Photographers Index

Henderson, Alexander, 1831-1913, photographer

Gender: Male
Active Dates: 1831 - 1913
Active Area: North and Central America (continent)
Canada (nation)
Quebec (province)
Montréal, Ile de (island)
Montreal (inhabited place)
Likenesses: None found.
Photographs: See list of photographs
Publications: Henderson issued a number albums entitled 'Canadian views and studies, Photographed from Nature'.
Related Entries: Notman, William, 1826-1891, photographer
Alexander Henderson was born in Scotland on July 9th 1831. He was part of a wealthy Scottish family. His father, Thomas Henderson, was a successful nurseryman and seed merchant. His grandfather, Alexander Henderson Senior, was the first chairman of the National Bank of Scotland and had been lord provost of Edinburgh. The family had extensive landholdings. Henderson was educated at Murcheston Academy and at Rugby School. In 1849 he was apprenticed to be an accountant. Henderson married Agnes Elder Robertson in 1855 and, shortly afterwards, they emigrated to Canada. They settled in Montreal and from 1859 to 1863 Henderson worked as a commission merchant (Cook 1998, p.477).

Henderson took up photography as a hobby circa 1857 (Turner 1996, p.385). He was first recorded as an amateur photographer and member for North America of the Stereoscopic Exchange Club in 'Photographic News', September 9th 1859 (Greenhill and Birrell 1979, p.51). As an amateur, he published his first major collection of landscapes - 'Canadian views and studies by an amateur' (also known as 'Photographic views and studies of Canadian scenery') (Cook 1998, p.477). He was working as a professional photographer by 1866, taking portraits and landscapes, with a studio at 10 Phillips Square, Montreal. In 1874 he moved his studio to 237 St James Street. However, this relocation was only to be for a short time as in 1876 he moved again to 387 Notre Dame.

Henderson was particularly noted for his landscape photography (Turner 1996, p.385). He photographed the major cities of Quebec and Ontario but was also fond of the wilderness. In 1872 Henderson photographed construction projects on the Intercolonial Railway and was commissioned in 1875 to photograph structures on the almost complete Montreal Maritimes Line. He undertook a number of Railway projects and in 1892 he became Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway Photographic Department. Henderson retired 1897 (Cook 1998, p.477).

Henderson was friends with William Notman. In 1960 they travelled to the Niagara Falls. They also worked together on experiments with magnesium flares and were both founding members of the Art Association of Montreal (Cook 1998, pp.477-478).

Henderson died on April 4th 1913.
Sources: Cook, Ramsay ed. (1998), 'Dictionary of Canadian Biography'. Volume XIV - '1911-1920'. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Greenhill, Ralph and Birrell, Andrew (1979), 'Canadian photography, 1839-1920'. Toronto: Coach House Press.
Turner, Jane ed. (1996), 'The dictionary of art'. Volume 14. New York: Grove.

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