Fonds - Brigden Family fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Brigden Family fonds

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Dates of creation area


  • 1856-1964 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.476 metres : textual records
662 : graphic images

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Frederick H. Brigden (known as Fred to distinguish him from his father) was nineteen months old when he came to Canada with his parents and brother in 1872. A natural talent for drawing and painting led to Fred receiving drawing lessons from the age of seven. He went on sketching trips from the age of twelve and at fourteen was enrolled as a student at the Ontario School of Art.In 1888, Fred Brigden entered his father's business as a wood-engraver. As well as becoming Art director of the firm, training fashion artists for Eaton's Catalogue and supervising the change-over from wood to photo-engraving, by 1890 he was an active member of the Toronto Art Students' League. Here he came under the influence of C.W. Jeffrey's and C. M. Manley, the latter becoming a close personal friend. From this time on, Fred Brigden began his second career as a professional artist. By the end of the century he was an established member of the Ontario Society of Artist and had exhibited at the Royal Canadian Academy, becoming a member in 1939.

In 1913, Frederick Brigden sent Fred to Winnipeg to find suitable premises for a new branch of the family firm. Once the firm began operating in 1914 and Arnold O. Brigden was installed as manager, Fred Brigden divided his time between Winnipeg and Toronto. Following his father's death in 1917 and his brother George's assumption of the Presidency, Fred Brigden became General Manager of both branches of the firm. The Winnipeg branch was incorporated as a company in its own right in 1920 with Fred Brigden as President and Arnold O. Brigden as Manager.

Following his brother George's death in 1941, Fred Brigden became President of both the Toronto and Winnipeg firms, and resigned as General Manager. He left the running of the business to an executive and board consisting of family members and skilled department heads. He spent his last years painting, writing and giving talks on art and matters relating to art. He died March 24 1956 while on a sketching trip to Bolton, Ontario.

Custodial history

The custodial history of the items described here is uncertain. Some items are cited in the catalogue for the 1974 exhibition "The Brigden Collection" and the items described here may have come to the Winnipeg Art Gallery after Arnold Brigden's death in 1972.

Scope and content

The collection consists of letters, diaries, family photographs dating from the 1880s, business papers and other memorabilia pertaining to the Brigden family and the Brigden graphic arts firm. Items include letters from a number of important Canadian artists. Also described here is memorabilia concerning the Rev. Thomas Brigden and Kingswood School; Cornelius Fielder; and the Winnipeg Community Players.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Arrangement has been imposed by the arranging archivist.

Language of material

Script of material

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Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No restrictions on access; advance notice required to view.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

No reproduction without prior written permission.

Finding aids

The Finding Aid is the fonds decription.

Associated materials

Associated material: Other personal papers and photographic materials pertaining to the Brigden family have been accessioned by the University of Manitoba Archives.

Related materials


Further accruals are not expected at this time.


Graphic images include photographs, postcards, negatives and photographic illustrations.

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  • English

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