Fonds MS-396 - Edmonton Eskimos Football Club fonds

Edmonton Football Team Fort Saskatchewan Team - Played For Edmonton Edmonton Football Team - 1898 Edmonton Rugby Football Team On To Calgary Edmonton Eskimos - 1910 Edmonton Eskimos - 1911 Edmonton Eskimos Football Team Edmonton Eskimos Football Players Edmonton Eskimos Football Players
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Title proper

Edmonton Eskimos Football Club fonds

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  • Graphic material - photograph
  • Object
  • Moving images
  • Textual record

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

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Physical description

5 m of textual records and other material

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Administrative history

The modern incarnation of the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club was founded in 1949, although its predecessors date back as far as 1892, when an Edmontonian team was created in response to a challenge from Calgary and went on to win its first game. Three years later, a combined team of Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan players won the first Alberta Rugby Football Championship.

In 1908 the Edmonton Rugby Football Club was reorganized as the Esquimaux, a nickname it had acquired as early as 1897 from a Calgary sportswriter. The spelling was changed to Eskimos in 1910. In 1921, the Eskimos became the first Western Canadian football team to compete in the Grey Cup, but were defeated by the Toronto Argonauts. Following this and a subsequent loss in the 1922 Grey Cup, the Eskimos largely retreated from the football scene, making brief reappearances before being revived in 1949 as the publically-owned Edmonton Eskimo Rugby Football Club. ‘Rugby’ was dropped from the name in 1952.

Their first Grey Cup championship season came in 1954 under coach Frank ‘Pop’ Ivy and was immediately followed by two others in the succeeding years. In 1964, the Eskimo leadership was reorganized with the establishment of a nine- (later ten-) person Board of Directors and an explicit set of guidelines to replace its original ‘Articles of Association.’ From 1978 to 1982 the Eskimos won an unprecedented five championships in a row. The team continues to be a popular organization in the city, having won 13 Grey Cup championships. In June 2021, the team officially changed their name to the Edmonton Elks.

Custodial history

Allan Watt was the Media/Public Relations Director of the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club, Dave Jamieson was the Director of Communications and Broadcast for the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club, and Robert Dean was the chair of the Edmonton Eskimos Alumni at the time of their donations. Roy Rolheiser was a long time supporter of the Eskimos, along with his father-in-law, John Harold Cogill, who was also a shareholder.

Scope and content

This fonds includes records dealing with the Edmonton Eskimo Football Club, including game programs, media guides and fact books, bound hardcover team scrapbooks with media clippings dating from 1880-2007, ephemera including material relating to Peggy Miller (a CJCA promotion manager and an advocate for the Eskimos) as well as Canadian Football League publications such as rules manuals, statistics books, records manuals, and media guides for various Canadian teams.
The audio-visual material includes a video of highlights from Eskimos' 1954-55-56 Grey Cups and four films of the 1973, 1974, and 1981 Grey Cups and 1978 Schenley Awards. The photographs include various players, teams and games from 1892 to 1985.
The fonds is arranged as follows:

  • Series 1 – Canadian Football League
  • Series 2 – Ephemera
  • Series 3 – Media Guides
  • Series 4 – Program Guides
  • Series 5 – Publications, Newspapers and Scrapbooks
  • Series 6 – Audio-Visual
  • Series 7 – Objects

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

This fonds was donated to the City of Edmonton Archives by Allan Watt in 1989. Additional deposits were received from Dave Jamieson in 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2011, from Robert Dean in 2005 and Roy Rolheiser in 2017.


The material was arranged by the archivist by type of record, and/or in chronological order.
The photographs were assigned item numbers with the prefix EA-780.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright may apply.
Reproduction restrictions may apply.

Finding aids

Finding aid available online.

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Further accruals are expected.

General note

Accession numbers: A89-115, A99-186, A2000-168, A2003-42, A2005-2, A2006-192, A2011-17, A2017-103

Physical description

Includes 202 photographs, 35 scrapbooks, 4 films (A99-186), 1 DVD, ephemera and 7 objects.

Physical description

Some scrapbook material is fragile - handle with extra care.

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City of Edmonton Archives

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: MS Room
  • Box: MS Room