary (MG31C6 v1&2). The original films are probably held at the U.S. National Archives.

Related Material 


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) series - CD 42 (8)-1 SR 167 (05)e; CD 47 (41)-1 to 4 SR 199 (43); CD 47 (102)-1 SR 199 (141).

Associated Material 


Richard Finnie fonds, NWT Archives; Richard Sterling Finnie fonds, National Archives of Canada; Richard Finnie fonds and O.S. Finnie fonds, Provincial Archives of Alberta. The Dawson City Museum also has records of the Finnie family.



79/106, 81/21, 82/80, 82/414, 82/561, 87/12R, 93/69R

Specific Location 


MSS 4 (82/80) : Textual records
MSS 95 (79/106) : Textual records
MSS 130 (82/561) : Textual records
MSS 247 - MSS 248 (93/69R) : Textual records
PHO 47 (82/414) : Photographs
PHO 140 - PHO 143 (81/21) : Photographs
16-21 and V-46-2 (87/12R) : Film/video
16-22 and V-49-1 (87/12R) : Film/video
DVD 56 (1) (87/12R) : DVD
DVD 57 (1) (87/12R) : DVD

Record Last Modified 



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