Vancouver History: Photographer Leonard Frank

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

As we make our way through Vancouver’s 125th anniversary year, many have been looking back to see how our city has grown. Thanks to the efforts of Vancouver’s first Archivist, Major Matthews, and photographers who took to documenting the ‘early years’ we can view glimpses of what Vancouver was like in its formative years. One of such photographers is Leonard Frank.

1900s – C.P.R. Station & Deadman’s Island in distance. VPL Accession Number: 9384

Yesterday was the anniversary of Frank’s passing, as I learned from Chuck Davis’ “Leonard Frank, the photographer, died February 23, 1944, aged about 74. He came here from Germany in 1892, age 22, looking for gold, but that didn’t work out. Then he won a lottery in which first prize was a camera. Frank’s father was a professional photographer, and taught the craft to young Leonard. So he began to take pictures. For 50 years he took pictures. His nearly 50,000 images captured a now-vanished British Columbia with astonishing clarity and beauty. I swear you can see the stubble on the lumberjacks’ cheeks. Enjoy this extraordinary body of work in Cyril Leonoff’s multi-award-winning 1990 book Leonard Frank: An Enterprising Life.”

1914 – Group portrait of miners. VPL Accession Number: 14843

The Vancouver Public Library has an impressive collection of Frank’s works which feature Vancouver, the logging and mining industries, and various communities on Vancouver Island such as Port Alberni and Qualicum.

1914 – View looking North from the 100 Block of West Pender. VPL Accession Number: 4704

1920s – Men, Women, Children Standing Beside a Pacific Stages Bus. VPL Accession Number: 10428

1920s – St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church (Burrard & Nelson). VPL Accession Number: 8179W

1930s – Parade near the court house (where Robson Square is today). VPL Accession Number: 7852

1930s – Military parade on Georgia at Burrard. VPL Accession Number: 7852

You can view more from the collection at the Vancouver Public Library and even order prints online. The Vancouver Archives also has a collection of photos from Leonard Frank.

Related posts can be found in my Vancouver 125 or History categories.

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3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. WillFriday, February 25th, 2011 — 8:06am PST

    Some great pics here. Love the CPR building and Miners. The later look like a crew of gold-dust gangsters!

  2. Gwen GaleslootThursday, April 26th, 2012 — 9:45pm PDT

    I have a post card ;picrure of A horse draw Carriage ging around Cameron Lake to Port Albernim BC

  3. Leonard Frank | WhistoricalMonday, June 3rd, 2013 — 6:05pm PDT

    […] the Vancouver Public Library‘s extensive Leonard Frank Collection, this short blog post by Miss 604,  or try to track down a copy of the 1990 book An Enterprising Life : Leonard Frank Photographs, […]

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