Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

F. E. L. Coombs

F. E. L. Coombs, 1936

“Scout’s honour: A priceless family portrait” reads the headline for an article in The Glengarry News, sent to us by an old friend. Diane Coombs, a former journalist, learned that her grandfather, the late F. E. L. Coombs, had been photographed by Karsh. Ms. Coombs was delighted to find a series of images of her grandfather on the National Library and Archives of Canada’s database. Our colleagues at the Archives are regularly digitizing Karsh’s early sittings.

Frank Edward Lewellyn Coombs was photographed in 1936 when he was working in Ottawa as editor of Scouts Canada publications. A world war veteran, he was editor of the first Canadian Boy magazine in 1921, and founded The Scout Leader, where he served for 25 years. An obituary read: “Few men have made a greater contribution to Canadian Scouting than Frank E. L. Coombs.”

Referring to this portrait, Mrs. Karsh said recently: “Yousuf’s relationships were not only with kings and queens! Everyone was photographed with the same respect, and he was yours 100%.”