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October 3, 2013

Scandal! Vice, crime and morality in Montreal, 1940-1960

Image courtesy of Archives de la Ville de Montréal
I can't decide how I feel about this. It's a piece of history and if your ancestor was one of these women you would likely be interested in her photo.

But I find it sad and feel that showing the photos in a sense dehumanizes these women even more.

An exhibit is scheduled to be shown which will include over 100 photographs of prostitutes and Madams in Montreal Quebec in the 1940s. The mug shots were entered as part of the Caron Inquiry of 1954 which was looking into corruption.

The exhibition Scandal! Vice, crime and morality in Montreal, 1940-1960 opens at the Centre d’histoire de Montréal on Nov. 15, 2013.

According to the museum's curator, the photos recently discovered in the Archives of Montreal are quite rare because the Madams did not usually allow photos of themselves.


André Gauvreau said...

Mrs, McGinnis, I am in charge of the communications at the Centre d'histoire de Montréal. Our exhibition will not be only about prostitutes. We will talk about all the era of 1940-1960: the gambling houses, the cabarets and the desire of the citizens to have a moral city. We will present only some of the mug shots of madams and prostitutes from the collection of the municipal archives and this will be done with respect. Thank you for your interest.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thank you for the clarification Andre.

As a genealogist I am only interested in the truth about my ancestors, whether that is pleasing or not.

my comments were not meant to criticize the Centre, as I think it is important that the photos are available to descendants. But I did feel sadness for the women, whose reasons for being prostitutes are not known to us.

I appreciate that the photos of the madams and prostitutes are only a small part of an overall exhibit and I wish I lived close enough to see it