Graduation portrait of Greta Dougall - FAR2018-046.1.1


Graduation portrait of Greta Dougall

Maker: William Notman & Son Photographic Studio
Medium:Gelatin silver print on card
Geography: Montreal, Quebec
Date: 1921
21.5 × 16 cm (8 7/16 × 6 5/16 in.)
Object number: 2019.19.1.1
Credit Line: Gift of Pat Antliff. Courtesy of the Family Camera Network.
Not on view

This photograph is a graduation portrait of Pat Antliff's grandmother, Greta Dougall. Greta’s dream was to become a businesswoman. In 1921, Greta was the first woman to graduate from McGill University’s Bachelor of Commerce program.

Pat discovered Greta’s graduation portrait when she inherited an old suitcase from her father. Pat explains, “This suitcase revealed a treasure trove of old family photographs and took [me] on a journey into the distant past. Relatives of Irish and English origins gazed out at [me] from formal portraits and, later, in snapshots.” Pat had only ever known her grandmother, Greta Dougall, as a child but never understood her as a person. She discovered they had both chosen non-traditional careers in male-dominated industries. Pat explains that the photos and stories of her grandmother’s life help her to relate to the professional challenges Greta faced and appreciate her tenacity, courage, and resilience in response to these challenges.

Pat Antliff was seven when her mother gave her a Brownie Hawkeye box camera, sparking her interest in photography. Nowadays, a camera – or two – is never far from reach. Photography has become her passion and creative outlet, enabling her to document travel, street scenes and landscapes. Her family lives in a lakeside community and like most parents, she enjoys capturing milestones and special moments as her children grew. Photographs have always connected her to the memories of her own past and shared moments with relatives and friends.

This image is part of The Family Camera Network public archive at the Royal Ontario Museum, which includes photographs, oral histories, and other objects from family photo collections.

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