The fonds consists of records collected by James Valleau, presumably once living in Edmonton. They relate to different events in Edmonton, often prior to James' own birth or living in Edmonton. As such, his relation to the documents is uncertain. It is assumed that Valleau collected them in pursuit of an interest in the history of the city. The records are divided into three main topics - the Edmonton Industrial Association and its 1914 promotional trip, 'The Edmonton Spirit'; the early theatrical scene in Edmonton; and miscellaneous.
Edmonton Industrial Association
The Edmonton Industrial Association, which operated under the aegis of the Edmonton Board of Trade, was created to promote Edmonton and industrial opportunities to a wider national and international audience. In June 1914, a two week promotional train excursion named 'Edmonton Spirit' was made from Edmonton to Toronto, with stops in Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Stratford and Guelph. The train journey was interspersed with civic receptions and tours of local facilities. Among the passengers were some of Edmonton's leading businessmen. A twice-daily newsletter was published each day of the journey.
The records include itineraries, notes, articles, newsletters, announcements and accounts of the 'Edmonton Spirit' train excursion. There are also two panorama photographs of the excursion participants, taken in Winnipeg and Milwaukee.
The theatrical programmes include material that was originally created by Kenneth A. Ross. Mr. Ross came to Edmonton from Ontario around 1913 and appears to have had ambitions of being a concert impresario. He was manager or presenter of some concerts in 1916. Then in 1917, Ross, with the cooperation of the Edmonton Women's Musical Club, arranged the 'Edmonton Concert Series', to be held in the 1917-1918 season, and produced a brochure with biographies of the upcoming performers in order to promote sales.
In 1920, Ross was promoted to manager of the Musical Merchandise Sales Co., who was the Canadian distributor of Brunswick phonographs. However in 1923, Ross was convicted in Calgary of the theft of 133 gramophones from the McLaran Gramophone Corp. of Stratford, Ontario, and sentenced to three years in the Prince Albert penitentiary.
The theatrical records of Kenneth A. Ross include handbills, programmes including the brochure for the 'Edmonton Concert Series' produced by Mr. Ross, photographs and album. The photographs, most of which are in the photo album, are portraits of several of the concert performers, many with salutations addressed to Kenneth A. Ross or his wife. The Ross theatrical records also include a handbill for a play, 'The Temple of Fame', in which both Kenneth Ross and his wife are listed as performers. Accompanying the handbill is a handwritten document, 'Red Cross Nurse', which is likely the script for Mrs. Ross' address in the play.
There are also other theatrical programmes that are likely not associated with Kenneth Ross as they are for concerts either before his arrival in Edmonton, or after his 1923 conviction. It is not known if these programmes were originally used by Valleau, or by someone else and collected by Valleau.
The miscellaneous material includes a commencement programme for the Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing, an advertisement for Thompson & Dynes women's wear shop in Edmonton, and newspaper clippings.