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- Robertson, Alexander
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Alexander Robertson was born in 1907 in Thorburn, Nova Scotia. He married Angela Julie Baccanale of Montreal in 1943. They had four children: Jennie, James, Anthony, and Alexandra. He died September 10, 1986 in Montreal.
At age 18 he travelled to Vancouver, where he graduated from business college. Through the 1930s he worked as expediter, foreman, and service and production manager, first in Halifax, and from 1935 in Montreal. In 1941, he enlisted in the naval reserve at HMCS Donnacona Montreal RCNVR and left the next year for the regular Navy as a Petty Officer Writer, stationed at Stadacona, Halifax. In 1943 he was drafted on a destroyer leading a convoy to Ireland. After the war he returned to Truro, Nova Scotia. He moved to Montreal in 1949, and worked in the textile industry. He worked in the payroll department of Royal Victoria Hospital from 1967. He retired in 1972 and then did two more years of volunteer work in the hospital's credit union. After that he devoted most of his time to his hobbies.
As a child he had piano and violin lessons, and as a teenager he played banjo and organized an orchestra that played at school dances and socials. During the time he was in the Navy, Alex became interested in jazz and started what was to become a major collection of jazz recordings. His research in Montreal newspapers led to a chronology of musical performances, including jazz, in Montreal between 1913 and 1970. For four decades he researched the record industry, specializing in American jazz recorded in Canada. He compiled the Canadian Compo Numericals, the Apex 8000 Numerical, the Canadian Gennett Series 9000 with the history of the Starr-Gennett recording company, and the Rare Canadian Aurora Label from Victor Masters. It and the Gennet series discographies were published in Record Research . By compiling the company discographies he was able to determine the origin of the recordings in his collection, distinguishing those recorded in the studio in Montreal from those pressed from master tapes recorded in the United States. Thus he identified well known American musicians who recorded in Montreal using pseudonyms. The Discophile Society called Alex Robertson a discographical scientist.
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Created by the Records Management and Archives Department in 1989.
Input by Concordia University Libraries 2015-05-21.