Montreal photographer c1858-c1898

Extracted From: "Private Realms of Light, 
Amature Photography in Canada 1839-1940"
Ed. by Lilly Koltun, Public Archives of Canada, 1984
(Portrait from The National Gallery)
* * *
Henderson, Alexander 
(1831 Scotland - 4, April 1913 Montreal, Quebec)

Alexander Henderson was the son of a relatively wealthy merchant, Thomas Henderson. He trained as an accountant and emigrated to Canada in 1855. Until at least 1863 he was a commission merchant in Montreal.

It is not known when he began photography, but the earliest extant photos date from 1858. The following year he was listed as a member of the Stereoscopic Exchange Club in England. From this point forward he was an active photographer and there exist a considerable number of photographs to indicate that from the beginning landscape was his passion.

The climax of his amature work was the publication of Canadian Views and Studies in 1865, copies of which were probably produced only on special order. This slim folio volume consisted usually of twenty prints, mounted one to a page, with a letterpress or handwritten title underneath. The photographs varied considerably from volume to volume.

In 1866 or 1867 Henderson became a professional, opening a studio in Montreal. He followed his calling until his retirement in the late 1890s, one of the few in Canada able to make a satisfactory living from outdoor photography. For several years during the 1890s he was Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway Photography Department. 


Notman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum:
The Alexander Henderson Collection contains approx. 800 original prints and 8 original glass negatives ranging over the whole of Henderson's career. Henderson Collection

Public Archives of Canada

Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Room
The Baldwin Room has 3 copies of Canadian Views and Studies and an album containing Henderson's work. The total in all is approximately 100 prints. 

University of Toronto Library
The Rare Books section has a copy of Canadian Views  and Studies and an album of approximately 50 prints from the 1870s.

National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery has a copy of Canadian Views and Studies and 2 albums of original prints containing views of the QMO&O Railway and of various landscapes.

Bibliotheque de la Ville de Montreal
38 original prints c1863-1869

Universite de Montreal
The Social Sciences Library has a copy of Canadian Views and Studies. The Louis Melzack Collection contains Snow and Flood after Great Storms of 1869 consisting of 18 original prints.

Royal Geographic Society
Approximately 50 prints c1865-1880

Victoria & Albert Museum
The F.C. Ford album contains approximately 24 original prints of various sizes c1865-1877

Art Gallery of Ontario
An album of 24 prints c1870-1884. Inscribed "A.W. Henderson 1884" (Acc.No. 80/90.1-.24)

Archives of Ontario
Approximately 25 original prints.

Further Reading on Alexander Henderson
  • Dictionary of Canadian Biography Vol. XIII (sketch by Stanley Trigg) pub. U.of T. Press 1994
  • The Archivist Vol.?, by Louise Guay 
Henderson photos on-line at the National Archives
Henderson Photos at the National Archives

St. James' Club on Dorchester Street
c1875-1880    click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada
Yajima/Galerie collection

S.S. MONTREAL at wharf
c1875        click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada
Ken and Jenny Jacobson collection

Bonsecours Market and wharves
c1875          click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada

H.R.H. Prince Arthur on a sleigh
1869         click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada
Yajima/Galerie collection

Steamships CANADA and 
c1875     click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada
John A. Brooke collection

St. James Street West
c1870   click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada
Robert Bell collection

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