‘European War’ Stereographs

The Victorians were ahead of the game when it comes to the latest trend of 3-D entertainment.  Before you needed sill glasses to view all the summer blockbusters, and before the even sillier blue and red eyed glasses, there was the Stereoscope, all the rage in trendy Victorian Parlours.

963.14.1abc - Stereoscope

963.14.1abc – Stereoscope

The stereoscope was a devise that allowed the viewer to see 3-D images.  Stereoscopic cards would have two nearly identical images side by side, and when viewed through the stereoscope, our eyes would view the images as one, and certain elements would become 3-D.  Remember when you were a kid and you had the plastic ViewMaster?  The stereoscope worked the same way.

A998.21.1ab - European War Stereograph Collection

A998.21.1ab – European War Stereograph Collection

In 1998, the Oshawa Community Archives received a fascinating collection of Stereographs.  They were published by Underwood and Underwood in New York, and these 22 cards were housed in a brown case, labeled ‘European War.’  Depicted on the cards are various scenes from World War I, and the images range from stoic to devastating.  A harsh reminder that war is bitter and real.  It does not care for nationality, religion, or status.  War devastates.

A selection from the collection.  Some images may be disturbing to the reader.  Please be advised.

A998.21.2a - Stereoview - Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London

A998.21.2a – Stereoview – Captured German guns on view in Parade grounds, St. James Palace, London

A998.21.2d - Stereoview - Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France

A998.21.2d – Stereoview – Where all is still and cold and dead, Lens France

A998.21.2h - Stereoview - Canadian artillery proceeding to the front

A998.21.2h – Stereoview – Canadian artillery proceeding to the front

A998.21.2n - Stereoview - 'And now we lie in Flanders Field', Vallee Foulon, France

A998.21.2n – Stereoview – ‘And now we lie in Flanders Field’, Vallee Foulon, France

A998.21.2t - Stereoview - Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis

A998.21.2t – Stereoview – Three British motorcycle despatch riders passing through Senlis

 

 

 

 

The Tackabury Map

By Lisa Terech, Youth Engagement / Programs

In an earlier post, I discussed a few of the wall hangings inside the Henry House Study.  Today, I’d like to share about the largest hanging we have in the study, and my favourite artifact on tour of the museum, our Tackabury Map.

 

992.2.1 - 1862 Tackabury Map

992.2.1 – 1862 Tackabury Map

With the frame measuring at 6×7’ (or, 182.5 x 217cm), this hanging dominates the north wall of the Study.  It fit with the interpretation of the room because Thomas was a travelling minister for the Christian Church, who would have utilized a map when planning his travels.  It also fits with the interpretation time period as it dates from 1862.

 

Detail of the Tackabury Map - Can you see Port Oshawa?

Detail of the Tackabury Map – Can you see Port Oshawa?

The map is of Canada West, featuring an overall map of the province, and surrounding this, there are inset maps of the major cities, including Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, and Hamilton.  There is also an inset map of North America, and several drawn images from around Canada West (Toronto, Niagara Falls, University of Toronto, etc).  It is a detailed map of Canada West (Ontario), showing major roads, railroad and proposed railroad lines, concessions and lots, and county, township and town boundaries. Place names, post offices and telegraph stations are also identified. Census figures for 1861 and a mileage table are also shown.  Port Oshawa can be seen on the map on the very eastern edge of the County of Ontario.  Many visitors will often look for Oshawa within the boundaries of Durham County, as we are now in the Region of Durham, however, boundaries changed in the 1970s; before then, we were geographically in the County of Ontario, which stretched from Pickering in the west, to East Whitby and Oshawa in the east, and as far north as the Township of Rama, where Orillia and Casino Rama are.

 

Detail showing the Time Table

Detail showing the Time Table

One of my favourite features, and my favourite thing to talk about, is the ‘Time Table.’  Because there was no ‘standard time’ in 1862, it showed what time is would be across the province (Ottawa = 12pm; Whitby = 11:47; Toronto = 11:43, 8s).  Today, if it is 12 o’clock noon, that would be time across the province and the time zone, however, in 1862, 12 o’clock noon was set by the sun.  This fascinating vestige from days past always gets an interesting reaction from visitors.

Around Henry House – Our Paintings in the Study

By Lisa Terech: Youth Engagement/Programs and Digitization Assistant

Throughout the summer, I have been slowly, but surely, working my way through Henry House, photographing and cataloging the artifacts on display in this heritage house.  The room being exhibited as Thomas Henry’s study was my second last room to complete, with some of my favourite artifacts on display; it is great to catalogue artifacts that you love and have great interest in.

The Henry House Study

The Henry House Study

Hanging on the walls are three pieces of artwork: portraits of Thomas Henry, Lurenda Henry, and Buena Vista.

A973.13.1 - Elder Thomas Henry

A973.13.1 – Elder Thomas Henry

Thomas and Lurenda are on opposite walls, or, as I’ll joke on tour, staring into each other’s eyes!  I love the portrait of Thomas.  He looks so stately, dignified, and, dare I say, handsome!  The portrait of Lurenda always receives strong reactions from visitors on tour.  She looks to be a very formidable woman from the image.  It was painted in Toronto by HC Meyers, and it appears to have been created based on a photograph.  When our visitors react to Lurenda, I am always careful to remind them that, firstly, it is based from a photograph, and early photograph techniques made smiling rather labour intensive.  I also remind them that Lurenda was rather sick, especially as she was older, and, last but not least, this woman was step-mother to 5 boys, who had 6 boys and 4 girls of her own!  If you had 15 children, you would look formidable as well!

70-L-140 - Lurenda Henry

70-L-140 – Lurenda Henry

I removed the portrait of Lurenda from the wall to photograph it, and when I did, I was able to get a closer look at this image that I have seen almost daily for 3 years.  I couldn’t help but notice how striking her eyes are.  Maybe it’s the work of a skilled artist, but you cannot deny there is wisdom and warmth behind those eyes.

 

Buena Vista, the Conant Homestead, by ES Shrapnel

Buena Vista, the Conant Homestead, by ES Shrapnel

The final painting we have hanging on the wall is of Buena Vista, the homestead to the Conant family.  The home was built c. 1873 by Thomas Conant, best known as the author of Life in Canada and Upper Canada Sketches, detailing the history of his family and a history of the Oshawa area.  The home was located at 1050 Simcoe Street South, the southwest corner of Wentworth and Simcoe Streets.  Premier Gordon Conant was born in this home in 1885, and Thomas Conant housed over 6,000 books in his personal library.  The house, however, was demolished in 1985 to make way for a housing complex.  The complex today is known as Conant Place.

The painting was completed by ES Shrapnel in 1899, the same artists who illustrated Thomas Conant’s Upper Canada Sketches.  Shrapnel (1847 – 1920) was born in England, and eventually settled in Canada, teaching at the Ontario Ladies’ College (Trafalgar Castle) before moving to British Columbia in the late 1880s.   While the painting is, admittedly, outside of the interpretation period of Henry House (set in the 1860s/1870s), the image is one way of honouring another prestigious home, vestiges of Oshawa’s days gone by.

 

Information from the Oshawa Community Archives, and information on Shrapnel from http://www.shrapnell.org.uk and http://www.askart.com

Student Museum ‘Musings’ – Emily

Hi there, it’s Emily again, and I’ve continued the transcribing of the Thomas Henry Correspondence Collection, which I mentioned in my previous post. Through the transcribing and digitizing I have looked at numerous very interesting pieces related to Thomas Henry, and the Henry Family. But there are two pieces in particular that stand out for me within this collection. One of which is a photograph taken by E.E. Henry, the son of Elder Thomas Henry. This photograph is titled a “Spirit Picture,” and contains the image of two men and one women, one of the men however is deceased, being “[b]orn again into the spirit life, July 20th, 1825.” The second piece from this collection that is very interesting is a correspondence letter, which was written by Thomas Henry, June 10th, 1873, and addressed to E.E. Henry. This letter is especially interesting because it is Thomas Henry’s response to the Spirit Picture sent to him by his son.

A013.4.449 - Spirit Photograph

A013.4.449 – Spirit Photograph

The elder Henry’s response to his son is a very interesting read after looking at the Spirit Picture, because being a Christian Minister, one could assume that Thomas Henry has very firm beliefs in regards to the spirit word. The correspondence letter sent to E.E. is strongly worded, long, and firm, scolding his son for taking part in what Thomas believes is unsavory activities. Thomas states in his letter, “I do not dispute but what the picture has been taken. It is not of god, in my humble opinion, But of the Divil[SIC], and show very clearly to me a falling away from God, and disbelieving his word.” Thomas Henry continues through his letter to argue to his son the abomination that is the Spirit Picture sent to him, and writes of the story of King Saul, Samuel, and the Medium at Endor.

Ebenezer Elijah Henry, from the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

Ebenezer Elijah Henry, from the Oshawa Community Archives Collection

The relationship between Thomas and E.E. Henry is very fascinating because after scolding his son through this letter, and yet Thomas ends is letter by writing, “you might have taken the old prophets picture, and now I would not wonder, but what Dr. Taylor and his medium might get a picture of some of your friends if so send me one.” In another unrelated letter from this collection E.E. writes to his father, “you well know you have left me out in the cold as it were, and I have had to paddle my own canoe for myself. You have as you say in your letter helped all the rest, but me, and now you tell me that I am the favorite. Well God knows I am glad and hope it is so.” It seems to me that parental approval was one of, if not the most important aspects of life for Victorians. And that the Spirit Picture may have been a way that E.E. was seeking that approval by showing to his father his work.

 

This collection has been fascinating to go through, and has helped me understand the Henry family, and Victorians, much more than I had before by the digitizing and transcribing of these letters and pictures.

Quilting Stories: An Epilogue

With our newest exhibition, Common Threads: Stories from our Quilt Collection, opening soon, we thought it would be timely to follow up with one last quilting blog post.  One challenge with digitizing and cataloging the quilts was identifying the patterns.  The repeating patterns on our quilts are beautiful, and every square is unique; however, each one has an underlying pattern, some common with quilts, while some were more unique.

While digitizing the quilt collection, we kept our own reference to the different patterns which appeared in our quilts, and we thought we would share them here.

To see more quilts, and to learn the stories behind them, be sure to visit the Oshawa Museum and take in our newest exhibit, Common Threads: Stories from our Quilt Collection, opening in June.

Blazing Star Pattern

Blazing Star Pattern

'Broken Dish' (Variation) / 'Hourglass'

‘Broken Dish’ (Variation) / ‘Hourglass’

Carolina Lily Pattern

Carolina Lily Pattern

Churn & Dash Pattern

Churn & Dash Pattern

Crazy quilt – this quilting ‘pattern’ was popular in the Victorian Era.  There is no structured pattern to it, but, in keeping with the Victorian ‘Waste not, want not’ philosophy, it was an ideal quilting method to use up scrap fabrics.

Crazy quilt – this quilting ‘pattern’ was popular in the Victorian Era. There is no structured pattern to it, but, in keeping with the Victorian ‘Waste not, want not’ philosophy, it was an ideal quilting method to use up scrap fabrics.

Crosses & Losses Pattern

Crosses & Losses Pattern

Friendship block – this example in particular features a signature in the centre

Friendship block – this example in particular features a signature in the centre

Irish Chain Pattern

Irish Chain Pattern

Lemoyne Star Pattern

Lemoyne Star Pattern

Log Cabin Pattern – easily recognizable – we have several in this pattern in our collection

Log Cabin Pattern – easily recognizable – we have several in this pattern in our collection

Maple Leaf Traditional Quilt (a very popular pattern in the 1920s.  It resembles star patterns)

Maple Leaf Traditional Quilt (a very popular pattern in the 1920s. It resembles star patterns)

Orange Peel Pattern

Orange Peel Pattern

Pinwheel Pattern

Pinwheel Pattern

Baby Block Pattern

Baby Block Pattern