I-1929.1 | Mr. John Dougall, Montreal, QC, 1862
Mr. John Dougall, Montreal, QC, 1862
William Notman (1826-1891)
1862, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
8.5 x 5.6 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Keys to History
Known as a journalist, editor and founder of the newspaper The Montreal Witness, John Dougall (1808-1886) along with his eldest son, John Redpath Dougall, managed a publishing house that produced a number of works such as the book Dress and Health: or How to Be Strong, a Book for Ladies (1876). This work demonstrates the sometimes moralistic tone of certain of their publications, in this case reflecting the concerns of physicians, such as the American Dio Lewis, who opposed the wearing of corsets.
"With knife on corset-string, every woman should cry out "Give me liberty or give me death!" Perfect freedom for lungs, heart, liver, and stomach is indispensable to good respiration, circulation, and digestion. Without such freedom, living is not living, but dying. [...] No, girls, the corset is bad, and only bad. It is not only a great enemy to health, but it is the great destroyer of female grace and beauty. A rigid stiffness in the center of the body makes all the movements of the entire body stiff and ungraceful. As to the matter of beauty, it's a question between the Creator and the dress-maker. I take side with the Creator; some folks take the other side." (Dougall, 1876: 41)
This portrait, in business card format, is one of 3,500 created by the Notman Studio in 1861. The studio catered to the more wealthy members of Montreal society as well as to tourists seeking to pose for posterity.
Founded by John Dougall, The Montreal Witness newspaper reached out to Montreal-area Anglophone communities and conveyed a number of ideas with a sometimes moralistic flavour. Temperance, evangelical Christianity, Sunday observances (the Lord 's Day of rest, in the tradition of Christian societies), economic progress and free trade were among the preoccupations of its founder. Politically, the paper tended to support the ideas of the Reformists or the Liberals.
In 1846, John Dougall founded The Montreal Witness, a newspaper that achieved considerable success. However, the paper's aggressive and intolerant attitude towards Catholics, French Canadians and people of Irish descent resulted in its banning by Monsignor Ignace Bourget in 1875.
A native of Scotland, John Dougall (1808-1886) emigrated to Canada in 1826 where he worked as a merchant. His marriage to Elizabeth Redpath, eldest daughter of Montreal businessman John Redpath, allowed him to join the ranks of the city's English elite.