Manitoba Photographers: Percy Charles Edwards (1878-1952)
Born in London, England on 12 December 1878, he started in photography at an early age, working for a prominent London Studio where his first job was to hand loaded film holders to the studio owner as he took portraits. In 1903, Edwards immigrated to Canada to settle on a homestead in Saskatchewan. Getting off the train at Boissevain, he decided instead to stay there, moving to Killarney in 1904 where he became a partner in a photography studio with a Mr. Scott. The partnership dissolved in 1910 when Scott moved to the USA.
The first Edwards studio was located on the east side of Broadway. It was destroyed, along with a large collection of negatives depicting early scenes around Killarney, in a 1917 fire. The studio was rebuilt and remained in continuous use until October 1976 when Edwards’ son, John, moved it to an addition on the family home on Clark Street. The studio on Broadway was sold to the Bank of Commerce in 1977, which tore it down to make way for a new bank building. For many years, Edwards operated studios in the nearby towns of Cartwright, Crystal City, Pilot Mound, and Manitou. He would pack his photographic gear in a steamer trunk and spend four or five days on the road, returning to develop and print the photographs at his Killarney studio.
On 11 May 1921, he married Florrie Hellis McCormick (1890-1966) at Stonewall and they had one child, John Boyd Edwards, who took over the business from his father in 1952.
Edwards suffered a heart attack in August 1951 from which he never fully recovered. He died at home in March 1952 and was buried in the Killarney Cemetery.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Kristen Kellick and Paula Lietz for providing additional information used here.
This page was written by Gordon Goldsborough, drawn from a brief biography at the J. A. Victor David Museum in Killarney, which possesses the Edwards family collection of antique cameras and samples of their work.
Page revised: 3 March 2018