Fonds MG H 80 - Madge Smith

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Madge Smith

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  • Textual record

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  • 1934 - 1985; predominant 1934 - 1964 (Creation)
    Smith, Madge

Physical description

12 cm textual records
70 photographs : b&w 27.5 x 17.5 cm or smaller

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Biographical history

Elizabeth Marjorie (Madge) Smith was born on 7 [April] 1898 at Iden, near Rye, Sussex, England, the daughter of Edwin James Smith and Beatrice Neeves. In 1901, the family, including four boys and three girls, moved to Fredericton, NB. Madge Smith graduated from Fredericton High School in 1917. It was during this time that Smith became interested in photography. She began taking snapshots with a box camera and a vest pocket camera. In the fall of 1917, Smith attended Fredericton Business College and in 1918 began work in the office of FitzRandolph's wholesale grocery. In 1924, she went to work at Harvey Studios and remained there until 1930. Finally, in 1936, she became proprietress of her own shop at 518 Queen Street. She sold hand-coloured photographs coloured with Windsor and Newton oil colours and she also introduced Deichmann pottery to her customers. In her spare time, she took snapshots of the winter market, ice-cutting on the river, the Odell property, and Wilmot Park.

In 1940, Madge Smith moved to another store on Queen Street. She sold her own personal photographs and also photographs of the Queen, wife of King George VI, taken by Frank Pridham of Harvey Studios. In addition to selling photographs and Deichmann pottery, Smith also sold stone and silver jewellery from Nova Scotia and articles from the Madawaska weavers. As well, she carried paintings by a number of Canadian artists, including Jack Humphrey, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Lucy Jarvis, and Fritz Bradtner. Smith played a significant role in helping New Brunswick and Maritime craft become better known and appreciated.

Smith retired from her shopkeeping business in 1961. In 1970, the University of New Brunswick and the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick held a joint exhibition of her work at the Provincial Archives. Her photographs also formed part of the exhibit "Fredericton: The Early Years," shown at the Provincial Archives in April 1974, shortly after her death which occurred on 18 February 1974.

Source: Autobiography of Madge Smith. (Series 2, File 31)

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds contains mostly correspondence, articles, newspaper clippings, and exhibition catalogues relating to Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Canadian artist and long-time friend of Madge Smith. This fonds also contains 70 photographs taken by Smith during the late 1930s. Subjects of these photographs include places, such as the Fredericton Golf Course and the Oromocto Flats; winter scenes; and animals, such as horses and cats.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Madge Smith deposited printed matter, including correspondence, articles, newspaper clippings, and exhibition catalogues, relating to Pegi Nicol MacLeod, to the UNB Archives in May 1968. In March 1971, Madge Smith deposited a collection of her more purely aesthetic prints to the UNB Archives.


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Restrictions on access

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick holds a significant collection of negatives for Madge Smith photographs, including many prints in this fonds. Reproduction for these prints may require permission from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

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Finding aids

A calendar of the correspondence is available, as is an item-level listing of the photographs.

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The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick holds photographic material created by Madge Smith.


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