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Description found in Archives

Date(s)

ca. 1930-1998

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

ca. 148,500 photographs : b&w and col.
42 plaques
22 prints : offset lithographs
1 film reel (8 min)
ca. 1.5m of textual records

Scope and content

The fonds consists of photographs by Ken Bell, taken during his career as a professional photographer, as an official photographer in the Film and Photo Unit of the Canadian Army, and as the official photographer of the National Ballet of Canada, as well as other graphic material, textual records, medallic material, and audio-visual records documenting Bell's career. The fonds is divided into six series which spans his career from the 1930s to the 1990s. The military series is further divided into 4 sub-series which include: the Royal Regiment of Canada, Royal Canadian Regiment and the Royal Canadian Military Institute.These sub-series include photographic work of events and personnel each subject.The fourth sub-series is World War Two and Later, which includes photography of the personnel and operations of the Canadian Army during WWII and photographs for his three books, "The Way We Were", "Curtain Call", and "Not in Vain" which documents Europe after 5, 10 and 25 years of the Second World War. The National Ballet of Canada series consists of photographs of the company including several ballet productions (ie. Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet etc.), portraits of company members (such as Celia Franca, Karen Kain, Lois Smith, Rudolph Nreyev) and publicity photographs. Cardinal Leger series documents the Cardinal and his work in Cameroon at a rehabilitation centre for children during the 1970s. The travel series includes photography of landscapes and people of various parts of the world, including South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The commerical series encompases all of his professional work from the 1940s to the 1990s, including photography for advertisements, magazines, and book publications, such as cook books, "Oil Lamps: The Kerosene Era in North America" and "Collecting Canada's Past". Lastly, the personal series contains correspondence, certificates, plaques, WWII photo passes and slides used as a teaching aid during his teaching career at the Ontario College of Art. Most of his photographic work is arranged by docket numbers (assignment envelopes) with information about the client and in most cases, includes the original negatives, contact sheets and some prints. His work is also in exhibition print form used for exhibitions and photography contests. And lastly Ken Bell's published photographs (1940-1990), can be found in brochures, booklets, reproductions of commercial advertisements, as well as tearsheets from such publications as Canadian Home Journal, Canadian Photography, Chatelaine, Maclean's Magazine etc.

Object
90: Open
Moving images (film)
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Volume
from 4 to 26
from 30 to 70
from 84 to 177
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Volume
from 192 to 262
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Volume
263
99: Closed pending processing
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Volume
from 266 to 268
from 270 to 272
from 275 to 279
from 281 to 284
from 287 to 289
from 293 to 297
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Volume
from 298 to 302
304
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
FDA 0326
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
Volume
from 1 to 3
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
Volume
269
from 273 to 274
280
from 285 to 286
from 290 to 297
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
Volume
from 303 to 304
90: Open
Graphic (art)
90: Open
Volume
from 27 to 29
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Photographs: No restrictions on use or reproduction. Credit: Ken Bell/ National Archives of Canada/[copy negative number].
Plaques: no restrictions on use or reproduction. Various copyrights.
Moving images: reproduction and use in any form requires the written permission of the copyright holder.
The recipient of copies is responsible for determining whether material is subject to copyright and for ascertaining the name of the person or organization holding copyright. The recipient is also responsible for determining whether any use of copyrighted material does or does not constitute an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act.
Prints: no restrictions on use or reproduction. Various copyrights.

Ken Bell Fonds [multiple media] : Box list outlines all Ken Bell material within the fonds, including content, dates, and extent. Available on the S:/ drive under Art & Photo / Photo Finding Aids / Bell, Ken / Ken Bell Box List. Paper copy also available in Art & Photo Library. FA-448 90 (Electronic)

Moving images See MISACS for item-level descriptions. 99 (Electronic)

Graphic (photo) (acc. no. 1971-306) Box 1-Original images, index and numerical series. This finding aid is part of the collection and held within the vaults. The finding aid is stored in volume 30. FA-150 90 (Other)

Graphic (photo) (acc. no. 1976-069) This finding aid only pertains to the National Ballet of Canada. Box 1-Original envelopes, images and numerical series for photographs BA 1-0 to BA 9-89. This finding aid is stored in volume 46. Box 2-Original envelopes, images and numerical series for photographs BA 10-1 to BA/P-132. This finding aid is stored in volume 47. These finding aids are part of the collection and held within the vaults. FA-143 90 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

Ken Bell, photographer, was born in Toronto, Ont. He began his career in 1931 at Lane Studios in Toronto, photographing furniture for clients in manufacturing towns like Stratford and Hanover. In 1935, he joined the Charles G. Milne Studio, beginning as a photographer and working his way up to the position of studio director. Later he transferred to the firm of Pringle and Booth as studio director and gained experience in all aspects of commercial photography.

During the Second World War, Bell served as an official photographer with the Canadian Army Film and Photo Unit. From the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944 to the occupation of Germany in 1945, he covered the entire campaign of the First Canadian Army in Northwest Europe.

Bell resumed his career in commercial photography during 1946, entering into partnership with Gordon Rice under the name of Rice and Bell and concentrating on fashion photography and photojournalism. One of his major clients, 'Maclean's' magazine, sent him back to Europe in 1949 to rephotograph the same places he had covered during the war. In the same year, he established Ken Bell Photography Limited, and in 1950 became the official photographer of the National Ballet of Canada.

Bell was one of the founders and later president of the Commercial and Press Photographers' Association of Canada (CAPPAC), the forerunner of the Professional Photographers of Canada Incorporated (PPOC). The latter association has conferred a number of awards on Bell, twice naming him Photographer of the Year and awarding him one of the first four titles of Master of Photographic Arts to be granted to distinguished Canadian photographers. For several years, Bell taught photography at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. He also maintained an active interest in military affairs, serving from 1950 to 1965 with the Royal Regiment of Canada and attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel as its commanding officer.

Ken Bell's first book was 'Curtain call' (1949); his photographs have also illustrated 'Not in vain' (1973), 'Collecting Canada's past' (1974), 'A Man and his mission' [Cardinal Léger in Africa] (1976), 'Oil lamps: The Kerosene era in North America' (1976), 'The National Ballet of Canada: A Celebration' (1978), '100 years: The Royal Canadian Regiment 1883-1983' (1983), 'The Mother kitchen' (1983), 'The Way we were' (1988), and 'Royal Canadian Military Institute: 100 years 1890-1990' (1990).

Works located in : National Archives of Canada.The National Archives of Canada hold Ken Bell's entire fonds.

Exhibition(s): 1979, PPOC National Print Show, Toronto (group). 1971, Ken Bell: 40 Years of Photography 1931-1971, PAC, Ottawa (individual). 1981, Ken Bell, Fifty Years of Photography, PAC, Ottawa (individual).

Additional information

Related materials
DND and Karen Kain Fonds

Location of originals note
Photographs (acc.no. 1993-205): original negatives held by the Canadian Forces Photo Unit and by the City of Toronto Archives.

Subject heading

1. Bell, Ken, 1914-
2. Guerre mondiale, 1939-1945 Photographie.
3. Photography. World War, 1939-1945
4. War photographers Canada
5. Photographes de guerre Canada
6. Photographers Canada
7. Photographes Canada

Private

Other system control no.

Related control no.

1. 1971-119 NPC
2. 1971-306 NPC
3. 1974-206 NPC
4. 1975-062 NPC
5. 1976-069 NPC
6. 1980-007 NPC
7. 1980-231 NPC
8. 1985-050 NPC
9. 1993-0079 MISA
10. 1993-205 DAP
11. 1994-281 DAP
12. 1995-068 DAP
13. 1996-011 DAP
14. 1996-257 DAP
15. 120-080256-X
16. 122-080010-4
17. 122-080249-2
18. 123-040542-9
19. 1996-02215-6
20. 2000-01296-5
21. 2011-00472-1
22. MG31-D246