II-145305 | Anson McKim's office, Montreal, QC, 1903

Anson McKim's office, Montreal, QC, 1903
Wm. Notman & Son
1903, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  A. McKim (1) , architecture (335) , card file (1) , clerical (1) , commercial (84) , figure (1849) , group (644) , interior (40) , Montreal (409) , Occupation (1110) , office (7) , Photograph (77678) , roll-top desk (1) , typewriter (1) , work (389) , work (126)
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Keys to History

The vast majority of Montrealers still belonged to the working class. Most of them were employed in the manufacturing, transportation and construction industries. Skilled workers were likewise benefiting from the favourable economic situation. More of them were joining trade unions, almost all of which were affiliated with rapidly expanding international unions based in the U.S.A. Workers were playing a more active part in politics, through the Parti ouvrier [Workers' Party] and its workers' clubs. In contrast, labourers and unskilled or poorly skilled manufacturing workers led a more precarious existence characterized by low wages, seasonal unemployment and no job security.

This period also saw the emergence of the office employee and retail sales clerk group, which generally enjoyed more stable employment. Their workplace was very different from that of factory employees. Growth in this social group did not really take off, however, until after the war.

  • What

    This photograph is a good illustration of the office work environment in the early years of the 20th century. Here the entry of women into the workplace appears well advanced, as several women can be seen carrying out various tasks.

  • Where

    The McKim office was in the Board of Trade building, where it remained until around 1910. Established in Montreal, the advertising agency also had an office in Toronto and correspondents in a few major foreign cities.

  • When

    In 1905 the McKim Advertising agency provided services to some 150 large Canadian and U.S. companies. It devised advertising campaigns and designed newspaper advertisements for them.

  • Who

    Anson McKim (1855-1917) was one of the pioneers of modern-day advertising in Canada. In Montreal, in 1889, he founded the advertising agency that bears his name.