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Description found in Archives

Alexander Henderson fonds [graphic material]. 

Date(s)

1863-1890

Place of creation

Canada

254 photographs : 3 albums & loose photos b&w.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of photographs by Alexander Henderson depicting: flax and wheat, Morden, Manitoba; salmon fishers camp (photo showing tents and people standing outside) at Romaine River, Labrador and view of Romaine River, Labrador; Tadoussac, Quebec; scenes in Montreal, Quebec such as: Bonsecours Market, wharves, St. Paul St., church, City Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria Square, Merchant's Bank, Palace St., corner of Dorchester and Fort Streets., Sherbrooke Street., University Street., Ste. Famille Church, Mile End Rd., Lachine Rapids, Victoria Bridge, aerial views of Montreal, Quebec; Alter Parish Church, Trois Rivières, Quebec; Laurentian Club canoeing scenes; Indian fishing camp, Restigouche, Quebec; snow-shoeing and tobogganing scenes; log cabins, bull and horse sleds, canoeing, Prince of Wales observation car, 1860; Victoria Bridge and Montreal harbour, Montreal, Quebec; photographs entitled "At isle D'orval" and "Foot of St. Helen's Island", Montreal, Quebec; photos removed from an album bearing the inscription "Mr. Dean Pitt Lorette Kingston Hill"; photographs from "Canadian Views & Studies"; photograph entitledl 'High Water, Montreal , 1865' depicting a view of the Montreal waterfront, showing the river steamer Montreal and another unidentified steamer being loaded from floating wharves. On reverse of frame mount is written: High Water, Montreal 1865. By Alexander Henderson. Companion photograph to 'River Steamboats Montreal' Illustrated in 'Early Photography in Canada' by R. Greenhill, plate 30. Exhibited National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1965. Catalogue page 54. From the Ralph Greenhill Collection. The fonds includes three files: Canadian Pacific Railway album that contains gelatine prints taken along the route of the CP trains, from Halifax to Vancouver; a Canada album that contains gelatine prints of various views of Canada including the Niagara Falls, Quebec City, Montreal, etc.; and an album of 72 views in and around Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, and of bridges along the route of the Intercolonial Railway through Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, ca. 1865-1876.

Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
03391
99: Closed pending processing
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
07510
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
50108
50206
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
50211
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
55046.1
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
55117
90: Open
Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Box
55119
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Other accession no.
1991-139 DAP
1992-402 DAP
1992-403 DAP
1997-306 DAP
1932-468 NPC
1961-028 NPC
1968-108 NPC
1975-285 NPC
1988-045 NPC

Caption lists are available for accession nos. 1961-028 and 1975-295. See lower levels for other finding aids. 90 (Paper)

Biography / Administrative history

Alexander Henderson, merchant and photographer, was born in the vicinity of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1831. With his wife, Henderson emigrated to Lower Canada in October 1855. They settled in Montreal, where from 1859 to 1863 Henderson was a commission merchant. He learned photography in Montreal about 1857 and quickly took it up as a serious amateur. In 1865, he published his first major collection of landscape photographs entitled: Canadian Views and Studies by an amateur. In 1866, he opened a photographic studio, advertising himself as a portrait and landscape photographer. From about 1870 he droppped portraiture to specialize in landscape photography and other views. His photographs of city life revealed in street scenes, buildings, and markets are alive with human activity, and although his favourite subjects were landscapes he usually composed his scenes around such human pursuits as tilling the soil, cutting ice on the river, paddling a canoe, lumber trade activities, steamboats, railways and waterfalls. Henderson travelled widely throughout Quebec, Ontario and Maritimes. In 1872, he took photographs of the construction of the Intercolonial Railway. In 1876 he photographed bridges on the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway between Montreal and Ottawa. From 1882 to 1884 he took pictures of bridges built by the Dominion Bridge Company Limited for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1885, he went west along the CPR as far as Rogers Pass, B.C., where he portrayed the mountain scenery and the progress of construction. Henderson frequently exhibited his photographs in Montreal and abroad in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, New York, and Philadelphia where he often received special mentions. He met with greater success in 1877 and 1878 in New York when he won first prize in the exhibition held by E. and H.T. Anthony and Company for landscapes using the Lambertype cabon process. In 1878 he won second prize (a silver medal) at the universal exposition in Paris. In the 1890s, he founded and was president of the Montreal Camera Club. Between 1892 and 1897, he worked for the CPR as manager of a photographic department. He retired completely from photography in 1897 and died in Montreal in 1913. Henderson's work is known today through several collections of prints, the largest being in the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, and the Notman Photographic Archives in the McCord Museum of Canadian History, Montreal.

Among his Montreal addresses were: 3 Inkerman Terrace, Drummond St., 1859-1863; Phillips Square, 1867-1874; 237 St. James, 1874-1876; and 387 Notre Dame, 1876-1898.

Works located in: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.; Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Ont.; 09AAB; Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.; Bibliothèque de la ville de Montréal, Montréal, Québec; Notman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum, Montreal, Quebec; TPL, Baldwin Room U. of Montreal.; Royal Geographic Society.

Exhibition(s): SG:1863, Amateur Photographic Association, London. SG:1865, Dublin Exhibition. SG:1876, Philadelphia International Exhibition. SG:1878, Paris International Exhibition. SG:1980, City Blocks, City Spaces, PAC, Ottawa. SG:1983, Private Realms of Light, PAC, Ottawa.

Additional information

Custodial history
The 3 albums as well as the many miscellaneous photographs were acquired from individuals, auction houses, dealers and unknown sources.

Private

Related control no.

1. 1932-468 NPC
2. 1961-028 NPC
3. 1968-108 NPC
4. 1975-285 NPC
5. 1980-189 NPC
6. 1981-156 NPC
7. 1988-045 NPC
8. 1991-139 DAP
9. 1992-402 DAP
10. 1997-306 DAP
11. 119-080015-2
12. 119-080203-1
13. 1997-02072-6