1453 negatives ; b&w and col. ; 21 x 26 cm or smaller
Gordon Mendly (1904–1998) was born Gordon Gimpel Mendlevich in Kielce, Poland on 3 May 1904. He was the son of Israel and Masha Mendlevich. He immigrated to Canada in 1924 as a photographic apprentice and immediately began working out of his home at 305A Queen Street West. This first studio was called International Studio. In 1932, he started Famous Studios, which was located at his residence at 285 College Street. His final studio was at 3145 Bathurst Street, which he sold to fellow photographer Nir Bareket, upon his retirement in 1977. Mendly was married to Sarah (née Rawet) Mendly. He died on 5 January 1998, at the age of ninety-three.
As a studio photographer, Mendly photographed many members of the Jewish community in Toronto. He was also commissioned for weddings and special occasions, along with various events organized by Jewish organizations and agencies. In particular, it is the latter of these commissions that are most illustrative of the Toronto Jewish community. These include events such as the Zionist Organization of Canada's conventions, Cloakmaker Union rallies, and Jewish Old Folks’ Home bingo nights. His work has won awards in both Canada and the United States.
Mendly was also involved in many of the organizations that he photographed. He was the past president of the Herzl Zion Club; an executive member of the Canadian Jewish Congress Central Region, JIAS and Toronto B’nai Brith Central Region; board member of the Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital; vice-president of the Men’s Service Group of the Jewish Home for the Aged; on the executive of the Judaea Lodge, Knights of Phythias No. 52 and the Keltzer Sick Benefit Society; chairman of Jewish National Fund; affiliated with the Brunswick Avenue Talmud Torah and the American Society of Photographers; and co-chairman of the 1956-1961 UJA Metropolitan Division.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of approximately 1449 black and white and colour cellulose acetate negatives, dating from circa 1955 to 1973. The negatives consist of individual and group portraits, Toronto Jewish businesses, special events, meetings and conferences held by various Jewish organizations and agencies in Toronto, and a small sampling of commissioned wedding, anniversary and Bar Mitzvah portraits. The fonds has been arranged into the following series: Portraits, Events and organizations, Businesses, and Weddings, anniversaries and Bar Mitzvahs. The series have been described to the file and/or item level.
Mendly, Gordon, 1904-1998
Approximately 100 negatives, predominantly from the 1950s, are suffering from vinegar syndrome, as is evident from the odour emanating from them, as well as the general visual conditions. These negatives have been segregated from the rest of the collection and have been housed in boxes CS14-CS16
Some of the negatives are also suffering from “bluing” or “silver mirroring” -- the consequence of oxidative-reductive deterioration. Although this is a slow process, eventually the silver ions will create a fogged effect on the photograph, drastically reducing the quality of the image.