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  • A Hair Affair
  • Newton Brookhouse
  • 150 years Coaticook
  • Kids!
  • Go with the flow

As part of the exhibition series DISCOVER YOUR PAST, the ETRC is opening its archives to share the treasures of several fonds and collections with the broader public. The exhibitions showcase a small selection of the thousands of remarkable photographs in the ETRC’s collection.

A Hair Affair

A Hair Affair is an exhibition that brings to light an often overlooked subject of history: beards and mustaches. Through old photographs, this exhibition illustrates what male facial hair could have represented between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century in the Eastern Townships. Through photographs of men of diverse social backgrounds proudly wearing a beard and a mustache, new questions surface. Are beard and mustache styles related to social classes? Is the mustache a sign of prosperity? In short, what does facial hair teach us about society? With this unusual theme, History is decidedly really fun!

Styles of beards and mustaches

From huge side burns to small mustaches, to prominent beards, it is easy to see the great diversity of facial hair styles in the 19th and 20th centuries. This remarkable variety composes the social landscape of the era. Actors, singers and politicians influenced fashion, and men easily adapted their facial hair style to those of the public figures they admired or identified with. Think of Elvis Presley’s sideburns or Clark Gable’s mustache – two public figures who were tremendously popular among men at different periods of time. Unlike the impact that public figures have on the appearance of many gentlemen, the career and social ranking seems to only slightly influence the adopted beard styles. Indeed, except for the military mustache, sported by almost all members of the British Army in the 19th century, beards and mustaches seem to be a matter of personal choice… and generosity of nature.



ETRC / Minnie Hallowell Bowen fonds P006-006-004-005

Social role

Before the mid-19th century, beards were strongly associated with the most radical groups in society, such as Socialists and Chartists. It is only in the second half of this century that beards and mustaches spread throughout society. Bourgeois, workers and aristocrats sport them to represent their masculinity. During the industrial era, men are massively called to work outside the house, while women ensure the smooth running of the home. Men use their facial hair to affirm their authority, their independence and their role as households’ patriarchs, thus helping to define a certain masculine model.

At the beginning of the 20th century, beards and mustaches are losing favor in America. Several factors contribute to this transformation. Scientific discoveries, like those of Louis Pasteur in regards to the role of microorganisms in spreading contagious diseases, spurrs the evolution of personal hygiene practices. Beards and mustaches come to be seen as a haven for germs, while a clean-shaven face is synonymous with health and cleanliness. Moreover, a new masculine type focusing on youth, energy, sociability and discipline emerges, and these qualities are associated with a shaved face. This reconfiguration of masculine codes is especially clear in politics. Beards and mustaches are perceived as masks concealing the true personality of a man and as signs of unconventional individualism. On the contrary, a clean-shaven appearance represents honesty, reliability and discipline. Women, who gained voting rights during the same period, appear to be very sensitive to what male facial hair could foreshadow of the candidates’ commitment to the community. Paradoxically, beards and mustaches did not disappear. In the cultural imagination of Hollywood, for example, a well-maintained mustache continues to represent virility, forceful individualism, and a certain kind of toughness which is not without any charm.

Barbershops

Since antiquity, barbershops are important places of sociability. Men meet there to discuss more masculine topics, such as sports or politics. This was particularly true in the late 19th and early 20th century when beards and mustaches were highly popular and needed to be well groomed. Sunday was probably the only day when barbershops were not busy. In fact, in 1885, the City of Sherbrooke authorities forbade the opening of barbershops on Sundays.

During that period, the barbers’ trade became more professional in Quebec and in the Eastern Townships. Created in 1896, the “Corporation des barbiers” of Québec required of its members to pass an entrance examination. In the 1920s, the barbers of the Eastern Townships set up a joint committee responsible for ensuring proper hygiene practices among its members through a compulsory certification. Beginning of 1948, barbers were even asked to complete their eighth grade before entering the trade.

Newton Brookhouse

Pioneer in Townships Photography

Due to the overwhelming success of the exhibition series DISCOVER YOUR PAST, the Eastern Townships Resource Centre is excited to unveil its next instalment. “Newton Brookhouse: Pioneer in Townships Photography” is an exhibition with photographic masterpieces pulled from the archives of the Eastern Townships Resource Centre (ETRC). Brookhouse is revealed to be a Townships’ photographer, thriving in the very early days of photography. The amazing quality of his pictures perfectly preserves the daily life and history of the Eastern Townships into spectacular images.

Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds

150 years Coaticook

A photographic journey

150 years Coaticook – A photographic journey” presents the daily life in Coaticook over the last 15 decades. For the city’s anniversary, the Eastern Townships Resource Centre and the Coaticook Historical Society searched their archives for the most beautiful and significant photographs to show how life was in the past.

Discover how Main Street has changed over the years, how train and car made their first appearance in the city and what it meant to live in Coaticook and the surrounding area. Visit the bar of the Half-Way-Hotel to have drink with the travelers, see the proud Coaticook Fire Brigade and observe the changes marked by the style of clothing, architecture and the quality and setting of the photographs.

Kids!

Children of the Eastern Townships between 1890 – 1930

Kids! is a photograph exhibition that displays the life of children in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and takes you on a journey back in time. Kids! celebrates children and the unique environment they had growing up in our region.  Boys out riding in wintertime, girls playing in the hay or fishing at the river: These children were fortunate to be surrounded by an undeniably distinct landscape that affected how they were reared. The rich topography with vast fields, endless lakes and rivers, and beautiful mountains was, and is still, a phenomenal playground for children. Discover the changes marked by the style of clothing, the toys the children played with, and the quality and setting of the photographs. Although the exhibit’s time frame from 1890 to 1930 reflects these changes throughout the decades, the timeless aspect of what it means to be a child in the Townships has remained the same.

Newton Brookhouse fonds - 039
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Newton Brookhouse fonds
Mildred Waldron collection - P170-001-002-001
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds- P181-025
Speid-Motyer family fonds - P196-017-02-006-028
Elvyn M. Baldwin family fonds - P173-005-02-10-01
Elvyn M. Baldwin family fonds - P173-005-02-002-003
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-130
Newton Brookhouse fonds - 159
Hackett family fonds - P158-010-001
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-007
Gingras family fonds - P168-049
H.K. Warren Milne collection - 017
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-022
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-027
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-016
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-004
Hally Carrington Brent family fonds - P181-019
Newton Brookhouse fonds - 156

Go with the flow

Life by the water

Go with the Flow – Life by the water in the Eastern Townships is a photograph exhibition that displays the life along rivers and lakes in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and takes you on a journey back in time.

Go with the Flow is an exciting look into the past of the Eastern Townships. Discover the changes marked by the style of clothing and the quality and setting of the photographs. Although the exhibit’s time frame from 1890 to 1950 reflects these changes throughout the decades, the timeless aspect of what it means to live in the Townships has not changed.

Andrew Sangster fonds - P078-217
Newton Brookhouse fonds - P288
Andrew Sangster fonds - P078-216
Lafrance family fonds- P042
Newton Brookhouse fonds - P95
Hally Carrington fonds - P181-b139
P020/003.06/003/532
P020-003.06
P020-77-7-09
Lake Massawippi Area Historical Society collection - P177-01-004003
Ian Tait collection - P163-004-008
Lake Massawippi Historical Society - P177-007-01-004-001
P020/003.06
Newton Brookhouse fonds - P042