This collection consists of 430 stereographs. They were assembled primarily by Sir Daniel Wilson and likely his daughter Sybil after his death. They document his interests in photography, especially of antiquarian Scotland and ethnology, and include many images of places he visited in Canada and the United States such as the White Mountains in New Hampshire where, on holidays, he painted many watercolours. Also included here are images of Toronto, the University of Toronto, the Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory, and two of the American Civil War.
Note on Sir Daniel Wilson
Sir Daniel Wilson was an accomplished amateur artist and much interested in the new medium of photography. He collected photographs, primarily in the stereographic medium, wherever he travelled and asked his friends to send images to him. He travelled widely following his arrival in Canada in 1853. In his first decade “he went as far south as Virginia and Kentucky, as far east as Prout’s Neck, Maine, as far west as the St. Louis River, and as far north as Lake Nipigon” . He travelled many times along the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay in that decade and later, made two trips to the upper Great Lakes (1855 and 1866), was introduced to the Green Mountains in New Hampshire and the Adirondacks and historic sites in New York, and in 1862 visited Washington and Civil War battle sites in Virginia. In 1863 he returned to Britain and Europe for the first time (he would go to again in 1878, 1880, 1885 and 1891). In the 1870s, his travels to him along the Muskoka and Severn Rivers (1870), and to Native sites in Kentucky and Ohio (1874).
After Wilson became President of University College in 1880, he sought escape from the heat of Toronto summers in New Hampshire and the eastern seaboard of the United States. In August of 1881 he first visited the White Mountains in New Hampshire where he was inspired to take up painting again, and to which he returned in 1882, 1883, 1886, and from 1887 to 1890. There, with his wife Margaret until her death in 1885, and his daughter Sybil, he sought out sites “with indelibly North American names, in which he clearly revelled” – Black Mountain, Cascade Brook, Mount Osceola, Mount Tecumseth, the Mad River, and Scar Ridge . In 1883 he vacationed along the Atlantic coast of Maine and in 1884 he went to the Adirondacks around Lake Placid.
Marinell Ash and colleagues, Thinking with both hands: Sir Daniel Wilson in the Old World and the New, ed. Elizabeth Hulse (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), 246.
Ibid, 252, 271