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Adams Family Fonds (P023)

Vers 1885-1950. - 9.5 cm of textual records. - 338 photographs.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

Samuel Baillargé Townsend's second name came from his mother's side of the family. His mother was a Baillargé from the Quebec City region. There the family was known for its artistic talents, especially wood sculpture. In 1905, S. B. Townsend bought a house on Lake Manitou (near St. Agathe). The house was expanded and renovated from top to bottom between 1930 and 1933. S. B. Townsend passed away in the 1930s. He had two daughters: Marjorie and Katharine Louise Townsend.R. Percy Adams (Mayor of Westmount) married Marjorie Townsend. Their son, Dr. Samuel Townsend Adams, was a professor of ophthalmology at McGill University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was appointed chief ophthalmologist of the Montreal General Hospital in 1964. He also worked in the North with Inuit whose eyesight had been damaged by time spent in smoke-filled igloos. Dr. Adams died in 1978.

Scope and Content:

One of the series in this fonds contains documents concerning National Breweries Limited, which was founded in Montreal in 1909 and, at the time, was described as being "the largest consortium of breweries in the Dominion." It included companies like Dow Breweries, Union Breweries and Fox Head Breweries. The fonds contains a letter signed by the then consortium president, Norman J. Dawes, and a souvenir program of its 25th anniversary.

The donation contains a scrapbook of clippings that has numerous printed illustrations dating from the early 20th century (ca. 1915), including works by John Hassall (1868-1948), as well as greetings cards (Valentine's, Christmas). These documents apparently belonged to Katherine Townsend, who also seems to have kept a household accounts book dating from 1928, containing detailed information on various weekly expenditures (costs of bread, fruit, laundry, milk, etc.).

The printed documents include Across Canada with the Prince, which, with lots of illustrations, describes the cross-Canada trip of the future King Edward VIII (then the Prince of Wales) in 1919.

The original portion of the fonds (aside from the 2002 donation) contains printed material of various kinds, including "Private radio receiver licences" dating from the 1930s and 1940s that belonged to Percy Adams and Katherine Townsend. It also contains several catalogues: Candylbeme Bulbs (1933), S. C. Johnson floor care products (1925), Montreal Stencil Works (1926), documents on household sewer systems (1910), Mayflower and Franklin stove catalogues (ca. 1920), a CIL (Canadian Industries Limited) booklet on explosives (1931), a leaflet on the Shur Line International illustrating its various fire prevention systems (extinguishers, alarms, etc.) (1931), tennis court materials catalogues (1931), Batchelder tile catalogues (1923-1924), Canada Cement Company catalogues (ca. 1930), hardware catalogues from the importer Alex Bremmer (1906 and 1914), an S. L. Allen and Co. farm equipment catalogue (1918) and Duro plumbing products catalogues (ca. 1930). Lastly, the fonds also contains a Canadian Pacific booklet on the June 14, 1939, voyage of the Empress of Australia.

The fonds also contains photographs given to the McCord Museum in 1977. They include 6 tintypes, 123 visiting cards and 24 five-by-seven-inch portraits of the Marling (cousins of Marjorie Townsend) and Townsend families. Several of the portraits come from Hamilton or Brantford, Ontario. The fonds also contains 11 eight-by-ten-inch press photographs showing R. P. Adams in his capacity as Mayor of Westmount. Also included are a few miscellaneous photographs, chiefly of the Townsend family, including one painted photo (framed) of Mary Townsend (sister of S. B. Townsend) from the Notman Studios, and a framed tintype of six men on St. Helen's Island, circa 1885.

In 1979, Ms. S. T. Adams donated 28 glass negatives, most of them of Lake Manitou (QC) circa 1931, 126 other negatives of the same place, 10 cm of negative film of foreign origin (travel photos) and 21 family photographs.