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© McCord Museum
Master William Cornelius Covenhoven Van Horne, Montreal, QC, 1910
Wm. Notman & Son
1910, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Childhood was not considered a specific period, distinct from adulthood, until the end of the 18th century. From then on, attention was given to the education of these beings in the making and teaching them discipline and respect for authority are seen as priorities.

The upper class had a somewhat romantic view of children. For them, children were innocent beings who needed to be raised apart from society, under the attentive gaze of a governess. Working-class families lived a whole different reality; for them, survival meant that everyone, including the children, had to work.


Look closely at this little tricycle. Notice that it has no pedals. For it to go anywhere, the rider has to be pushed.


The setting of this photograph is the garden of the luxurious home of the Van Hornes, at the time one of the wealthiest families.


The Van Hornes made their fortune during the building, at the end of the 19th century, of the railway that linked Canada from coast to coast.


The child in the photograph is the grandson of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, the famous railway magnate.

© Musée McCord Museum