Anson McKim

From: "The Storied Province of Quebec Past and Present"
Ed. Col. William Wood, Dominion Publishing Company, Limited, Toronto 1931

ANSON McKIM-Pioneer of advertising on a comprehensive scale in the Dominion, Anson McKim, late of Montreal, had spent more than forty busy years here and founded a reputation for industry, honesty and civic virtue that has not been exceeded by any other citizen of the Province of Quebec. Still in the prime of a constructive life, he was taken from his work by violence through a railway accident and his passing came as a distinct shock to a multitude of close friends and thousands of admirers whom he had known through the course of a particularly energetic career. 

Founder and president of the A. McKim Advertising Agency, Limited of Montreal, he came into close association with every progressive commercial house in the Province and Dominion and during the years of his labours created a new force in the progressive field of business. His acquaintance with newspaper editors and publishers was almost unlimited and his reputation with them, as with all others that came within the purview of his activities, was peerless. He was a man of unusual ability and knowledge of broad business operations and had the power of convincing others of the proper course to pursue, when they were, in many instances, in doubt. It is said of him that he never failed a friend or forgot an obligation and that no other bond than his spoken word was required to complete a transaction involving any amount of money. He was a vital citizen of Montreal and a great force in the general progress of the Province of Quebec, as well as in the advancement of every business enterprise of consequence throughout the Dominion.

He was born near Napanee, Ontario, May 21, 1855, a scion of old and respected stock, and was educated in the local schools. His first essay into business was with the Toronto "Mail," where he became a member of the staff and remained until 1879, when he was sent to Montreal by that newspaper as its special representative in the Canadian metropolis. With skill and ability he filled that post for ten years, then resigning in order to form his own advertising agency, for which he visioned a great field. It was the first of its kind in the Dominion and began business under the firm name of A. McKim & Company, continuing as such until 1907, when it was changed to a limited company, with other associates, among them at that time having been J. Nelson McKim, brother of the founder, W. B. Somerset and H. E. Stephenson, later adding C. T. Pearce to the combination and operating under the firm name of the A. McKim Advertising Agency, Limited

The house established branch agencies in Toronto, Winnipeg and other Canadian centres and in London, England, and rapidly became famed for the success of its operations and prosperity. Anson McKim was the dominating personality of this organization and was largely responsible for its success and widespread reputation as one of the most progressive institutions in the country. 

Although his chief interest was in his business, his home and friends were his real love and he never tired of doing things to make those he cared for happy. He was fond of the great out-of-doors, a lover of nature and of music and possessed of a sympathetic understanding of his fellow man, that made him a liberal contributor to those who were deserving and had met with misfortune. He gave more than people knew, for his left hand never knew what his right hand did and there are many today who will miss the beneficence that he made a part of his daily life. He had a rare charm of manner and a graciousness that made instant friends wherever he went. 

In the city of Montreal he took an interest that was sincere and unlimited in its scope, for his religion was founded upon the principle that the progress of the community is based upon the progress of the individual members and that all must bear a hand in the work of forwarding every movement looking to the general happiness. In addition to his advertising business he was the publisher of the Canadian Newspaper Directory, the recognized guide and standard of the Dominion for those interested in publications and their fields. In his recreational moments he was a devotee of golf. He was a lover of art and held membership in the Art Association of Montreal. He was a director of the Royal Canadian Golf Association and was president of the Royal Montreal Golf Club. His other clubs included the Montreal Club, Mount Royal Club, St. James' Club, Canada Club, Forest and Stream Club and the Montreal Racquet Club. He was a member of the Montreal Board of Trade and other civic organizations and took an active interest in every matter that appealed to the better element of the population. 

His death occurred January 25, 1917. He was a member of the Church of the Messiah, where his widow has placed a memorial window in recognition of his Christian character and worth.

Anson McKim married, October 1, 1884, Bessie True, of Portland, Maine, daughter of the Hon. George W. True, of Portland, Maine.

The following tribute to his memory was paid at the time of his tragic death by the Montreal "Daily Mail" in an editorial:

Montreal is poorer today by the passing of Mr. Anson McKim. He was a rare example of citizen who achieved success without being warped by it, who kept himself genial and modest when many would have put on reserve and a forgetfulness of old faces. There was a sturdiness about Mr. McKim's bodily presence that seemed to mark him out for special length of days. There were no evidences of abatement of his natural strength, for he had continued all his life to be a lover of the green out of doors. He loved books, music and quiet companionships. He loved his fellow men and helped them in many hidden ways, never letting his left hand know what his right hand did. The deepest sympathy will flow from those who knew the rare beauty and charm of his personality.

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