Archivists hate when their records are wrong, but they also love to correct them.

That’s what happened this week.

A researcher recently emailed to say that one of our photos on R.J. Haney Heritage Village website had names mixed up.

“Your photo,” Doug Mobley wrote, “catalogue number 1987.0156.0014 is described as:
Bedford Family at home. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bedford with children baby Victor, Doug, Margaret, Albert and Charles Jr. on his Dad's knee.”

“I bought a copy of this photo from your museum last year and was recently informed by Chuck Mobley that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bedford are actually Mr. and Mrs. Albert Bedford. The children are correctly named. Victor later married Nina Joy Mobley, who is an aunt of Chuck’s.”

Darn! I thought. He’s right! Everyone knows the pharmacist was Albert Bedford. Where did the name Charles come from?

I replied thanking Doug, saying I’d like to confirm with Chuck Mobley, another familiar archives researcher. Then I told Doug about the golden rule in archives practice – always confirm a story by, ideally, three independent sources. People who know the subject.

The portrait of the well-known Bedford family was taken in their first decade on Peters Street. They lived in a house that stood tall, according to one architect. The photo was taken in the living room. In the background are a piano and walls with original art. Mr. and Mrs. Bedford sat in wicker chairs.

There was a lot of back and forth between the two Mobley cousins. Then Chuck suggested he contact Barbara Dagneau, Albert’s grand-daughter. She should be the authority on the names.

It turned out the Bedfords had a habit of naming their children and then calling them by their middle names. It was all very confusing.

Barbara Dagneau informed Chuck Mobley that Victor’s name was actually George Victor. The son, Charles, was Charles Maxfield and actually went by the name of Max, not Charles or Maxfield. Albert Junior had a middle name, Lasby, where Albert Senior did not have one. Albert Junior took over Bedford’s Drug Store from Albert Senior and later sold the store.

Victor (George Victor) was encouraged to become an optometrist by his father, Albert. Albert senior saw a need for a professionally trained optometrist in Salmon Arm and encouraged his son, Victor, to become one. Victor became Salmon Arm’s first optometrist.

The four of us spent some spent some time getting the details right for the website. I corrected the description.

But there was still something wrong. The photograph was attributed to 1914. A little research and help from Doug Mobley showed baby Victor was born in April 1915, so I scrutinized the image some more.

The Bedford babe, George Victor (Vic) was under a year old. The mother in me figured he was closer to the six months’ range. There were no teeth apparent, but Vic wasn’t smiling. One of my own children didn’t teeth until 9 months. He also crawled about that time. I had not considered the Bedford genes. Were their babies big? Or was Vic born prematurely?

The baby in this photo had a strong back, so he was likely at the crawling stage.

I told my researchers I was happy to give this image a revised date of 1915. It could also be a little later, say the spring of 1916, but Vic didn’t look like a “walker” to me.

But what about the facts?
• Vic was born April 19th (source Salmon Arm Observer newspaper dated April 22, 1915),
• Mom, Mary Clarissa Bedford, was wearing a cotton dress – not winter woolen skirt, so the image wasn’t likely a Christmas shot. Perhaps the dress was worn in the fall. Or maybe it was worn just because it was her prettiest gown.
• The image’s accession records were brief.
• The photo was part of a collection of glass plate images numbered 1987.156.
• The collection was accessioned by Dave Harper and credited as from a “Bedford” source. That’s it.

I wonder who took the photo? If the date was not 1914, Rex Lingford wasn’t on the scene, having signed up for service. It could be a Frank Duncan or Hector J. Perrier shot. Perrier specialized in portraits. He lived a few blocks from the Bedfords when he rented Mattie Carroll’s house. Perrier arrived in 1914 and there was a rumour around town that he was leaving in July 1916.

Bedford’s drug store sold photography supplies. We know Albert Sr. sold Kodak film in the first shop between 1909 and 1912. Maybe Albert Bedford set up the shot and had someone else take it. 

Who really knows?

Post Script:

The Bedford extended family has been very generous over the years, donating artefacts to the Museum collection. They include the piano which is now at Haney House. Albert Bedford’s Chemist and Druggist certificate hangs in the archives. There are 61 glass plate negatives donated by the Bedford family and the original oil painting of a buck and deer which is in the photograph, in the archives vault. There’s also Albert Bedford’s hole-in-one golf ball in the museum’s collections area, used to hit the first hole-in-one on the Salmon Arm Golf Course in 1928.

Quite a record of commitment to preserving our community’s memories.

Thank you Doug, Chuck, and Barb for helping me get the record straight!

Post Post Script

The family members switched positions for another shot. This one has baby Victor and other boys smiling! Or almost. Was it something the photographer said?