Angus Shortt:

An Inventory of his papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Lewis St. George Stubbs
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
334 Elizabeth Dafoe LibraryUniversity of Manitoba
(January, 2010)

Finding aid encoded by Lewis St. George Stubbs (January 2010)
Finding aid written in English.

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
334 Elizabeth Dafoe University

Angus Shortt

Angus Shortt fonds


40 cm. of textual & other material including including 11 painted ashtrays, 23 framed painings & 22 unframed paintings.

Mss 185 (A.08-136)

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Biography of Angus Shortt

Angus Shortt is a well known Winnipeg artist and painter of wildlife art. He was born on September 25, 1908 in Belfast, Ireland. His family immigrated to Canada in 1911 and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1926 Shortt started working for Brigden's commercial art firm as a wood engraver. As an apprentice he was sent to study at the University of Manitoba under Professor L. LeMoine Fitzgerald. Shortt was interested in painting wildlife and studied wild birds plumage and anatomy. In 1932 Shortt obtained a federal collecting permission to hunt and taxidermy wild birds and in 1935 he obtained a position at the Museum of Manitoba where he worked on restoration of a Treherne Plesiosaur skeleton. Shortt was also interested in studies of wild birds (Birds of Paradise, Hummingbirds, Clay-Colored Sparrow, Sunbirds, Raptors, and Hawks). He presented his research to the Natural History Society of Manitoba (1936-38). There he met his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) Haak who became his long time partner in life and work. In 1939, when Ducks Unlimited was formed, he became an artist-technician for the public relations department. There he specialized in painting ducks and geese and donated his painting to many Ducks Unlimited fund-raisings. Angus Shortt also designed series of the Manitoba wildflower and bird paintings; series of 12 medallions, featuring designs based on provincial wildflowers for Canada's Centennial; series of greeting cards depicting variety of ducks; and sets of playing cards with wildlife illustrations for the U.S. Playing Card Co., Ohio. He illustrated Treasure of Waterfowl (1946), Birds of Colorado (1965), and Ducks and Men: Forty Years of Co-operation in Conservation (1978). To honor Angus Shortt, Ducks Unlimited named a lake (Shortt Lake) to honor his longtime work. In 1962 he designed a fifteen cent stamp for Post Office Department. He retired in 1973. Angus Shortt was recipient of many awards and medals. He was awarded the Good Citizenship Award in 1969; the Centennial Gold Medal of Remembrance by the Manitoba Historical Society in 1970; and the Golden Jubilee Medal was presented to Mr. Angus Shortt on the occasion of the fiftieth Anniversary of the Accession of Her Majesty the Queen to the Throne in 2002. Angus Shortt's wife Elizabeth (Betsy) Shortt was a naturalist, gardener, and former judge of floral arrangements for the Winnipeg Horticultural Society. She received a number of scholastic awards including the Governor General's Gold Medal in 1933 and became a member of the Manitoba Naturalist's Society in 1934. Angus Shortt's brother, Terry Shortt was also artist and worked at the Royal Ontario Museum as an illustrator and the chief of art and exhibits. Angus Shortt passed away on January 8, 2006, at the age of 97 and his wife Betsy passed away on July 1, 2006, at the age of 90.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The fonds are divided into five series. They include: Unpublished manuscripts, published manuscripts, painted ashtrays, framed painting & unframed paintings.

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Restrictions on Access

No restrictions on access.

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Restrictions on Use

No restrictions on use.

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Custodial History

The fonds were donated by Shortt's son Terry in 2008.

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Detailed Description of the Collection


11 The Light from the Sea 1976
2 The Lady & the Owl 1977
3 The Jade Pendant 1978
4 The Blue Letter 1978
21 The Grandfather Clock ca.1978
2 Shortt Memories Chickadees to Canvasbacks Autobiography 1995

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23 My Life with Birds edited & compiled by Heather Robertson manuscript 2001
4 My Life with Birds books 2001
5 Arctic Birds of Canada illustrated by Shortt's brother Terry 1957
6 Brigdens of Winnipeg curated by Mary Jo Hughes 2001
31 Sports Afield Know Your Ducks & Geese. Shortt & Cartwright (4 copies in oversize) 1948

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41 11 painted ashtrays for Ducks Unlimited 1974

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11 1. Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, 1988 2. Winter birds ca.1980 3. Racoons & butterfly, 1985 4. Sunset over the Hay Lands near East Meadow Ranch, 1973 5. Canada Geese, 1994 6. Wood Ducks, 1993 7. Big Birds Great Grey Owl, 1982 8. Prairie Harvest 1981 9. Two Wood Ducks 1971, 10. White Throated Sparrow 1974 11. Jack Pine & Rocks 1977, 12. Mexican Toucan 1983, 13. Toco Toucan ca.1983 14. Screech Owl (red phased) 1981 15. Along the frozen Seine 1982 16. Panorama of Ancient Sea reptiles 1951 17. Cottage 1991 18. Old Maple Stumps, 19. Delta Beach Lake Manitoba 1992, 20. Jungle Fowl, 1997 21. Old Willow, Jubilee Road 1975 22. Cardinals on Maple 1994, 23. Black-capped Chickadee on Red Willow 1975 1951-1997

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12 1 Lake Scene ca.1940 2. Lake & Trees ca.1940 3. Duck standing on paper 1944, 4.Leopard's head, 1938 5. Black-billed cuckoo, 1934 6. Rabbits & Birds 1981, 7. Morning 1928, 8. Sunset, design for line cut 1929 9. Golden Pheasant 1925 10. Tiger 1982 11. Fallen Jack Pine 1975, 12.Great Horned Owl 1996, 13. Mallard Ducks ca.1940 14. Racoon & butterfly (charcoal) 1977 15. Ducks ca.1945 16. A study of 2 ducks ca. 1945 17. Giant Sable (antelope) 1938 18. Violet-checked Hummingbird 1938, 19. Long-tailed Green Hummingbird 1930 20. Sharp-tailed grouse 1925 21. Passenger pigeon 1936 22. Eskimo curlew 1936 1925-1996

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