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Bruno Charron, Mattawa Photographer: Canadian History in Vintage Postcards

Mattawa Photographer Bruno Charron’s Portrait of the Napoleon Fink Family Highlighting in vintage postcards the history of towns and townships in the greater Lake Nipissing and Lake Temagami areas of Northern Ontario, Canada, including the Nipissing District and portions of the Parry Sound district which are in the “Blue Sky Region.” These Canadian postcards are shown in digital, virtual museum format for educational purposes. If you have images or historical information which you’d like to share with our virtual museum, feel free to do so. To navigate these pages, mouse over the top navigation bar. Drop-down menus will appear of the areas of interest. Click on the thumbnails for larger images. Close the larger image before opening another thumbnail. The occasional duplicates for sale can be found using the search box on the main (home) page of This is an ongoing project; comments and questions to the webmaster at webmaster - at sign - are welcome.


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This charming cabinet card documents the work of Canadian photographer Bruno Charron, who worked as a photographer and barber in Mattawa, Ontario between at least 1882 and 1922. We believe this portrait of the Napoleon Fink family dates to about 1889. It measures the standard 4-1/4 by 6-1/2 inches used for cabinet cards and has rounded corners but is devoid of a photographer’s imprint on the reverse, which occurred with later cabinet cards. On the plain reverse, the names of the subjects are listed as: Napoleon Fink, Anna (née Dugas), Leyda, Dora (Theodora), Arthur and Oscar. Peter Napoleon Fink was a Mattawa merchant.

Bruno Charron, Mattawa, Ontario Photographer, and Cabinet Card of the Napoleon Fink Family

Later children missing in this Fink family portrait include Marie Josephine Beatrice, born in 1895. There’s also a genealogical record for the 1924 marriage of a son — 31-year-old Dr. Charles Telesphore Fink — and a 1923 marriage of 25-year-old daughter Donalda Fink. Theodora (Dora), seen in the image, was married in 190. You can also see an image of Leyda Fink playing broomball in 1932 in Mattawa.


The cabinet card was a type of photograph which was universally adopted for photographic portraiture in 1870, peaking in popularity in the 1880s. First introduced in 1866, cabinet cards were originally used for horizontally-oriented images and then became wildly popular in their vertical format because they could be used for portraits. A thin photograph was mounted on commercially produced card stock of the standard 4-1/4 x 6-1/2 size. Cabinet cards from the 1880s had a distinctive sepia tone, seen in this image and caused by the albumen print process. Later cabinet cards from the 1890s often had the appearance of a black-and-white photograph.


Cabinet cards were popular due to their large image size. They were big enough to be easily viewed from across a room when typically displayed on a cabinet; they soon joined the photo album as a fixture in late 19th century Victorian parlors. With the introduction of the affordable Kodak Box Brownie camera in 1900, the public increasingly began taking their own candid photographs and the popularity of the cabinet card waned, although they were produced as late as 1924.

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In the 1891 Canadian census, Bruno Charron’s age is given as 32. He was from Québec, and was a son of Hillaire Charron and Cecile (née Brunet) Charron. In 1886, Bruno Charron married Marie Georgina, 32, also originally from Québec and a daughter of Moise Mayer and Lucie (née Minor). It’s believed that Charron and his wife are buried in St. Anne’s Catholic Church cemetery in Mattawa.


Old antique postcards tell the stories of North Bay, Temagami, Bear Island, Bonfield, Callander and Corbeil, Commanda, the Ferguson Highway (Highway 11), Lavigne and Verner, Marten River, Alderdale, Monetville and Noëlville, Nipissing Village, Powassan, and Trout Creek, Sturgeon Falls, Sundridge, Trout Lake, Restoule, South River, Tilden Lake, Dokis, Rutherglen, Tomiko Ontario, Trout Mills and other areas of interest. Read the story of Frederic Remington’s moose hunt, taken over 100 years ago near Mattawa, or see an Orangemen Parade.. We also have a collection of rare New Ontario Brewery artifacts.


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For collectors of vintage postcards, old postcards and the antique postcard. Deltiology, the hobby of collecting vintage postcards, is one of the fastest-growing collectibles hobbies. Old postcard collections interest collectors of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera; collectables such as old vintage postcards are used by museums and historians to document what was.

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