Fonds MS-2-701 - Alan Creighton fonds

The Dog Show

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Alan Creighton fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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  • 1845-2001 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

180 cm of textual records and other material. - 688 photographs. - 207 paintings. - 4411 sketches.

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Alan Bruce Creighton was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 5, 1903, the son of Charles Jolly (C.J.) Creighton and Harriet Smith (Hendry) Creighton. He attended the Victoria School of Art and Design and the Halifax Conservatory of Music, playing violin. He was also employed as a reporter covering the shipping news for the Halifax Chronicle and played piano to accompany silent films at Acker’s Theatre in Dartmouth. In addition, Alan attended business school, became a farmhand, and worked in an automobile factory in Detroit, Michigan.

Upon moving to Toronto, Alan worked at Canadian Forum Magazine and the Old Favourites Antiquarian Bookstore. Additionally, he was an editor of A New Canadian Anthology, published in 1938.

Throughout his life, Alan was a prolific writer of diaries, short stories, poems, and reminisces. He was also an active artist, doing mainly sketches and watercolours. Many of his poems and stories were printed in magazines and newspapers and two books of his poetry were published: Earth Call: A Book of Poems (1936) and Cross Country (1939). Both publications were well-reviewed.

Alan Creighton passed away in Toronto, Ontario on June 24, 2003 at the age of ninety-nine.

Custodial history

The materials were donated to Dalhousie University Archives in nine accessions between 1996 and 2007. The records of accessions no. 1996-045, 1997-006, 1997-018, and 1999-044 were previously in the custody of Alan Creighton. Records donated in accessions no. 1997-052 and 1997-070 were previously held by Jan Goodlad (niece of Alan Creighton). The materials of the 2003-045 accession were donated by the Estate of Alan Creighton (via executrix Ada MacDonald), and the records of the most recent accession (2007-048) were in the custody of Helen Hendry (cousin of Alan Creighton). There is also an accession no. 1997-055, but its custodial history is unknown.

Scope and content

Fonds includes Alan Creighton's diaries, which cover many of the years from 1920 to 2000. Writings from the period 1920 to 1954 (many undated) are mainly short stories and poems. These writings include handwritten and typed, complete and incomplete, and published and unpublished works. There is also some correspondence throughout as well as copies of his two books of poetry. The fonds includes writings with titles such as "About Poetry," "Poetry Courses," "Thoughts," "Music & Art," and "Bedford Basin." His notebooks include evidence of a variety of courses taken, including French and Greek, music, poetry, and art (both practice and history, including Chinese art). There is also a record of his art sales from 1964 to 1999. Personal and family documents are included in the fonds.

Alan Creighton's artwork is extensive and primarily in the form of sketches and watercolours, with a few oil paintings. Many of his sketches are in albums, many of which are used exclusively for one particular aspect of his studies. For example, album labels include "People," "Trees," "Skies," "Rock Formations," "Buildings," "Railway Sketches" (scenes from train journeys), and "Outdoors." Others identify a place and time and include such labels as "At the Zoo," "Nova Scotian Sketches 1951," "South Shore 1982," and "Toronto 1996." Still others contain a mixture of styles and themes. There are also numerous loose sketches and watercolours which have been loosely arranged into similar groupings such as "Clouds," "Boats," "Flowers," and so forth. Photograph albums include photos of family and of scenes taken by Alan as a reference for future paintings.

Included with Alan Creighton’s personal items are papers, writings, art, and memorabilia belonging to his friend and roommate Christine Eyles, who died without heirs. Some relate to her employment as a violinist in England and in Toronto, Ontario and some contain her poetry, plays, and artwork (in sketchbooks and on loose paper). Published and handwritten music scores, mostly for the violin, are also included. A photograph album contains many formal portraits of family and friends taken in England in the early 20th century. Records also include papers by and about her father, Charles Eyles, a famous violin-maker. Such materials include advertisements, brochures, and letters attesting to the high quality of his craftsmanship.

Notes area

Physical condition

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Items are arranged thematically with like materials together, with much of the original order retained. In cases where the material was originally housed in an album, the original order and grouping has been retained.

Language of material

  • English

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Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Box 11, Folder 2 and Box 18, Folder 9 are closed as they contain sensitive personal data. All other materials are open for research.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Relevant materials may be found in the fonds of other members of the Creighton family. These fonds include the Norman Creighton fonds (MS-2-689), the Wilfred Creighton fonds (MS-2-264), and the Catherine Creighton and Family fonds (MS-2-656). The Norman Creighton fonds may be of particular relevance, as Norman and Alan Creighton were brothers.

Related materials


Further accruals are not expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Alan Creighton fonds, MS-2-701, Box [box number], Folder [folder number], Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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