Series 1 - Byron-May Company

Livestock Display Baseball Game At Diamond Park Path By North Saskatchewan River Coal Mining Jasper Avenue Looking West At 102 Avenue Oat Field - Edmonton District Mountain Roadway Jasper Avenue Edmonton By Night Boat On A River Wabamun, Alta.
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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Byron-May Company

General material designation

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Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of series.

Level of description


Reference code

CA EDM MS-1192-1

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1905 - 1916 (Creation)
    Byron-May Company

Physical description area

Physical description

92 photographs

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Percy Byron arrived in Edmonton in April 1906 with the intention of ranching or farming. However he quickly realized there were no ‘photographic engraving’ businesses, ie businesses capable of producing publications with photographs, in the area at the time. In fact there were none between Winnipeg and Vancouver. As the son of famous New York photographer Joseph Byron, he saw an opportunity. Within twenty-four hours of arriving in Edmonton, he telegraphed his father to ship one ‘complete photographic engraving plant’. He set up a shop on First Street (now 101 Street) and by August he was producing photographic images.

The following year, Percy’s brother-in-law, Gustave May, joined him and the Byron-May Company was formed. While Byron-May are often credited with predominance in scenic imagery photography, a staple in their business was the capacity to produce illustrated catalogues and brochures with their photoengraving equipment. This was a crucial advantage in the early days of advertising.

By 1913, the Byron-May Co. had over 10 employees. As their business grew they found an investor and built a two-storey brick building at 252 Howard Avenue (now 100A Street). The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce commissioned the Byron-May Company to create images and produce brochures promoting Edmonton. Some of these images have become iconic in telling the history of Edmonton.

The Byron-May Company fell on hard times with the coming of World War I and the business was sold to McDermid Engraving in 1917. Both Percy Byron and Gustave May returned to New York with their families.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The series consists of Byron-May Company photographs from the Byron-May album. Many were part of their business, including images commissioned by the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. The photographs include buildings, sports events, agriculture, exhibitions, street and river valley scenes, and military personnel. At the time, these photographs were used to promote Edmonton as an up-and-coming city.

Other commissioned photographs, such as family or home portraits, show not only the growth of the Byron-May Co. and the booming prosperity of Edmontonians at the time, but also reflect the increasing popularity of photography in the early twentieth century.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The material was arranged according to the filing system of the creator.
The photographs were assigned item numbers with the prefix EB-23.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Public Domain.

Finding aids

See Scope and content above.

Associated materials


General note

Accession number: A77-140

General note

Photographer: Byron-May Co.

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Description record identifier

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City of Edmonton Archives

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Rules for Archival Description (RAD)
Archives Society of Alberta Subject Terms


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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

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Script of description


Accession area

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