Mitchell, Albert W

Birth Name Mitchell, Albert W
Gender male
Age at Death 37 years, 9 months, 24 days


See his entry in the dictionary of Canadian Biography


Administrative History

Albert William Mitchell lived his life on Spring Park Road in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where he was born on the 12th of June 1868 to Hannah (nee. Feavyour) and Nathaniel Albert Mitchell. He grew up with brothers George Nathaniel (1861-1897) and Frederick Smallwood (1865-1921). A sister, Emma Jane, born in 1862, died in 1865. Nathaniel worked in the 1860s as a shoemaker, but at the time of his death in 1888 was Treasurer for the Examiner Publishing Company. Professionally, A.W. Mitchell also worked as a bookkeeper (for Prowse Brothers, a dry goods firm headquartered on the corner of Richmond and Queen Streets in Charlottetown) and rose to become the Treasurer and a director of the company. In 1896 Mitchell married Annie Stentiford, daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Stewart) Stentiford. Their one child Ivan was born in 1898. The Mitchells were very active socially; he belonged to the Sons of England, he and Annie were charter members of the Rebekah Lodge of the Odd Fellows, and he was also a member of the IOOF Wildey Lodge. Mitchell was an amateur musician and played in Vinnicombe's Citizen Band in the 1880s. He was a member of the Methodist Church (now Trinity United) on Prince Street (Annie was a Baptist). His active social life is reflected in his photography, many photos having been taken on social outings and camping trips. Despite a full and active life his health failed. He died on the 11th of April 1906 at the age of 37 of Bright's disease (kidney disease) and tuberculosis; he was buried in the People's Cemetery. Annie died in 1913, at the age of 39, of heart disease and was buried next to her husband.

It appears that Mitchell began taking photographs in the early 1890s (1893 being the earliest dated image). He used the gelatin dry plate process to produce his images. Some Mitchell images were also produced as lantern slides, a format very popular among amateur photographers, allowing for the trading and sharing of each others work.

During the period of Mitchell's photographic activity there were several amateur photographers in Prince Edward Island, including Mitchell's friend Charles Drew, W.S. Louson, H.B. Sterling, Elliott Lumsden, and Fanny Johnson. Some of the amateurs, including Mitchell, had photographs published in the Prince Edward Island Magazine of 1899-1905; they also exhibited their work in the Provincial Exhibition which held a competition annually. Some scenic photos taken by amateurs were also available commercially from various merchants in Charlottetown and used to illustrate souvenir publications. Although camera clubs formed across Canada in the 1890s there does not appear to have been any formal organization on Prince Edward Island. However, as in other places, there does seem to have been communication among photography enthusiasts in the community, with images from Sterling and Drew turning up among Mitchell's fonds.

Mitchell's fonds includes many studio portraits and he may have had some sort of arrangement with Cloud Hill's Studio. Cloud Hill came to Charlottetown in 1891 from England (where he worked with the firm Hills and Saunders) to work for photographer George Cook. In April of 1893 he opened his own studio at 218 1/2 Queen Street (former premises of the Brae Mar Studio, which had opened in August of 1892). The business appears to have flourished only for a few years and by 1900 Cloud Hill and his studio were gone. It was not unusual for amateurs and professionals to associate and the relationships were generally beneficial to both parties.

The result of Mitchell's hobby and association with Hill is a rich collection of formal and informal images of people, events, recreational pursuits, street and landscapes of Prince Edward Island around the turn of the 20th century.


Custodial History

(No custodial history available)


Scope and Content

This fonds consists of 604 glass plate negatives, 25 lantern slides, 30 original prints, an album containing 57 original prints and 1 copy print. These materials have been divided into 8 series:

Series 1: Mi'kmaq people of Rocky Point and Lennox Island
Series 2: Portraits
Series 3: Street and Landscapes
Series 4: Architecture
Series 5: Transportation
Series 6: Events
Series 7: Recreational Pursuits
Series 8: Miscellaneous Images


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth June 17, 1868 Charlottetown, Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada 1911 census  
Death April 11, 1906 Charlottetown, Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada    


Relation to main person Name Birth date Death date Relation within this family (if not by birth)
Father Mitchell, Nathaniel
Mother Feavyour, HannahJuly 5, 18381929
    Brother     Mitchell, George 1897
         Mitchell, Albert W June 17, 1868 April 11, 1906
    Brother     Mitchell, Frederick Smallwood 1871 1921
    Sister     Mitchell, Emma 1865


Family of Mitchell, Albert W and Steniford, Ann

Married Wife Steniford, Ann ( * + 1913 )
Name Birth Date Death Date
Mitchell, Ivan StenifordMay 8, 18981954