The Aline Gubbay Fonds

The Aline Gubbay’s Fonds

When JPL-Archivist Shannon asked me to write an article for the Jewish Montreal of Yesterday blog, I didn’t know what aspect of my internship as an Information and Technologies Science technician at the JPL–A would be of interest to you the readers.  

Like many bloggers, I put considerably more time and effort into thinking of what to write than actually writing this blog. At any rate, here’s what I came up with.  My name’s Esther, a nice touch for a Catholic gal working in a Jewish community archive.  In the last month, I’ve had the opportunity of working with the very patient, enthusiastic and engaging Shannon who helped me put my skills into practice for the Aline Gubbay Fonds.

Aline Gubbay was a photographer, art historian and writer born in Alexandria, Egypt on June 20, 1920.  In 1924, she and her family moved to England. At 15, she won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Following her father’s advice, she choose later to study photography privately under the tutelage of photographer Germaine Kanova.  Under Kanova, Aline Gubbay became a well-known portrait photographer.

She met and married Eric Gubbay, a cardiologist in 1948. They had three children Sharon, Michelle and Diana. In 1956, the Gubbay family moved to Montreal where she earned a degree in Social Work at McGill University and later a Master’s degree in Art History from Concordia University. She taught Art History at the Visual Arts Centre and Costume History at LaSalle College.  She was also president of the Westmount Historical Society.  She died in 2005 of pancreatic cancer.  Mrs. Gubbay’s archive reflects her travels around the world and her passion for art and architecture.

 It is astonishing to see the wealth of information that a few boxes of documents can contain about someone’s life.  The collection of photographs is fantastic. The images are beautiful and fascinating, ranging from black and white portraits of British actors, snapshots of well-known Jewish musicians and images of some of the remarkable architectural heritage found in Montreal and Westmount.

 Moreover, I had the pleasure of meeting with, interviewing and getting to know her daughter Sharon Gubbay Helfer at the JPL. It is my hope that I have managed to fully convey the richness, generosity, cosmopolitanism and sophistication of this family archive. 

That’s all folks! Do take the opportunity to review the photographs from the archive of Mrs. Gubbay – they are fully digitized and available online through the CJHN website.         

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