Toronto. This report is a review of our May, 2017 presentation on Edwin Thomas Haynes (come out this September 20th to our next presentation). The story and selected photographs by Edwin Haynes were presented by his grand nephew and photographer Bruce Hodgson. In attendance was Bruce’s daughter, Lizz Hodgson. Bruce told an enchanting tale of this seldom mentioned Canadian photographer born in Cheltenham, England near the border with Wales late in 1876.
Barely two years old, Haynes emigrated to Canada with his parents, settling in Toronto. In early 1910 he married a miss Earla Stouffer in Stouffville. On their honeymoon the couple took a world wide tour and photographs. Included were a visit to Edwin’s birth place in Cheltenham, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Gibraltar. Back in Canada, Haynes settled briefly in Chesley, Ontario (my father’s dining room set was made by Krug in Chesley from American grown Walnut). Haynes eventually moved home to Toronto where his son Edward was born. Shortly afterwards, the little family travelled west, with Edwin taking photographs along the way.
Haynes was relatively short lived, falling victim to the world-wide Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Initially the Toronto influenza victims were buried in a mass grave site. Once it was known that the bodies did not carry the deadly flu virus, his was exhumed and reinterred in Prospect cemetery. Haynes’s widow and son moved to BC leaving Edwin’s box of slides with Bruce’s father in Toronto. Sadly Edwin’s widow died in BC in childbirth and four year old Edward was sent alone by train to his aunt May and her son, Russel Hodgson in Toronto. Edward grew up in Toronto as the son of his aunt. On his death, his father’s cherished wooden box passed on to Lizz’s father.
Some of Haynes’ photographs had been reduced to carefully assembled glass slides, complete with a cover glass and tape binding to make them air-tight. The slides were housed in the wooden box that accompanied both Haynes and his relatives as they moved from place to place over the years.
Bruce Hodgson decided to open the old wooden box one day. He looked at a sampling of the 200 slides the box contained and to his surprise, they were technically well exposed and artistically framed. Bruce selected some 70 slides and created digital images from them. He used Photoshop to clean them, make any minor adjustments, and add identifying cut lines making them suitable for presentation. Following are a few examples.
Research to date shows that Haynes had photographic studios in various towns. He was a member of the Toronto Camera Club, but doesn’t appear in Lilly Koltun’s epic 1983 book on amateur photography in Canada from 1839 – 1940, Private Realms of Light. A few of the slides shown tonight were possibly taken by others and copied by Haynes for his collection.
Bob Wilson noticed a few slides, including a photo of Vancouver’s Railway Station, were half of a stereo pair in his personal collection. A lively discussion wrapped up the evening. Some members promised to assist the Hodgson family in its pursuit of the images of Edwin Haynes.