II-166275.0 | Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona, copied 1907

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Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona, copied 1907
Anonyme - Anonymous
Before 1907, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

By 1907, when this photograph was probably taken, Donald Alexander Smith was a very old man (though he lived for seven more years). He had been knighted in 1886 for his work in building the CPR, and in 1897 was raised to the peerage as Lord Strathcona - his formal title was Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal (of Mount Royal and Glencoe). He served as Canadian High Commisioner to Great Britain from 1896 to 1914, and at ninety-four was perhaps the oldest civil servant in Canadian history. He was also the main shareholder in the Hudson's Bay Company, and was its governor from 1889 to 1914. A man who was controversial for his money-making abilities, he was born a poor Scottish boy and died wealthy and famous, his title passing to his only child, a daughter.

  • What

    The commemorative plaque erected at Lord Strathcona's birthplace in Forres, a town twenty-five miles east of Inverness, Scotland, calls him a pioneer, statesman and philanthropist.

  • Where

    The photograph may have been taken in London. Strathcona died there a few years later at the age of ninety-four, on January 21, 1914, at 28 Grosvenor Square, only a few months after his wife, to whom he had been married for more than sixty years.

  • When

    The photograph was taken in 1907. At that time, he was serving as Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain. He was appointed to this diplomatic post in 1896, and kept it until his death in 1914.

  • Who

    Lord Strathcona, who started working for the Hudson's Bay Company at the age of 18, was still involved in the company in 1907, as its governor and one of its largest shareholders.