John Lovell
1810 -1893

From: "History of the Diocese of Montreal 1850-1910"
By Rev. J. Douglas Borthwick, Printed & published by John Lovell & Son, Montreal, 1910
(Photo by William Notman 1865 - collection: McCord Museum)


LOVELL, John - came from Ireland to Canada in 1820. Born in Ireland. Mr. Lovell was always, during his whole career, one of the largest printers and publishers in Montreal. In his younger days he was an enthusiatsic defender of Canadian Rights and in the Rebellion of 1837-38 displayed much courage and alertness on the government side.

As early as 1859, the year of the institution of the Synod of Montreal, the Writer and Author had his first volume printed at his establishment - the same building in which the offices and publishing are carried on at the present day. Again in 1860 he published the Author's "British-American Reader"-a book which was adopted in all the schools of the Province, and which in 1866 was revised and issued (2nd edition). In the same years 1866 he printed for the Author the "Harp of Canada," which afterwards was stereotyped and largely used in Convents and Schools. In the same year he printed for the Writer, his "Battles of the World," a large 8vo volume of 500 pages, extensively used by military men and sought after yet.

In 1874 he published for the Author his "History of Scottish Song," dedicated to the Marquis of Lorne and the Princess Louise, a book well spoken of both in Canada and the United States.

But the two greatest works which Mr. Lovell published were his large 4to volume, in 1875 "Biographies and Portraits with History of Montreal," which now sells at nearly three times its published price of $l0. For this book the Author raised nearly $5,000 in six months towards its publication, the photographs alone costing $2,250.

The other in 1892 was a. heavy 4to of over 500 pages, beautifully gotten up in the establishment and far ahead of all past publications. "The Gazetteer of Montreal" with over 500 sketches and many first class photogravures by Desbarats, and has been placed by the Author of the "Montreal Star Almanac" as NO. 3 of 100 best books on Canada.

It is, however, to the Diocese at large that Mr. Lovell and the present firm are best known. Throughout all the years of the Diocese of Montreal, the House of Lovell has printed the annual reports. From the commencement of the Diocese to the end of the Church Society, when it was finally merged into the Synod of Montreal, and from the beginning of the Synod with only two or three exceptions, they have printed the annual reports. I have before me now, the, first report 1859, of the Diocese of Montreal, and the last 1909, and nothing shows the expanse and development of the Diocese as looking at these two reports. That of 1859 contains 60 pages, a modest looking report; that of 1909 a thick one -of 230 pages.

John Lovell is best known by his Directories and Series of "Lovell's, School Books" and Geographies. He was also greatly connected in other prominent works. He died in July 1, 1893, universally regretted as a public spirited man who had done. very much for his adopted city.

His eldest son is, following in the, footsteps of his father and lately issued a work "The Genesis of the Churches," which for beauty of workmanship cannot be equalled in London or New York.


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