Henry R. Playtner

Masterpiece Watches


Class Pictures


The Book


Class Pictures

One essential area of my research is identifying students and the easiest way of doing that is through class pictures. Fortunately Henry Playtner was meticulous in ensuring that each year was recorded photographically and many of those pictures are still in existence today.

Over the 23-year history of the school, Playtner used just two sources for his photographic needs. The first was famed Muskoka photographer Frank Micklethwaite and the second was the Farmer Bros. Studio of Toronto.

Frank Micklethwaite was hired as the official CHI photographer in 1890 and continued on until the turn-of-the- century. Not only did he shoot class pictures but also photographed watch movements which were subsequently used for advertising. Micklethwaite's preferred style of photographing class pictures was in an informal group shot which was prevalent in the Victorian era.

When Farmer Bros. took over from Micklethwaite around 1901, they chose the more "modern" approach of using a collage of individual head shots, the same format that is still used in schools today. Regrettably, Farmer Bros. was sold in the mid-1950s and there is no record of what happened to their negatives.

I have been fortunate enough to find one original class picture from 1892 and scans of originals from 1908-09, 1909-10 and 1910-11. I would like original or scanned copies of the class pictures from the following years: 1890, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1913. If you have leads on where I could find any of these pictures, I would like to hear from you, either by email at CHI_Information@yahoo.ca or by phone at (613) 725-5745. I would gladly pay for originals or good quality scans or copies for my research.

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