Accession - UAA-2021-006

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

UAA-2021-006

General material designation

  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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Accession

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Date(s)

  • 1905-1996 (Creation)

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Physical description

0.85 m of textual records. - ca. 600 photographs.

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Name of creator

(1905 -1996)

Biographical history

Walter Raymond Salt, as known as Ray Salt, Anatomist, Ornithologist, 1905-1996. Salt was born on October 12, 1905 in Loughborough, England, he moved to Calgary with his family in 1911. In order to help his family at the age of 7 he began to deliver newspapers in his community. While delivering newspapers he developed an interest in a customer’s mounted birds collection. This led him to a Saturday job assisting a taxidermist skin and mount birds, which later helped finance his university education.

In 1923, when he was 17, he had got special permission from the provincial government to take a teaching position in Birdette. Salt taught for three years and completed two years of a bachelor of science in zoology and entomology before becoming the principal of a small school in Rosebud, Alberta. Due to working full time, Salt’s progress in university was slow as he only took one course at a time. Salt lived in Rosebud for 12 years where he taught Grades 7-11, led the local Boy Scouts, and became the first Western Canadian to train a peregrine falcon. During this time, he also created what was then North America’s most productive owl and hawk banding operation, which includes placing tags on the legs of birds. While attending a community dance he met fellow teacher, Mary Kathleen McDougall, whom he would marry in 1933. In 1937 they had their son, Jim.

In 1939 Salt finished his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta. During this time Salt was also working in Edmonton as Ducks Unlimited’s first Alberta field biologist. He then completed a Master of Science degree also from the University of Alberta while working as the head of the zoology department at Mount Royal College in Calgary between 1945 and 1948. In 1949, the University of Alberta offered him a position as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine to teach human anatomy. Salt gained his full professorship in 1958 and retired as Professor Emeritus in 1971.

As an ornithologist, Salt collaborated with zoologist A. L. Wilk wrote Alberta’s first extensive bird guide, The Birds of Alberta, which was first published in 1958. The guide was later updated in 1976 with new species and photographs. Salt’s his son, Jim was the co-author of the new edition of the guide, which would be known as the “Salt and Salt” edition. Jim, who was already a nature photographer, had his PhD in English from McGill University but had decided to switch to become a biology consultant. This new edition is still popular years later among bird enthusiasts.

Salt officially retired from the University of Alberta as a professor emeritus in 1971, however, continued to teach until the age of 75. He and Kathleen moved to Victoria, British Columbia that year. Salt passed away in Colwood, British Columbia on June 6,1996 at age of 90.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Accession consists of records pertaining to Walter Raymond (Ray) Salt and his wife Kathleen Salt. Records include scripts, research notes, correspondence, manuscript, articles, newspaper clippings, diaries, and reports. Accession also contains sketches and photographs of birds and wildlife, as well as photographs of trips and family.

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Language of material

  • Dutch
  • English

Script of material

Language and script note

Materials are primarily in English with a few items in Dutch.

Location of originals

RCRF Main
RCRF Cold Room

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Contains some restricted material, contact Archives staff for further information.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

M.Fraser 3 Dec. 2021.

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