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W-MCP2-4.057 TO THOMAS B. MCQUESTEN from his sister, Mary
Jun 29 1904
Postmarked
To: Thomas Baker McQuesten Quyon, P.O., Quebec, Canada
From: Whitehern, Hamilton, Ontario

Dear Tom,

Here's to your health and Many Happy Returns of the Day. I presume you are being quite patriarchal by now. Calvin has just sent me a photo of an Indian Chief taken, developed, and printed by himself. It is a very good for a first attempt. Think his camera must be a quite good one.1

I suppose you are jumping logs by this time, and also are keeping cool.2

Just after you left, the weather changed and it is delightful.

Mamma met Mary Hannaford on the street to-day and Mary at once asked Mamma if Miss Ruby were engaged to Mr. Chisholm as she had heard that report. Ruby, Hilda, and Mamma are going up there to-day so Mamma is going to ask Alice what she thinks of it. Hilda declares if it comes to Mr. C.'s ears he will blush to his bare knees. People seem to be most anxious about marrying us off. 3As Hilda is writing too must close. Hoping you will excuse this stupid letter and again wishing you every good thing [Bouchal?].

Your loving sister,

Mary B. McQuesten


1 Rev. Calvin McQuesten wrote an article on the Blackfoot Indians and he took several photos of their dances.

In June of 1904, Calvin witnessed the three week long ceremony of the Sun Dance and wrote an article about it which was not published until 1911. Some of the members of the Blackfoot tribe involved had religious objections to the camera and Calvin was chased away several times. This article was published with Calvin's photographs in The Canadian Magazine, Vol. XXXVII, No. 5, September 1911, (403-412). Calvin had lived in Alberta for several years between 1903 when he took a missionary position in the developing prairies and February 1911 when he moved back to Ontario and in June took up position as a minister at Staney Brae in Muskoka (see Rev. Calvin's biography on the Family page). Although it is not entirely clear when the article was actually written, it was very likely in 1904. In W-MCP2-3b.053, written in June of that year, Calvin writes to his brother Thomas about the camp of Blackfoot peoples preparing for the Sun Dance and in subsequent letters mentions the photographs he took of the rituals. See also, Box 14-040, Box 14-018, W-MCP2-3b.055, W-MCP2-3b.053, W-MCP2-3b.054, W5261. Calvin's article was published with photographs, including an image of a Blackfoot man charging the camera to drive Calvin away. These images are available on this site, see IMG030 and others in the series. This site also has several photographs of native Canadians that had been taken by Calvin, including IMG030, IMG081, IMG082, IMG141, IMG175, IMG188, IMG184, IMG185, IMG142, IMG143, IMG163.


2 Tom spent the summer in 1903 & 1904 working as a lumberjack in Quebec. See also W4977, W8160, W8164, W8166, W8170, W-MCP2-3b.055, W-MCP2-4.057.


3 This comment and reaction indicates that there was a stigma in Victorian times at the prospect of a girl being unmarried, and none of the four McQuesten girls were ever married, although Hilda and Ruby had been engaged. See Hilda and Ken Trigge, W4635, and Ruby and David Ross, W5622, W6135, W4651, W5630.




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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.


Hamilton Public Library This site was created in partnership with and is hosted by the Hamilton Public Library. Canada's Digital Collections This digital collection was produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital Collections initiative, Industry Canada.