Through Canada with a Kodak (1893)

BearHunt-smToronto.  Thanks to member George Dunbar for this interesting link. In 1893, barely five years after George Eastman began selling his famous Kodak camera, W.H White of Edinburgh published a book called Through Canada with a Kodak by the Countess of Aberdeen, Ishbel Gordon.

The Countess embarked on a trip across the Atlantic by ship and across the Dominion of Canada by train. The book is illustrated mostly by her Kodak photos plus the occasional photographs by Notman of Montreal and Messrs Boorne and May of Calgary.

In the spirit of the day, the book has a chatty text of her travels interspersed with some plates created from photographs. The book was reprinted a century later in 1994 by the U of T Press. Today little book is readily available for free in pdf format through the website and the Toronto Public Library website.

The Countess herself is very interesting and published many other books and articles available at the online books website of the University of Pennsylvania. There is also a brief biography of the Countess on Wikipedia.

To put the book in perspective, when it was first printed photography was a bit over a half century old and black and white photographs by devoted amateurs had become a reality. Colour photography, other than hand painted photographs, didn’t exist. Travel was by ship and train. Electricity was a novelty. The telephone had been invented a decade earlier, and was barely challenging the telegraph. Colour photography, movies, automobiles, radio, airplanes, television and computers all lay in the future!

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