Williams & Harris Shared History Centre

The Williams & Harris Shared History Centre features several special collections of images and maps of Calgary and Southern Alberta's history that the Calgary Public Library has digitized and made available online.

When the New Central Library opens in fall 2018, the Williams & Harris Shared History Centre will invite Calgarians and visitors to contribute to our city’s shared history, complete with technology to capture and share stories, an old-media lab, and programing to facilitate and enhance these contributions.

  • Alison Jackson Collection – In 1988, the estate of former Calgary Public Library librarian Alison Jackson donated an extensive collection of slides and photographs to the Local History Collection. These images, primarily of Calgary’s historic buildings and residences, were taken between 1953 and 1977.
  • Century Homes Calgary 2012 – The Century Homes Calgary project was a grassroots initiative celebrating houses built during Calgary’s first building boom in 1912. This project was led by the Calgary Heritage Initiative along with the participation of Calgary Public Library, Federation of Calgary Communities, Calgary Heritage Authority, Cliff Bungalow–Mission Community Association and Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association. Some 508 homeowners signed up to research their homes, and create and display yard signs with historical information during Historic Calgary Week, July 27 to August 3, 2012.
  • Century Homes Calgary 2013 – The success of Century Homes Calgary in 2012 encouraged a repeat celebration in 2013, which ran from July 26 to August 5. Despite the flooding tragedy in June 2013, which affected many historic homes in the inner city, 281 participants put up yard signs and banners that were photographed for the legacy database.
  • City of Calgary Heritage Inventory Collection – We are delighted to partner with the Calgary Heritage Authority in presenting this collection of photographs that document items on the City of Calgary’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Sites. These photographs are an important part of the historic resource documentation process and help researchers gain access to detailed building information that might otherwise be lost, particularly if the building has been demolished.The initial collection, by local photographers James McMenamin and Michael Knudsen, offers a detailed look at three important buildings in Calgary’s history: The Harvey Block, The Barron Building and Eamon’s Bungalow Camp.
  • East Village – The East Village is Calgary’s oldest and newest neighbourhood. Archaeological evidence suggests the land which makes up the East Village has been used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Since the founding of Fort Calgary in 1875, the land has undergone many evolutions. In 2007, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation was created to revitalize and redevelop the district. This collection comprises over 3000 files from 2007 to present which trace the redevelopment of the area. This collection is made available thanks to the generous donation of the DeBoni Family and the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.
  • Historic Maps of Calgary and Alberta – This collection highlights a sampling of historic Calgary maps from some of the Community Heritage and Family History’s map collection, which consists of hundreds of maps ranging in date from the early days of Calgary and Alberta to the present. With your support, we hope to make more of these valuable resources available.
  • Judith Umbach – Judith Umbach has donated over 4,000 photographs to the Local History Collection since 2005. Most of the pictures depict the construction, architecture and development of Calgary, with a highlight being the careful photographic record of the construction of the Bow building. This collection, which continues to grow, is grouped into searchable themes. Judith gained an appreciation of contemporary history while serving on the Board of Trustees for Calgary Public Library.
  • Postcards from the Past – This extensive collection contains almost 2,000 postcards. From the early days of the Calgary Stampede to streets in Mount Royal, these postcards offer a fascinating glimpse into more than 100 years of Alberta history. Any writing found on the back of the postcards has also been included.
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