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)
* * *
(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,
Public Archives of Canada
Toronto Public Library,
University of Toronto
National Gallery of Canada
Bibliotheque de la Ville
Universite de Montreal
Royal Geographic Society
Victoria & Albert
Art Gallery of Ontario
Archives of Ontario
Further Reading on Alexander Henderson
Henderson Photos at the National Archives
St. James' Club on Dorchester Street
c1875-1880 click for larger view
From the National Archives of Canada