Title and statement of responsibility area
Third Annual Kodak Minstrel Show - Crystal Theatre
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- Graphic material
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
April 17, 18, 19, 1922 (Creation)
- Kodak Canada Inc.
Physical description area
3 photographs : b&w ; (Mounted: 12 x 14; print: 7.5 x 10 inches)
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Name of creator
Canadian Kodak Ltd., which became Kodak Canada Inc. in 1979, manufactured photographic films, papers and equipment for over a century in Toronto, Ontario. The company formed the Canadian branch of the successful Eastman Kodak Company, and officially opened its doors in 1900 at 41 Colborne Street under the direction of John G. Palmer. The company expanded and moved to 588 King Street West in 1908, but already plans were underway for an expansive complex to the north of the city. In 1912, Canadian Kodak purchased 25 acres of farmland near Weston Road and Eglinton Avenue to build a major manufacturing facility known as Kodak Heights. By 1925, there were over 900 employees working in seven buildings at Kodak Heights. Over the years, the company earned a reputation for having a cooperative and supportive relationship with its employees, adopting many of the successful practices in place at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York. In 1940, an Employee's Building was constructed to accommodate the activities of the flourishing Recreation Club, the Department Mangers' Club, and the Kodak Heights Camera Club. During the 1990s, the rise of digital media began to have a serious impact on manufacturing programs at Kodak facilities around the world, causing the Eastman Kodak Company to reduce its production of traditional print photography by one third globally. The company chose to focus on digital products, which did not require the extensive facilities used in the production of traditional photographic materials. On December 9, 2004, Kodak Canada Ltd. informed its employees that manufacturing operations in traditional film products would cease entirely at Kodak Heights. The company's facility faced the same fate as many of its foreign counterparts in England, Australia and France, being completely abandoned and demolished shortly after closure in 2005. Kodak Canada still maintains a sales and support office in downtown Toronto, while the manufacture of traditional photographic chemistry has returned to Rochester.
Scope and content
The three duplicate, mounted-on-board photographs depict the minstrel troupe of 32 male participants, one not being blackface and another being a child in blackface on the Crystal Theatre stage with a dimensional painted backdrop. Accompanying them is a 7 member orchestra plus conductor. The Crystal Theatre was located on Dundas St. West, west of Keele St. (re-named the Apollo in 1934).
The performers were part of a Kodak Minstrel Show, performed by Canadian Kodak employees and held occasionally by the Kodak Athletics Association (KAA) during the 1920's.
Minstrel shows are style of variety show, most popular during the late 19th and early 20th century, in which white performers use make-up and costumes to depict stereotyped caricatures of southern African Americans. The genre originated in the United States, but Canada had its own troupes and touring companies, and the format was popular with schools, community groups, and religious organizations.
All three photographs are generally in good condition; two matte boards are damaged at the top centre.
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Open. Records are available for consultation without restriction.