Parker, James M.

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Parker, James M.

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James M. Parker Historian, Teacher, Archivist -- James M. Parker was born in Rimbey, Alberta in 1934. He was raised in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta where he completed his high school studies. Mr. Parker graduated from the University of Alberta in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history; he earned a teaching certificate in 1964 and pursued a career in teaching. He worked as a high-school teacher and principal for three years in Fort Chipewyan, St. Albert, and Edmonton. During this time Parker pursued his interest in history. He completed a Masters of Arts at the University of Alberta in 1967 with a thesis concerning the fur trade in Fort Chipewyan, "The Fur Trade of Fort Chipewyan and Lake Athabasca, 1778-1835." It was later published in 1987 under the title Emporium of the North. In 1968 Parker completed a Diploma in archives administration at Carleton University. Later that year he became the first University Archivist for the University of Alberta. While serving as the University Archivist Parker also taught in the Faculty of Extension form 1975 to 1980 teaching a Spring Session course titled "Writing Your Community History." He also held the position of Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Library Science where he taught Archives Administration and Records Management in 1973 and 1978. Parker's archival responsibilities also brought him into university administration; he was the Secretary of the University Archives Committee, Secretary for the sub-committee on Documents Retention and Disposal and was Chair of the first University Collections Committee from 1972-1976. In 1986 Parker was appointed Director of University Archives and Collections. Parker retired from University of Alberta service in 1990. He took on a new career in the provincial government as Northern Area Manager, Alberta Historic Sites Service, based in Fort McMurray. During his professional career Parker maintained an interest in the history of oil sands development and the history of Alberta's North. He served as Chair of the Alberta Culture Regional History Award Committee, served as Historical Research Co-ordinator for the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Programme, and acted as the Research Director, Oral History Project for the Boreal Institute For Northern Studies. He published nine essays or articles on Northern history and the development of the Tar Sands during his career. Parker actively promoted his view of archivists as chroniclers through his work in the historical societies of St. Albert, Edmonton, and Alberta. He served as Preseident of the Historical Society of Alberta, 1972-74; President of the St. Albert Historical Socieity, 1974-76, and Treasurer of the Canadian Archivists's Association. Following his retirement from the University of Alberta Parker moved to Fort McMurray to work for Alberta Historic Sites Service. He was killed in a car accident in 1990 while driving a reporter to the Bitumount oil sands historic site north of Ft. McMurray. He was survived by his wife June, two sons and two daughters. Title based on content of fonds.


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