Gwendolen Marjorie Howard Futcher began collecting and taking the photographs featured in this collection while a student in Germany between 1894 and 1897. Marjorie appears to have been a keen amateur photographer; appearing in several photographs holding a camera and taking pictures as she socialized with her friends and relatives in a variety of places. While it is likely that she was the person who captured most of the photographs in the collection’s two albums, only a small number are identified as having been taken by her.
Together, the two albums contain approximately 800 photographs, mostly with some kind of identifying label. While the photographs of each album are largely arranged in chronological order, both of the albums contain photographs taken between the mid 1890s and the later-half of the first decade of the twentieth century. These photographs illustrate the social life of a young, upper-middle class Montreal woman and her circle of friends during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. As the daughter of one of McGill’s most prominent nineteenth century medical professors, her world included prominent McGill university medical graduates, such as Sir William Osler (1849-1919) and Dr. Francis Shepherd (1851-1929), as well as the children and relatives of some of Montreal’s most influential English-Canadian families, at a time when several of those families controlled much of Montreal and Canada’s wealth. As Marjorie explained to her son in a letter in 1946, during her early adult years she had been a member of a wealthy élite, some of whose members occupied the mansions of Montreal’s Square Mile and the large estates of Senneville and Île d'Orléans, Quebec. These families held grand balls and received members of the Royal Family. This collection thus documents the intersection of the worlds of the social and medical elites.
The two Gwendolen Marjorie Howard Futcher albums were donated to the Osler Library by Mrs Futcher’s son, Dr Palmer Howard Futcher of Baltimore, in 1998. In an effort to offer an accurate electronic version of the collection, the digital reproductions of the albums present the collection’s material in the condition in which it was found in the Osler Library archives. No attempt has been made to alter, enhance, or manipulate the images in any way.