Fonds 120 - Kraus family fonds

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Kraus family fonds

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  • Graphic material
  • Moving images

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  • [ca. 1934]-1987 (Creation)
    Kraus (family)

Physical description area

Physical description

583 photographs : b&w negatives and interpositives
1 film reel : 16 mm

1 videocassette : Betacam
1 videocassette : Betacam

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Gus Kraus was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA on October 28, 1898. In 1916 at the age of 18 he left Chicago and headed north to Alberta with his brother Joe to homestead in the Peace River area. After about ten years Gus travelled further north to the Northwest Territories, where he prospected and trapped in the Nahanni region beginning around 1934.

Mary Kraus (nee Denya) was born in 1912 near Fort Liard. Orphaned at the age of two, she was raised by family for several years until she went to a convent [Fort Simpson or Fort Providence?] for six years. In her earlier years she primarily lived on the land with her family in the Nahanni region. She was fluent in English, French and South Slavey.

Mary and Gus met when a forest fire in the Nahanni region in the summer of 1942 destroyed much of Gus' belongings, while they were able to save Mary's goods on an island on the Liard River. They formed a partnership and were married, eventually adopting a son, Mickey. They resided at Gus' lease at the Liard Hot Springs (now named the Kraus Hot Springs) in winter, where they trapped, and Nahanni Butte where in the summers they cooked for oil exploration crews. Their hospitality was well-known, and they received many visitors, including Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. When the Nahanni National Park was created in 1971, the Krauses resettled at Little Doctor Lake, where they continued to receive many of the tourists and visitors who came to the region until they resettled closer to Nahanni Butte in 1989.

Gus Kraus died at the Fort Simpson hospital on December 1, 1992. Mary Kraus died in Fort Simpson in November 2007.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of 583 photographs, most of which depict images of the Kraus' daily activities and the visits of local residents and many travelers to their home, and a 16mm colour film. The pictures are from the Nahanni area and include views of the Kraus' residences at Kraus Hot Springs (now in Nahanni National Park) and Little Doctor Lake. There are also photographs of Darrell Pfeiffer sculpting busts of Gus and Mary Kraus.
The 16mm film, which is the original master and the Betacam copy, the archival master, depict pesonalities from the Nahanni Butte/Fort Simpson area in the early 1960s, including Gus and Mary Kraus, their son Mickey Kraus, Dick Turner, Father Posset and Albert Faille.

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