II-19792 | Miss B. Trudeau, Montreal, QC, 1875

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Miss B. Trudeau, Montreal, QC, 1875
William Notman (1826-1891)
1875, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  female (19035) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

In its first few decades, Canada was a predominantly Christian country. Religion played a major role in the daily lives of everyone from fishermen and fisherwomen to the prime minister. Whether or not individual parishioners and members of various congregations accepted church doctrine, religious teachings were front and centre in defining gender roles. Defenders of the status quo typically resorted to biblical text to support their arguments.

However, while the Catholic Church continued to insist that "a woman is by nature fitted for home-work, and it is that which is best adapted at once to preserve her modesty and to promote the good bringing up of children and the well being of family," by the 1870s, some Protestants were not so sure. They suggested new biblical interpretations that emphasized women as equal partners rather than as subservient handmaidens to a patriarch.

Source : Straitlaced: Restrictions on Women [Web tour], by Elise Chenier, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    This photo of Miss B. Trudeau shows her dressed in an outfit specially worn for her first communion, an important ceremony for Catholic girls and boys.

  • Where

    The portrait was taken in the Notman studio in Montreal.

  • When

    Miss B. Trudeau had her first communion in 1875.

  • Who

    This portrait was probably displayed in the Trudeau family home.