William McCalla (November 8, 1872 – August 22, 1962), a botanist and teacher, created these hand-coloured lantern slides of Albertan flowers. Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, McCalla grew up in St. Catharines, studied at Cornell University, married Margaret A. Ratcliffe (they had eight children), ran Sunny Acres fruit farm near St. Catharines and in 1913 moved to Edmonton, Alberta.
In 1914, McCalla bought Glenbrook Farm near Bremner, east of Edmonton. In May 1920, he published an illustrated book, Wild Flowers of Western Canada. (These pictures all appear in that work.) In 1922, he became the librarian for the Edmonton Normal School, and soon was also teacher of the study of nature. In 1925, he moved to Calgary where he taught natural history at the Calgary Normal School until his retirement in 1938.
He made over 1,000 hand-coloured lantern slides of plants – flowers, the movement of floral parts, fertilization and seed production, fruits, flower gardening, ornamental planting, vegetable gardening, farm scenes, potatoes, the microscopic structure of plants – to help with his teaching; many of these are in the Botany Department at the University of Calgary and the Entomology Department at the University of Alberta. Following his retirement, William devoted more of his time to his botanical studies, traveling through western Canada and the United States. William Copeland McCalla was a recognized authority on the flora of Alberta. He was presented with a honourary degree, a doctor of laws, from the University of Alberta in 1956. In 1960, he presented his herbarium collection, numbering about 14,000 sheets, to the University of Alberta.
Via: Alberta Archives
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