Manuscript Collection MS COLL 00407 - Girdwood Collection of Glass Lantern Slides, Niagara Falls and Area

Identity area

Reference code



Girdwood Collection of Glass Lantern Slides, Niagara Falls and Area


  • [ca. 1850-1860]. (Creation)

Level of description

Manuscript Collection

Extent and medium

2 boxes (79 slides)

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Gilbert Prout Girdwood was a medical doctor, chemist, and a professor of Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal. Girdwood was born in England and after coming to Canada with the military, decided to settle in Montreal in 1864. He was an expert in the detection of forgeries in criminal cases, and developed the magnesium flare as a lighting source for photography. He was also one of the first to use stereoscopic x-ray photography in the identification of foreign objects, and an expert at the stereoscopic microscopy of crystals. He was also a leader in the introduction of practical chemistry to university instruction.

Name of creator

Biographical history

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of F.W. Moore, 1978.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Collection consists of 79 stereoscopic and panorama glass negatives taken by Girdwood and by commercial photographers, one of whom was possibly American photographer James Thomson. Fifteen of the slides depict scenes in and around Niagara Falls and are mounted with descriptions. Other locations depicted include Montreal and Ottawa, however, in many cases there is no information about either the photographer or location. Some of the negatives have been split into two pictures as each side contained a different image, and some of the negatives have only one image as they were taken as panoramas instead of stereo images.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Material may be requested in person at the Fisher Library Reference Desk, or in advance using our online stack retrieval request form:

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

Rules and/or conventions used




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places