Fonds F 21 - Leonard Beckley fonds

Leonard Beckley fonds file list

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Leonard Beckley fonds

General material designation

  • Graphic material

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

Level of description


Reference code

CA ON00329 F 21

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [ca. 1910-1999] (Creation)
    Beckley, Leonard, 1905-2003

Physical description area

Physical description

562 photographs : col. slides ; 35 mm
376 photographs : b&w

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Leonard Beckley was born in Bude, Cornwall, England in 1905. In 1910, he immigrated to Canada with his parents, Richard and Jane, and his brothers Herbert, Victor, and Edgar. Beckley’s family moved to 509 Beech Street East, Whitby, Ontario in roughly 1916. Beckley married Elizabeth Ellen Roberts (1901-1984); the couple lived at 609 Pine Street, also in Whitby. They did not have children.

Beckley was employed as a janitor and labourer. In his spare time, he was an avid photographer, capturing many images of flowers, landscapes, Whitby events, and his vacations. He was also an enthusiastic gardener; his photographs often feature his “Old English” garden.

Beckley died on June 25, 2003.

Custodial history

Records were transferred to Archives at Whitby Public Library at an unknown date prior to 2013, by an unknown custodian.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of photographs of Whitby taken by Leonard Beckley in his late adulthood (1950-1999), as well as photographs of Beckley’s family of origin in the early years of their settlement in Whitby at 509 Beech Street East (1910-1930). Photographs taken by Leonard depict his garden, nature scenes, and events in the town. Photographs in the latter category provide evidence of racist public activities in Whitby, including the following: the existence of the Whitby Rotary Minstrels, whose members put on minstrel shows while in blackface (photographs date into the 1950s); various town parade participants in redface and blackface; and a parade participant who is likely dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

Photographs are arranged in files.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The archivist maintained the order of discrete sets of records wherever it was found, both physically and in the finding aid. In the absence of identifiable order, the archivist supplied an order to increase ease of use.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

The majority of records in the fonds are protected by copyright until 2053. Permission to reproduce copyrighted materials must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). See archivist for details.

Finding aids

A file list for this fonds is attached.

Associated materials

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

A list of deaccessioned items and records is available. See archivist for details.

General note

The following numbered items have been digitized and are available at Archives at Whitby Public Library’s online collection portal ( A2014_004_002, 004, 008, 018, 021, 028, 031, 036, 038, 039, 040, 041, 042, 056, 060, 062, 065, 067, 068, 073, 077, 078, 087, 094, 108, 109, 150, 154, 174, 218, 220, 225, 226, 229, 232, 233, 237, 245, 253, 254, 257, 260, 262, 281, 290, 291-293

Alternative identifier(s)

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Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Description created by Gillian Dunks in February 2018.

Language of description

Script of description


For more resources that confront and challenge blackface and minstrel performances in a Canadian context, see the following:

Howard, P.S.S. 2017. “Blackface in Canada.” Arts against Postracialism: Strengthening Resistance against Contemporary Canadian Blackface (McGill University). 2017. Accessed February 2018.

---. “On the back of Blackness: Contemporary Canadian blackface and the consumptive production of post-racialist, white Canada subjects.” Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation, and Culture. Published online: January 23, 2017. Accessed February 2018.

“Blackface Timeline.” Arts against Postracialism: Strengthening Resistance against Contemporary Canadian Blackface (McGill University). 2017. Accessed February 2018.

For more resources that confront and challenge redface, see the following:

Deloria, Philip Joseph. 1998. Playing Indian. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Accession area