Adding gender to the archival contextual turn: the Rocky Mountain photographic records of Mary Schäffer Warren

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Rutkair, Jennifer
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This thesis explores the significance of gender as an overlooked element of context in understanding the provenance of archival records. The relevance of gender to archival provenance is demonstrated through a case study analysis of the gendered contexts of record creation, use, and meaning. The analysis is grounded in an examination of the archival photographic and textual records of Mary Schäffer Warren, an amateur photographer, traveller, and explorer of the Canadian Rocky Mountains during the years 1888 and 1939. This thesis argues that gender is an important context in a record’s provenance providing nuanced understandings of socio-cultural relations and processes of record creation, use, and meaning. Gender as context further empowers the principle of provenance by more fully reflecting how and why records are created which accordingly allows archivists to appraise, acquire, and describe records in ways more sensitive to gender as a socio-cultural reality.
gender, societal provenance, archives, archival theory, photographs