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ELDER Louise (Mary)

Toronto, ON, 1911
Toronto, ON, 2000
Biography synopsis
Mary Louise Elder was an amateur photographer. In 1928, in what was a bold move for a woman at the time, Elder enrolled for a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto. She developed a passion for organic chemistry and completed a PhD in the subject; she was one of two women in her class to do so. Elder became the first woman to be honoured with a Fellowship in the Chemistry Institute of Canada. She took a position in quality control at Canadian Canners in Hamilton where she worked for forty-one years. Elder was also a successful amateur photographer and became an active member of the Trillium Photographic Club (TPC). The club grants the Louise Elder Award for Best Wildflower any year there is member’s wildflower image in the nature category. She was elected president of the Colour Photographic Club of Burlington three times and volunteered as competitions coordinator for the Canadian Association for Photographic Art (CAPA—previously the National Association for Photographic Art) for sixteen years. Her dedicated involvement earned her the first honourary fellowship conferred by the association. Elder's favorite subject was by far wildflowers for which she knew all the Latin and common names. Today, her memory lives on through the trophies that both the TPC and the CAPA award in her name to the best wildflower photographs.
Media used
University of Toronto, 1928 - 1937 (under Lash Miller)
Canadian Association for Photographic Art (CAPA), (Honourary Fellow)
National Association for Photographic Art (NAPA)
Colour Photographic Club of Burlington, (Club President 1967-1975)
Colour Photographic Club of Hamilton
Trillium Photographic Club, (Honourary Life Member)
File & Archive locations
Burlington Historical Society, ON
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
University of Toronto, ON - Archives and Records Management Services
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
"'Canning - Old and New' Topic of Interesting C.I.C. Address." Shawinigan Standard 19 May 1948: 26
"Chemistry Pioneer Dead at 89." Telegram (St. John's) 17 Jul. 2000: 4
"Chemistry Pioneer Dies." Times-Herald (Moose Jaw) 17 Jul. 2000: 10
"Décès de Louise Elder." Le Soleil (Quebec) 18 Jul. 2000: A8
"Elder, Dr. Mary Louise." Toronto Star 10 Jul. 2000: B6
Brown, Stewart. "Louise Elder Commanded Respect." Hamilton Spectator 10 Jul 2000
Haché, Trevor. "Dr. Louise Elder, 89, Pioneer in Chemistry." Toronto Star 17 Jul. 2000: B5
Moore, Mary. "Leavening Agent." Ottawa Citizen 22 Mar. 1963: 29

Writings by
Elder, Louise. Sporulation of Baker's Yeast. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1933
Elder, Louise. The History of Canadian Canners Limited, 1903-1986. Hamilton, ON: Canadian Canners, 1986
Elder, Louise. The Preparation of Crude Bios V and its Influence on the Reproduction of Certain Micro-Organism. The Sporulation of Yeast. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1937

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