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Dates of creation area
[1880?]-1959, 1976-[1978?] (Creation)
Physical description area
1.66 metres of textual records
1 volume of textual records
78 photographs : black and white prints
5 photographs : colour slides
1 album of graphic materials
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Archival description area
Name of creator
Alfred Hirschfelder Chapman (1878-1949) was an important architect in Toronto, Ontario between 1907 and 1943.
Alfred H. Chapman, born 8 December 1878 in Toronto, Ontario, was educated at Harbord Collegiate. Upon completing an apprenticeship with architect Beaumont Jarvis and briefly working with Burke and Horwood, he left to attend the École Nationale et Spéciale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, completing his studies in 1902. He then worked for several years in New York City before returning to Toronto.
Chapman won a design competition for the Toronto Public Reference Library in 1907 and, later that year, formed a partnership with Robert B. McGiffin. Their firm planned a number of buildings in Toronto, including Rosedale Presbyterian Church, the Dovercourt branch of the Toronto Public Library, the Toronto Harbour Commission Building, and a number of residences. Around the year 1911, at least one project was accomplished under the name Chapman, McGiffin and Scott, but the new partner had left by 1912. Chapman and McGiffin dissolved their partnership in 1919.
That same year Chapman joined with engineer J. Morrow Oxley, formerly of the firm Oxley and Harkness. Chapman and Oxley designed many important commercial and public structures in and around Toronto, including the Princes' Gate and Ontario Government Building for the Canadian National Exhibition, Holy Blossom Temple, Runnymede Theatre, and an office building for The Toronto Star. They were also responsible for numerous buildings elsewhere, such as Albert College in Belleville, office buildings in Montreal, and additions to the National Sanitarium at Gravenhurst. Charles D. McKechnie executed decorative sculpture work for the firm. Between 1921-1925 some projects, including the residence of W.O. Tudhope in Orillia, were accomplished under the name Chapman, Oxley and Bishop, with the transitory addition of Roy H. Bishop to the partnership. In the final years of his career, the partnership again expanded to become Chapman, Oxley and Facey, whose project for the new Bank of Montreal Building was interrupted by the start of the Second World War.
Alfred Chapman married Doris Helen Dennison, an English musician, in 1913. They had six children, including son Howard D. Chapman, later to become a Toronto architect as well. He designed several homes for his family on Roxborough Street East in Toronto and a cottage on Lake Simcoe. In 1920, Chapman inherited his father's ice company, Belle Ewart Ice and Fuel Company, later renamed Chapmans Limited, for which Chapman and Oxley also designed various new buildings.
Chapman was a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a past president of the Ontario Association of Architects, and an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy. He suffered a stroke in 1943 and died six years later.
Scope and content
Fonds comprises records of Alfred Chapman, a Toronto-based architect between 1906 and 1943.
Fonds consists primarily of architectural drawings associated with projects undertaken by Chapman's architectural firms: Chapman and McGiffin; Chapman and Oxley; Chapman, Oxley, and Bishop; and Chapman, Oxley and Facey. Included are specifications, correspondence, and other materials, including photographs and prints. Projects include residences, office buildings, religious houses, and public buildings, including educational institutions and recreational structures.
Fonds also contains materials related to the architectural projects. These include such as reviews of Chapman's buildings in architectural publications, and also general reference for ornamentation, decoration, and design, in the form of portfolios and loose plates, prints, and tearsheets.
The records have been augmented with materials of a biographical or genealogical nature, some collected by Chapman's son Howard D. Chapman.
Fonds has been arranged into four series according to functional differences in the records.
For a more detailed description, use this link to the Archives of Ontario's descriptive database:
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Related material at the Archives of Ontario:
For drawings of Chapman & Oxley pertaining to the Ontario Government Building in the Douglas E Kertland fonds, consult C 13.
For drawings of Chapman & Oxley in the McMurrich and Oxley fonds, consult C 23.
For drawings of Chapman & Oxley pertaining to the Hospitals for Consumptives at Gravenhurst and Weston in the Arthur Heeney fonds, consult C 27.
For drawings of Chapman, McGiffin & Scott pertaining to the Royal Savings and Loan Building in Brantford, Ontario in the Wasteneys & Stern fonds, consult Sub-series F 2146-1-10.
For records of Chapman's participation in the Ontario Association of Architects, consult F 1403.