by Susan Wagg




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Biographical Details

Abbreviations and Notes

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Our appreciation of Percy Nobbs and his work would be greatly diminished without the superb collection of his drawings, plans, photographs, and papers that are preserved in the Canadian Architecture Collection, McGill University Library. All who care about Canadian architectural history owe a debt of gratitude to Nobbs's son and daughter, Francis Nobbs and Phoebe Hyde, and to John Bland, Professor Emeritus of Architecture at McGill, who have ensured the survival of this important material. Their encouragement and enthusiasm have been notable among the many pleasant aspects of my investigation of Nobbs.

My initial study of the architect is contained in a thesis written in 1979 as a partial requirement for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Canadian Art History at Concordia University, Montreal; and I am indebted to Dr. Harold Kalman, who acted as my thesis advisor. During the preparation of the thesis and subsequently, the unfailing support of John Bland has been crucial. A former student and colleague of Nobbs, he has generously shared his own extensive knowledge and ideas concerning the man and his work. Others at McGill have also been generous with their help - in particular, Faith Wallis, Robert Michel, and Brian Owens at the University Archives. The task of investigating Nobbs's planning activities was made far less arduous thanks to two working papers prepared in 1977 and 1979 under the supervision of Jeanne Wolfe, Associate Professor at the McGill School of Urban Planning: "The Town Planning Movement in Montreal 1900-1940," by Hannah Shostack and "Percy Nobbs and City Improvement," by Judi Bouman. Judi Bouman kindly shared her excellent bibliography with me. In Alberta, Helen Collinson, Director of the Ring House Gallery at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Gertrude Russell at the University Archives, and Heather Davidson were most helpful, as were Dr. Michael McMordie, Director of the Faculty of Environmental Design, and Annalise Walker, Curator of the Canadian Architectural Archives, both at the University of Calgary, and Trudi Cowan, Executive Director of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.

My special thanks go to Conrad Graham, Registrar of the McCord Museum, who has been a constant source of support, and to other members of the museum staff: Luc Matter, who designed the monograph; Delphine Bourdius, Exhibitions Coordinator, and her assistants Hannah Mestel and Robert Rohonczy; the translators Cécile Grenier and Suzie Toutant; and StanleyTriggs, Curator of the Notman Archives, and his assistants TomHumphry and Nora Hague. Finally, I would like to thank myhusband Timothy for contributing his editorial talents.

Susan Wagg
Guest Curator
McCord Museum, McGill University


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