Sometimes a Great Nation: A Photo Album of Canada, 1850-1925


207 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919381-13-8




Reviewed by J.V. Rahilly

J.V. Rahilly was an engineering librarian in Ontario.


This highly useful source book has about 192 numbered photographs (black and white, sepia, tinted and coloured), selected from 24 collections scattered across Canada (only four are non-public). The major collections are the Public Archives of Canada and the various provincial archives or the equivalent (e.g., the McCord Museum in Montreal). The pictures are roughly in chronological order, in excellent reproduction, but eclectic in themes and issues. All the pictures are sourced, but there is little in the way of descriptive material about each one. There is, of course, introductory material about the history of photography in Canada and about Canadian history in general, but nothing specific about the pictures beyond short captions. Some of the pictures have been published before, but certainly not reproduced as they were originally.


Cavell, Edward, “Sometimes a Great Nation: A Photo Album of Canada, 1850-1925,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,