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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Alan Caswell Collier, Relief Stiff

An Artist’s Letters from Depression-Era British Columbia

Alan Caswell Collier was one of Canada’s most admired and successful landscape painters, but during the Depression he worked alongside other single, unemployed men in government-run relief camps. Labouring for twenty cents a day, he detailed camp life and politics in letters to his fiancée and depicted fellow “relief stiffs” and the BC landscape in character sketches and paintings. Incisive and candid, his letters reveal a born contrarian with a strong sense of social superiority over his fellow “twenty centers.” But his letters also offer a fresh perspective on the hopes and dreams of an eminent Ontario artist and of the generation who came of age at a time of economic upheaval and class conflict.

368 pages

Table of Contents


Principal Persons


2231 Blenheim St., Vancouver

Camp 506, Big Bend Road, Near Revelstoke

Camp 376, Tappen

Camp 378, Notch Hill

2231 Blenheim St., Vancouver

Afterwards …

Appendix; Further Reading; Index

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