Nineteenth-century Canadian Photographically Illustrated Books

Exhibit: Mapping J. M. LeMoine's "Maple Leaves"

In 1865, Sir James MacPherson LeMoine (1825–1912) published the third volume of his highly popular Maple Leaves series with an exciting new method of illustration: photography. Maple Leaves: Canadian History and Quebec Scenery became the first literary work published in Canada to be sold with photographs illustrating the text.

The response to LeMoine's choice of illustration was surprising. Readers of Maple Leaves visited the studio of photographer Jules-Isaïe Benoît dit Livernois (1830-1865) to purchase even more photographs for their book copies, turning this work into a complex and intimate record of the community. As a result, the surviving books are all different. They collectively serve as a kind of regional album, preserving the tastes and aspirations of the readers living in and around Quebec City in the mid-nineteenth century.

Follow the story through Maple Leaves and see the photographs that readers added along the way.