samedi 23 juin 2012

Des images de notre nouvelle exposition / Images from our new display : 

Pionniers de l'imprimerie 

dans les Cantons-de-l'Est

Pioneer Printers in the Eastern Townships

L'atelier de typographie et le personnel du Stanstead Journal Printing Office, vers 1905.
The composition room and staff of the Stanstead Journal Printing Office, circa 1905.

(Archives,  Stanstead historical Society / Société historique de Stanstead)

Les pionniers de l'imprimerie dans les Cantons-de-l'Est : une exposition interactive, où les presses et la typographie anciennes seront mises à contribution pour des ateliers et des démonstrations publiques. La salle des presses, montrant
 à gauche, la presse à platine Golding Jobber modèle 88 (1888), avec son moteur électrique de 1918.

Pioneer Printers in the Eastern Townships : A "hands-on" exhibition where the early type and presses will actually be used in various workshops with students and the public. Here is the press-room, showing left a Golding Jobber platen press, model 88 (1888), with it's electric motor added in 1918. Right, two typesetters' marbles.

(Collection Musée Colby-Curtis Museum, Stanstead)
Les pionniers de l'imprimerie dans les Cantons-de-l'Est : Un point de vue depuis l'atelier de typographie, montrant
 les marbres de composition provenant du Stanstead Journal, ainsi qu'en arrière-plan, une presse à platine Gordon Challenge (vers 1870), qu'on utilisait au Stanstead Journal Printing Office pour les "travaux de ville" (job printing).

Pioneer Printers in the Eastern Townships : A view from the composing room, showing the typesetting marbles from the Stanstead Journal, as well as in the background, the Gordon Challenge platen press (circa 1870), which was used at the  Stanstead Journal Printing Office for routine job printing.

(Collection Musée Colby-Curtis Museum, Stanstead)

jeudi 4 août 2011

Reaching out : A new edition of our exhibition on North North Hatley !

The Colby-Curtis Museum is presenting, from July 29th until September 5th, an exhibition entitled :
North Hatley 1886-1914 : 
From "rustic village" to cottage community

Colored postcard of North Hatley, ca 1910, used as a basis for the graphics in the exhibition.

This exhibition had been prepared and put on display at the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead in 2008. It had always been our goal to show it on site, in North Hatley itself, as a means of reaching out to our clientele and members living in other parts of the territory we serve -- that is, within the boundaries of historical Stanstead County, as it was known when the Stanstead Historical Society was founded in 1929. In this case, we felt that the residents of North Hatley were entitled to see this exhibition in their home town, and that visitors to the village would take advantage of this showing to learn more about the beautiful area and peaceful people they were visiting. We also felt that residents of our area, outside of Stanstead proper, should be made aware that the Colby-Curtis Museum's resources -- archives, collections, staff and know-how -- were always available to them, and that the museum was keen on developing outreach programs and services aimed at the region at large.

The North Hatley 1886-1914 exhibition is being shown this summer at the Gillygooly Art Gallery of North Hatley, located at 96, Hatley Centre Road, about 1 km east from the village center. Visiting hours are : from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week -- and admission is free, courtesy of several sponsors from North Hatley, and from the Caisse Populaire of Stanstead. We would like to express our warmest thanks to Mrs. Margot Graham-Heyerhoff, owner of the Gallery, who volunteered her space and her own time free of charge to hold the event : it was also courtesy of Mrs. Heyerhoff that visitors were greeted with good wine and food for the vernissage, held on July 29. The event brought together over 150 rather enthusiastic viewers.

Panoramic photograph by Robert L. Colby

This exhibition was initially researched and curated by Chloe Southam is 2008, designed by Pierre Rastoul, with graphic contributions by Sylvain Leblanc.  The funding for its production was generously donated by Mrs. Nicole Marcil-Gratton and Mr. Robert Gratton, as part of a 5-year series of exhibitions on Summer Living in the Eastern Townships.
Since then, the contents have been revised and expanded for the North Hatley showing, using additional resources from the Colby-Curtis Museum collections, as well as artifact loans and other help by the Le Baron General Store in North Hatley, and from the Société d'histoire de Sherbrooke. The new installation was put in place by museum staff members Geneviève Thibodeau and Marcel Laflamme, under the supervision of director-curator Pierre Rastoul.

Exhibits from the LeBaron General Store.
The village of North Hartley was initially populated, during the first half of the 19th century, by settlers originating from various parts, either Canadian, British or American. In the early settlement, life was focused on subsistence : agriculture, forestry and diverse trades and crafts. In the mid 1880's, the "rustic" ways of life of North Hatley were radically transformed by incoming summer residents, most of them from Baltimore (Maryland) and, in later years, from other southern states of the United States. In this period following the American Civil War, Southerners were not too keen in spending their summers to cool off in the Northern states -- wartime dissensions, suffering and losses being still acute on both sides --, so they felt that going further north into Canada was more comfortable for summer vacationing. Consequently, North Hatley became a very popular resort destination for these American Southerners, who brought along their kin and relatives, at times their staff, to this neutral, peaceful and attractive village in the North.

Photographs by Pierre Rastoul

Indeed, the coming of these summer residents brought about a boon in business for North Hatley locals, who began to cater to the newcomers, and build up an economy based on boarding houses and luxury inns, local services and transportation to the summering visitors, building cottages for them and, eventually, opening markets for their produce and woodland products in the Southern U.S.A.. 

Stronger and stronger as the century came into the turn of the 20th century, this economic and demographic boom was boosted by ever-strengthening ties between locals and their visitors, and perhaps even more, by the advent of the railroad to North Hatley, when the Massawippi Valley Railway, and later, the Boston & Maine Railroad reached the "outlet" of Lake Massawippi at North Hatley, towards the end of the 19th century. Within 20 to 30 years, the face of North Hatley changed radically, turning its landscape and rustic ways of life, into a tightly-knit community of villagers, bound together by their summertime interactions and by a common love of the local scenery, if not the weather itself.

Such is the story, the "North Hatley Story", which is being told through words, and a wealth of images, maps and period artifacts in this fascinating exhibition. A warm welcome is extended to all.

vendredi 29 juillet 2011

Deux nouvelles expositions au Musée Colby-Curtis

Robert S. Duncanson (1817-1872) - attribution
Paysage des Cantons-de-l'Est (détail), v. 1850
Huile sur toile, non-signé
(Collection Musée Colby-Curtis)

Le Musée Colby-Curtis présente, depuis le 17 juin dernier, deux nouvelles expositions temporaires, qui se poursuivront jusqu'au 10 octobre 2011 :

Visions : Peintres et paysages dans les Cantons-de-l'Est 
Une remarquable sélection d'oeuvres représentant le paysage des Cantons-de-l'Est à diverses époques, depuis le début du 19e siècle jusqu'à nos jours. Les oeuvres présentées proviennent en partie de la collection permanente du musée; mais pour l'occasion, plusieurs collectionneurs individuels, ainsi que le Musée de beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, ont consenti à prêter des oeuvres importantes pour enrichir notre représentation.
Les artistes représentés sont les suivants :

William Stuart Hunter, Jr. (1823-1894)
Près du lac Memphrémagog, v. 1860-70
Huile sur toile, non-signé
(Collection Musée Colby-Curtis, don de Mme Melodie Levitt, Ottawa)
Samuel Kilbourne (Americain, 1836-1881)
La fenaison à Georgeville, 1866
Huile sur toile, signé en bas à droite
(Collection Musée Colby-Curtis, don de M. & Mme Philip Scowen, North Hatley)
Jennifer Brook (1957 -  )
Tree Island
acrylique sur toile, 2009
(Collection particulière)

• Un pays transformé : Arpenteurs et paysages 
dans les Cantons-de-l'Est, des origines à nos jours
Une exploration des transformations qui ont affecté le paysage du comté de Stanstead au fil du temps, tels qu’apportés par les colons, les fermiers, les villages et le tourisme, dans un panorama montrant comment les arpenteurs et  les cartographes ont  illustré ces changements. Débutant à la fin du 18e siècle, à une époque où le paysage régional était inchangé, encore dans son état naturel – sinon pour quelques campements Amérindiens – cette exposition se propose d’explorer les formes de terrain, les sols et les ressources minérales, les réseaux de rivières et de lacs, la végétation et le couvert forestier, depuis les premiers temps de la colonisation jusqu’aux paysages du 20e siècle.

Par le biais des arpenteurs et des témoins de l’époque, on explorera comment les déboisements, pour l’aménagement de fermes et de villages, ont transformé le paysage en repoussant les forêts et en exposant le sol, mais aussi comment l‘agriculture a entrainé des modifications de la végétation dans son ensemble. De même, l’exposition s’attardera à la façon dont les villages se sont établis et leurs sites choisis, et comment le territoire fut partagé entre concessionnaires et colons, entre l’Église et la Couronne, dans cette trame de "cantons" qui nous valut le nom de Cantons-de-l’Est, ce qui, alors, n’avait pas d’équivalent ailleurs au Québec.

Joseph Bouchette (1774-1841)
Carte topographique du Bas-Canada, Londres 1815 (détail)
Détail montrant le comté de Stanstead (au centre), le lac Memphrémagog (à droite), le lac Massawippi (à droite, alors nommé "Lac Tomifobia"), ainsi que les localités de Coventry (Newport, en bas, à gauche) et Derby, au sud de la ligne frontalière (en rouge). On distingue bien, au nord de la frontière, le découpage des lots de "Townships", avec la répartition des terres réservées à l'Église et à la Couronne (marqués en grisé).

Les progrès de l’arpentage et de la cartographie serviront de guide aux visiteurs, depuis l’époque où les arpenteurs Jesse Pennoyer et Joseph Bouchette vinrent ici pour établir la frontière Canada-U.S. et régler un litige de longue date sur son tracé. Plus tard, ces hommes et leurs fils, puis d’autres arpenteurs à leur suite, allaient effectuer la mesure des lots villageois et des fermes, tracer des routes et établir des bornes : ainsi, ils donnèrent au paysage une apparence fort différente, à mesure que les colons s’établissaient, que les villages et les réseaux routiers s’agrandissaient. À la longue, l’agriculture, la foresterie et l’industrie, les villégiateurs et le tourisme, entrainèrent d’autres mutations pour créer le paysage que nous connaissons aujourd’hui.

Ci-dessus, à gauche, une Boussole d’arpenteur, début des années 1800.

À droite, une Chaîne d’arpentage, de la même époque. 

Ces deux items auraient été utilisés par l’Arpenteur général du Bas-Canada Joseph Bouchette, lors de son relevé de la frontière dans le secteur de Stanstead.  (Collection Musée Colby-Curtis)

jeudi 23 juin 2011

Oral History Videos on Granite in Stanstead / Vidéos d'histoire orale sur le granit à Stanstead

Featuring the history of the granite industry of Graniteville and Beebe, in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada. Produced by the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN), from the oral history archives of the Stanstead Historical Society. Directed by Matthew Farfan.

À propos de l'histoire de l'industrie du granit à Stanstead ( Graniteville et Beebe, Québec, Canada). Produits par QAHN (Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network), à partir des archives d'histoire orale de la Société historique de Stanstead. Réalisés par Matthew Farfan. (EN ANGLAIS SEULEMENT)

"A Touch That's Being Lost": Early Days in Graniteville and Beebe, with Clifford Rediker

In the Days of Craftsmen": Reminiscences with Charles Bullock, Graniteville, Quebec

I Was Only a Lad Then": Granite Reminiscences with Clifford Rediker, Graniteville, Quebec

mercredi 22 juin 2011

Photo-vidéo créatif sur le Musée Colby-Curtis

Voici un regard inattendu et inusité sur le Musée Colby-Curtis, photographié et réalisé par le photographe Jean-François Dupuis, de Sherbrooke. Plutôt romantique, quoique un peu surréaliste.

Here is a unexpected and unusual look into the Colby-Curtis Museum, as photographed and put into music by Jean-François Dupuis, a photographer from Sherbrooke. Quite romantic, although a bit surrealistic.

vendredi 28 janvier 2011

19th Century Libraries in Stanstead Part 3 : Silas Dickerson’s Stanstead Circulating Library

Silas Horton Dickerson (1799-1857) established himself as a printer in Stanstead in 1823. As such, he was the first printer in the Eastern Townships, and issued from 1823 to 1834 the very first newspaper in the area : the British Colonist and St. Francis Gazette [1]. He also printed a few books [2] ; and, as was common practice among printers of the time, he also doubled as a bookseller at his shop in Stanstead Plain. The British Colonist published advertisements for both his own publications, and for books issued by other publishers. Silas H. Dickerson experienced more than his share of financial and judicial problems during his career as printer and publisher, which brought him to close down his business by 1834 [3].

Silas Horton Dickerson and his wife, Mary Price.
Ambrotype, circa 1855 (Courtesy Mrs. Lisa Morrison, Ottawa)

Another widespread activity for printers and booksellers of the period, was to set up "circulating libraries", where patrons of the shop could rent books for a small fee, or for varied term subscriptions (yearly, quarterly, monthly). This type of library, contrary to the so-called "social" libraries, was privately owned by a single proprietor, and was primarily a commercial activity. At the turn of the 19th century, there were libraries of this sort in Montreal and Quebec City – where, for instance, printer and bookseller Thomas Cary operated a circulating library from his premises on St. Louis street. 

A true pioneer of  the Canadian book trade – as the first printer, publisher and bookseller to set up outside of the larger cities of Canada East (as the province of Québec was called at the time) –, Dickerson also appears to be the first to operate such a library in a rural area.

The advent of circulating libraries was still a novelty in Dickerson’s era. The earliest known circulating library in America was initiated by William Rind in Annapolis (Maryland) in 1762, but was short lived. However, by the early 19th century, circulating libraries had become a trend of sorts, as more and more book and print shops were caught up in the movement. Multiple copies of selected books were kept in stock for renting out to customers. Over time, "circulating libraries were often criticized for the shallowness and moral laxity of their book stock and customers, and it is clear that they often catered to the frivolous and the less educated. Some books, it was alleged, were ‘written solely for the use of the circulating library, and very proper to debauch all young women who are still un-debauched’.[4] "

This was obviously not the case for Silas Dickerson’s stock of books, as all the offerings of the Stanstead Circulating Library were predominantly of a religious character – and certainly not the usual fare of popular novels and adventure stories that were found in many circulating libraries in 19th century American cities [5]. In a small brochure printed in 1830 by S. H. Dickerson, "The Rules and Catalogue of the Stanstead Circulating Library, instituted in 1830" [6], some 158 books available at the library are listed, along with detailed indications on its rules and modes of operation (see illustrations). This private library most likely acted as open competition to the social libraries, and possibly added to the difficulty they faced in securing a steady flow of active users – slowly contributing to their demise. Yet Dickerson’s stock cannot be viewed as undermining the social libraries’ inventories, seeing that these mainly held books of quite another, non-religious, nature.

The religious bent of Dickerson’s circulating library comes as no surprise, since much of the content of his paper, the British Colonist, was initially oriented towards religious subjects. Having been apprenticed for six years to a Kingston printer, Stephen Miles [7], and later employed by Nahum Mower in Montreal – both of them known for their religious proselytism –, Dickerson was certainly influenced in his devotions by his former masters, and it is not unlikely that he settled in Stanstead in 1823 because of the strong presence of the Methodist church in the area. It is also known that Silas Dickerson was one of the "proprietors" of the Stanstead Wesleyan Seminary in the early 1840’s [8], along with the most influencial Stanstead citizens of the time.

Pages from 
The Rules and Catalogue of the Stanstead Circulating Library, 1830.
Collection Haskell Free Public Library, Rock Island, Qeébec, & Derby Line, Vermont.

Though the Stanstead Circulating Library catalogue speaks for itself as to its religious emphasis, Silas Horton Dickerson’s "credo" towards books and reading is of a more secular nature:

As reading is a source of the highest personal improvement, and the most exquisite pleasure, accessible to men of every rank ; those who neglect books inadvertently injure themselves ; for a life destitute of knowledge is worse than death. [9]

[1] See Jean-Pierre Kesteman, "Les premiers journaux du district de Saint-François (1823-1845)", in Revue d'histoire de l'Amérique française, vol. 31, n° 2, 1977, p. 240-233 ; available  on Internet at
[2] Books printed by Dickerson include Elmer Cushing’s "An Appeal…", issued in 1826. See Pierre Rastoul, "Early Book Trades in Stanstead, circa 1820-1850", in Stanstead Historical Society Journal, vol. 23, 2009 ; pp. 93-120
[3] However, he remained active in Stanstead afterwards, namely as an organizer for the Reformist party, supporting the election of their candidates John Grannis and Marcus Child in 1836. During the Patriot Rebellion (1837-1838), he was forced into exile to the U.S., but returned shortly after to Stanstead, where he held positions as public officer – namely as Customs Agent for the "port" of Stanstead (1853 on), and later, in 1857, as the first Mayor of Stanstead Plain. Dickerson passed away three months later, and is buried in the Cristal Lake cemetery in Stanstead. A biography of Silas H. Dickerson, by Jean-Pierre Kesteman, in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. VIII (1851-1860), available online at
[4] Richard Wendorf, as quoted by Rick Ring in "Notes for Bibliophiles", the Providence Public Library Special Collections blog, November 4, 2008 ; at
[5] See David Kaser, A Book for a Sixpence. The Circulating Library in America ; Pittsburgh, Beta Phi Mu, 1980.
[6] The only known copy of this brochure is preserved at the Haskell Free Public Library.
[7] Stephen Miles eventually sold his print shop in Kingston to become a Methodist pastor, in 1819, at which time Dickerson moved to Montreal to work with Nahum Mower. On Stephen Miles, see Aegidius Fauteux, The Introduction of Printing in Canada, Montréal : Rolland Paper Company, 1930; p. 137.
[8] A Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Stanstead Seminary in Canada East, for the years 1841 & 1842, Sherbrooke, Printed by J. S. Walton, 1842. (Courtesy of James Farfan, Ogden)
[9] The Rules and Catalogue of the Stanstead Circulating Library…, Stanstead, Printed by S. H. Dickerson, 1830 ; cover page.