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Archibald Murchie collection
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- Graphic material
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ca. - (Creation)
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69 photographs : b&w
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After Murchie’s death in 1930, his wife quickly remarried and had his photography equipment destroyed. In 1948 a few glass negative plates were salvaged from a chicken house by the Gorman family children as a worker was scraping off the emulsions to use the glass. After this, the photographs were assumed into the custody of B.W. Wilson, from which point they were transferred to the Doug Cox collection.
Scope and content
Archibald Murchie (1852-1930) immigrated to Victoria, BC as an adult. His brother, Thomas Murchie would go on to found Murchie’s Tea and name his own son Archibald Murchie (1892-1925, and not to be confused with his namesake). Following his calling to become an evangelist minister for the Spiritualist Church (an off-shoot of the Church of England), he set off into the interior of BC to preach as a missionary.
Although Murchie had dabbled in photography prior to coming to Canada, his career began in earnest when he arrived in Williams Lake, BC, in 1893. Wherever his missionary calling took him, Murchie brought along his camera. Marcus Smith, famed CPR engineer and previous associate of Murchie’s by function of their common membership to the Spiritualist Church, hired Murchie to photograph the creation of a bridge over the Fraser River at Sheep Creek. Work on this project was slow enough to afford Murchie to engage in side trips to Quenel, BC, and farther north. Here he made a connection with the Reverend A. H. Cameron who suggested he establish a parish in Princeton. After this failed, Murchie returned to the Cariboo and set up a photography studio in Ashcroft, BC.
In 1911 Murchie moved again to the Okanagan Valley and in 1916 at age 64 he married Amy Wood. His last attributed photograph was taken in 1918.
Scope and content:
Landscapes showing developing infrastructure in the interior of British Columbia in the later 19th and early 20th century, with especially robust coverage of the construction of railroads and bridges, as well as some mining operations. Features group portraits of work crews.
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These photographs have been digitized and are available on UBC’s Open Collections https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/djcox/items/1.0304880
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Wilson, B.W. (n.d.) B.C.’s Evangelist Photographer Archibald Murchie [unpublished manuscript].