Fonds - May Ellingsen fonds

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May Ellingsen fonds

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Fonds

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  • 1910-1990 (Creation)
    Creator
    Ellingsen, May

Physical description area

Physical description

10 albums (152 photographs, 482 reproductions)

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1914-2012)

Biographical history

May Ellingsen was born on March 13, 1914 to George and Robina Freeman. Her maternal grandfather, Michael Manson, was the first person to pre-empt land on Cortes Island, claiming a quarter section on Gunflint Lake in 1886. May spent her childhood on Hernando Island, where her family homesteaded and logged, and on Cortes Island, where she attended the log school at Manson's Landing.
In 1936 May married Elmer Ellingsen. They spent the next ten years in the Loughborough Inlet/Phillips Arm area while Elmer worked for his father's logging operations. During those years their children, Shirley, Bruce and Andy, were born. In 1946 the family moved to Von Donop Creek, where Elmer was logging. In 1950 they moved their float house, built at the time of their marriage, to Manson's Landing Lagoon and two years later, to its present permanent location on Hague Lake.
May and Elmer devoted much time and energy to building their community. Amongst her many community activities, May ran the library at Manson's Hall. She had a strong interest in local history, researching the history of land pre-emptions on the island, collecting and annotating photographs from pioneer families and recording interviews with old timers. She was a founder of the Cortes Island Museum and Archives Society; the archives reading room is named in her honor. Historical materials and artifacts gathered by May formed the kernel of the museum's collections and archives.

Custodial history

May Ellingsen created the albums in the 1980s, and kept adding to them throughout the 1990s. She kept them at the Manson's Landing library and then at the museum from 1999. She officially donated them to CIMAS in 2004.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of ten photograph albums compiled and annotated by May Ellingsen. The albums contain both original and reproduced photographs of Cortes Island and nearby islands, including Twin Islands and Hernando Island. They are accompanied by captions and additional textual information such as pre-emption records, reminiscences and newspaper clippings. Most of the photographs date from the early decades of the 20th century, depicting homes and buildings, pioneer families, community activities, schools, wharves, boats, logging and marine activity. Fonds consists of two series: Series 1 (The May Ellingsen Historic Photograph Collection, Vol. 1-9, Accession 2004.002) and Series 2 (The Manson Family Album, Accession 2004.003).

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