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Stereoscope Card: Falls of Montmorency
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Title: Stereoscope Card: Falls of Montmorency
Identifier: 979.6.1733b
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1860-1880
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: Stereoscopic view entitled 'Falls of Montmorency' by L.P. Vallee. Stamped on the back of the orange card is: 'Canadian Scenery by L.P. Vallee, Portrait and Landscape Photographer, No. 18, St. John Street, Quebec.' Also stamped is 'Always on hand, Views of Quebec, of all Sizes'. A sticker is stuck to the back and reads: '42. Falls of Montmorency'. The stereoscopic view includes two views of the falls surrounded by forest and rocks. There is a small viewing station in the photograph.

In the nineteenth century, stereoscopic prints provided virtual reality of places and people from around the world. With technological advances in photography and design, the uses of the 3-D viewing devices enhanced the enjoyment of stereo views. By the early 1900s, changes in the production and mass marketing of stereographs made them a popular medium available to all classes ranging from uses from parlour entertainment to incorporation as public school texts. See: Linda McShane, "When I Wanted the Sun to Shine - Kilburn and Other Littleton, New Hampshire Stereographers" (Littleton, New Hampshire: Sherwin Dogdge, 1993); William C. Darrah, "The World of Stereographs" (Nashville: Land Yacht Press, 1997); Joan Schwartz, "Picturing Place : Photography and the Geographical Imagination" (London: I.B. Tauris, 2003).

Louis-Prudent Vallée (baptized Louis-François-Charles-Prudent) was born in Saint-Roch parish, Quebec, Canada, on November 6th, 1837. His father was in the building industry. Vallée spent time learning photography in New York and in the studio of Jules-Isaïe Benoît, dit Livernois. In 1867, in partnership with François-Xavier Labelle, he opened his first studio at 10 Rue Saint-Jean, Quebec, Canada. The following year he took over the business himself. The bulk of his business consisted of portraits and tourist scenes. He married Elizabeth McAvoy in 1870 and eventually had six children. As well as running his photographic business, Vallée was deeply involved in the social and economic life of Quebec. Vallée occupied several buildings in Rue Saint-John. In the 1880s he appears to have purchased the stock of George William Ellisson. The last years of the nineteenth century proved difficult. Vallée faced much competition and in 1901 Vallée was forced to sell his property. He died in December 1905. Sources: Cook, Ramsay ed. (1994) "Dictionary of Canadian Biography" Vol. XIII - "1901-1910" University of Toronto Press.
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