Manitoba Photographers: George Harding Harris (1900-1976)
Born at Selkirk on 19 November 1900, son of Percy Dewart Harris and Nina May Harding (1873-1926), in 1906 the family moved to Winnipeg. In the 1920s, George worked as a farm labourer in western Manitoba then homesteaded on a farm between Foxwarren and St. Lazare. During this period he spent his winters working in logging camps. In the early 1930s, he graduated from the Central Normal School then attended college at Menomonie, Wisconsin. In 1934, he went to Oxford House as a teacher and missionary for the United Church. On 13 December 1934, he married nurse Elizabeth Emily McIver (1906-1999) at The Pas then returned with her to Oxford House where they stayed until the birth of their only child, Alexander McIver Harris (1935-1977), at Winnipeg.
From 1937 to 1940, Harris taught industrial arts at the Brandon Collegiate Institute before enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force early in the Second World War. He was an instructor at the the RCAF Technical Training School at St. Thomas, Ontario. After the war ended, he returned to Winnipeg where he worked for the Unemployment Insurance Commission. He had a life-long amateur interest in photography and took remarkable images of the places he lived, worked, and travelled around Manitoba.
Harris took photos all over Manitoba, including both northern and southern parts of the province. Among the communities included in his extensive collection are Balmoral, Beausejour, Berens River, Binscarth, Birtle, Brandon, Carberry, Carman, Elkhorn, Elma, Flin Flon, Foxwarren, Gimli, Grand Beach, Grosse Isle, Hamiota, Harmsworth, Hecla, Hnausa, Lac du Bonnet, Morden, Morris, Neepawa, Nelson River, Norway House, Oak River, Oxford House, Pine Falls, Playgreen Lake, Portage la Prairie, Rennie, St. George, St. Laurent, St. Lazare, Selkirk, Sprague, Steinbach, Stony Mountain, The Pas, Virden, Warrens Landing, West Hawk, Whiteshell, and Winnipeg.
The main body of Harris’ work is represented by a collection of 27 albums, compiled and annotated after his retirement in 1967, held at the Archives of Manitoba.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Harris – McIvor,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 December 1934, page 9.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 1976, page 23.
Obituary [Alexander McIver Harris], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 August 1976, page 23.
Obituary [Elizabeth Emily Harris], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 October 1999, page 27.
Biographical sketch, Archives of Manitoba.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 5 September 2015
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