Maurice Crosby fonds

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Maurice Crosby fonds

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Reference code

Accession 1997-254 / 001-011.

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  • 1943-1995 (Creation)
    Crosby, Maurice

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Physical description

92 cm of graphic material

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Maurice Crosby was born on 10 July 1926 in Miami, Fla. Upon the death of his father and remarriage of his mother, his family moved first to Newfoundland and then to Nova Scotia, in 1930. Crosby left school in 1942 to join the United States Merchant Marine and during the next several years he participated in the Sicilian campaign and the Murmansk run, and served in the Pacific. He began his career as a photographer by snapping pictures of a convoy in which he was taking part. In 1943 he took the only known photograph available of Winston Churchill during the latter's stopover in Halifax while on the way to the Quebec Conference. The Halifax Herald bought the picture and it was subsequently published in many other newspapers. From 1950-1952 Crosby worked in Halifax as a photographer with Donald Morrison, and from 1952-1957 was a press photographer for the Halifax Herald and the Sydney Post-Record, as well as a commercial photographer in Ottawa. In 1957 he became a free-lance photographer and cameraman with the CBC in Halifax. In 1959 he established his own commercial photography studio as Maurice Crosby Photography Ltd, renamed the Village Photo Shop in 1976. Early in his career one of Crosby's associates had been noted pictorialist photographer Wallace MacAskill. After the latter's death in 1956, Crosby purchased his extensive body of negatives and later organized and selected some of the prints for a catalogue of MacAskill's work. He also sold as souvenirs reprints of the MacAskill's work. In the 1960s he was selected by the Department of Trade & Industry in Ottawa as Nova Scotia's representative to a Boston Gift Show to exhibit his photographs as examples of Nova Scotia's creative output. In the early 1980s Crosby left the studio and became a photographer for the provincial government, retiring in the 1990s. He died in Halifax on 9 October 2017.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of a representative sample of photographic files produced by the Crosby studio as well as selected samples of Crosby's work as a free-lance photographer in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1990s. The bulk of the studio's production consisted of portraits, passport snapshots, wedding photos, advertising copy work, industrial and construction site progress shots, aerial views of urban areas for developers, copy prints of architectural drawings and sketches, theatre and television publicity shots, and photos of notable buildings and street scapes. The files include negatives, copy prints, photographs and transparencies. They depict important contemporary persons and events, such as the famous 1943 Churchill photograph, aerial views of downtown Halifax and Dartmouth in the 1960s when rapid changes in urban development commenced, the early days of CBC Halifax television productions (e.g. Don Messer, Singalong Jubilee), the peak of industrial activity at Halifax Shipyards and Trenton Steel Works, the expanding fishing industry, the construction of the Sedco Oil Rig for Sable Island, 1969-1971, the assembly of Volvo automobiles in its Dartmouth plant, and the reactions of victims' families during the Springhill Mine Disaster of 1958.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Michael Crosby in 1996.


The files were organized by the creator into several separate groups, and within each of these arranged further in two ways: alphabetically by file title, and roughly by date. With some exceptions, the files dated prior to 1969 and after 1971 were alphabetically arranged while the files from 1969-1971 were chronologically arranged. The creator's original order has been maintained.

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Copyright owned by Nova Scotia Archives.

Finding aids

File list available.

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General note

The original body of work consisted of approximately 30,000 b&w negatives, 4,000 contact prints, 510 colour negatives, 300 b&w and colour photographs, and 900 transparencies and slides. A 5% systematic, representative sample (1 in every 20 files) was conducted first and then a selected sample of significant images was taken from the remainder, to provide a 10% overall retention figure.

Physical description

Includes ca. 2700 b&w negatives, 218 colour negatives, 614 contact prints, 577 8" x 10" b&w photographs, 64 8" x 10" colour photographs, and 3 colour transparencies.

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