Long acknowledged as the giant of nineteenth-century Canadian photography, William Notman – along with his sons and protégées – created perhaps the most vital and fecund photographic studio of his day, a venture that spanned almost sixty years and an entire continent. As the authors clearly demonstrate in this stunning new book, Notman’s ambition did not expire at the Canadian border but continued far into the United States; and his photographs chronicled not only the nineteenth century but extended well into the twentieth. With studios in Boston and Albany (not to mention Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, and St. John), the Notman empire eventually encompassed some twenty-three associated studios, sixteen of which were in the United States. His was an enterprise active over the entire Northeastern United States and throughout Canada: in university and college towns, in resorts, in society, and even in promotional pieces for major insurance companies. At its height, the worked of this family firm stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the mid-1800s through the 1930s.
Here are Sitting Bull and Harriet Beecher Stower; here are views of paddleboats negotiating the St. Lawrence rapids and of the football match between Harvard and McGill in 1874. Here are the stately campuses of Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard, Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Amherst. Here is North America under construction, the bridges of Montreal, the schooners of Halifax, the spires of our churches, the proud capitals of our sovereign states and provinces.
Drawn from hundreds of thousands of images, impeccably printed in 300-line duotone on a heavy acid-free paper and bound in full cloth, this ambitious book records the face of North America in a way words cannot convey, providing a comprehensive view of the work on workings of one of the largest, finest, and longest-lived studios ever to record the people and places of North America.