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Stereographs Project

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HomeContents > People > Photographers > A.B. Munro

Other: Arthur B. Munro 
Dates:  1857 - 1920, July
Born:  Canada, Ontario, Mallorytown
Died:  Canada, Ontario, Gananoque
Active:  Canada
Arthur B. Munro was born in Mallorytown, Ontario in 1857, just 3 miles from the St. Lawrence River and downstream from Gananoque. A.B., as he was known, was the 5th of 6 children of Alfred and Lydia Munro. Their father, Alfred, was a shop keeper and Clerk of Court for Mallorytown and both Alfred and Lydia were grandchildren of United Empire Loyalists, those people who remained loyal to the King and fled the colonies during the American Revolution.
In 1881, when A.B. was 25, his sister, Olive, began a collection of “Mental Photographs”, (subtitled “An Album for Confessions of Tastes, Habits, and Convictions”). Friends and family wrote entries in the book to capture a person’s favorite color, amusements, and even their personal motto. A.B.’s entries revealed his sense of humor with his favorite color as “My Girl’s’ Hair (Red)”, and his favorite flower, “Two-lips”. His saddest words were “Too late for dinner”, and his personal motto was “Never to be too late”. Curiously, his favorite occupation was “Buying up railroads”.
Around 1897, at the age of 40, A.B. moved to Gananoque and set up shop on King Street as a studio photographer in a building known as the Bennett Block. In the early 1900’s, capitalizing on the popularity of the stereopticon and the increasing volume of tourists to the area, his business expanded to include sets of stereo views of the Thousand Islands.
His photographs were also selected to accompany an article entitled “A Congregation in Canoes” by John C. Hodson, published in the Wide World Magazine dated October 1904. Written about the religious services which are still held today in Half Moon Bay, a natural bay located on Bostwick Island in the St. Lawrence River, the photos are representative of A.B.’s work and are similar to those in his stereo views.
In 1897, Olive’s son Alden was born. By 1900, Olive and Alden had moved in with A.B. to help care for their mother, Lydia, who had come to live with A.B. after Alfred’s death. After Lydia passed away, Olive and Alden continued to reside with A.B., and eventually Alden joined the Canadian military during WWI.
Many of the stereo views in the collection are without any identifying location, yet we have been able to document most of them as being taken around Fish Dam Islands, near Ivy Lea, Ontario. This small group of islands was purchased in 1897-98 by A.B.’s brother, artist Henry Crofts Munro, who is pictured in many of the views.
The last mention of A.B. as a photographer in the Gananoque directory was in 1918. Tragically, in a span of two days in October of that year, A.B. lost both his beloved sister, Olive, and her dear son Alden to the Spanish Flu epidemic.
Less than two years later, in July of 1920, A.B. passed away. Though he never married, his legacy lives on in the photographs and stereo cards of the people and places of the Thousand Islands that we treasure today.
Courtesy of Tom Hunter
December 2020 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Gananoque, Ontario, Canada 
"Photographer"; "Views of the Thousand Islands a Specialty". Listed in Gananoque 97-99; issued area stereoviews, details not known. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the World (Non-USA), (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

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