Fonds MG 443 - A.B. Gonor fonds

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A.B. Gonor fonds

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  • Graphic material

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MG 443

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  • 1936-1995 (inclusive); 1969-1984 (predominant) (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

9.43 metres of textual records,
3,792 photographs :
624 Polaroid
2,493 colour
734 b&w
3,302 slides
2,795 negatives
235 postcards
9 architectural drawings (8 blueprints, 1 photocopy)
6 posters
9 certificates
65 digital images (tiff and jpeg, 384 MB)
film: 236 – 8mm – 400 ft. reels
28 – 8mm – 200 ft. reels
35 – 8mm – 50 ft. reels
(primarily super 8; 82,000 ft; approx. running time 68 hours)
10 VHS cassettes
3 audio cassettes
27 artifacts
133 catalogues/books

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Allan Benjamin Gonor (Avram Ben Mordechai) was born on 20 May 1923 in Zvenigordka, Russia and emigrated to Canada with his parents, Marcus (Max) and Fanny (née Sraer or Shrier) in 1924. They settled in Winnipeg, where his younger sister, Esther, was born. Gonor served with the RCAF from 1942-1945 as a member of the Pathfinder squadron, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. At least two family members are believed to have died during the war, and the existence of one cousin, Avraham (Abrasha) Sharir, was unknown to Gonor until following the war. Gonor married Ruth Brook in 1949, and they adopted three children: Saul, David and Lisa. Gonor earned his medical degree at the University of Manitoba in 1952, and interned at St. Paul’s Hospital, Saskatoon, in 1952-1953. He and Ruth moved to North Battleford, where he established the North Battleford Medical Clinic. Gonor actively encouraged Cree painter Allen Sapp, a lifelong friend; Gonor and his brother-in-law, Bill Baker, worked extensively and successfully to help promote Sapp’s work to a national and international audience. As a physician, Gonor travelled extensively in the Canadian north and internationally. He developed an interest in Inuit sculpture; and the art and crafts of indigenous cultures generally. He and Ruth established a significant art collection and shared generously their interest in art and their experiences of other communities. Gonor died suddenly while on holiday in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 14 November 1985.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds documents Allan Gonor’s active engagement with the people he met and the cultures he experienced. His was a curiosity borne of genuine interest, which manifested itself not only in his work as a physician, but also in his avocation: art; and in the numerous films and photographs he took. These document the local communities in and near North Battleford, Saskatchewan; including Hutterite colonies and First Nations reserves; as well as countries around the world. It documents his life and career, his interest in indigenous art and culture, and reflects his friendships with a wide variety of artists and writers, as well as the numerous individuals he met.

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