Moodie, Geraldine (1854-1945)

Geraldine Moodie self-portrait.
Parks Canada Battleford Photo Collection BW-13

Geraldine Moodie (née Fitzgibbon) was a pioneering woman photographer in the North-West Territories, best known for her work with Aboriginal peoples. Born in Toronto on October 31, 1854, to Agnes and Charles Fitzgibbon, she married John Douglas Moodie in England in 1878. Later returning to Canada, the Moodies briefly farmed in Manitoba, then moved to Ottawa, and in 1885 her husband received a commission with the North-West Mounted Police. They had six children.

Initially a watercolourist, Moodie soon focused upon photography. She established studios in Battleford (1891–96), Maple Creek (1897–1900), and Medicine Hat (1897). Subjects were diverse: portraiture, the North-West Mounted Police, First Nations, ranching, and wildflowers. In 1895, the Prime Minister commissioned her to photograph sites related to the North-West Resistance. In 1904–05 and 1906–09 she joined her husband in the eastern Arctic and adjacent Hudson’s Bay District, and photographed the Inuit and First Nations, as well as the flora. Many images are preserved in the collections of the British Museum and National Archives of Canada.

Moodie continued her work during her husband’s subsequent postings, which included Regina (1910–11). Upon his retirement in 1917, they settled at their ranch in the Cypress Hills, later going to Maple Creek and then British Columbia (1936). She died on October 4, 1945, in Alberta, and is buried in Calgary.

Donny White

Further Reading

White, D. 1998. In Search of Geraldine Moodie. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center.