Manitoba Historical Society
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Manitoba Photographers: Arthur John Lawrence (1874-1947)

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Work locations | Samples | Sources

Born at Goderich, Ontario on 4 June 1874, son of Rev. John Lawrence and Martha Lawrence, the first three years of his life were spent at Gaspe, Quebec where his father worked as a Methodist cleric. From there they lived successively at Inverness and New Glasgow in Quebec, and at Arden, Dalrymple, Coboconk, Alderville, Christian Island, and Rama in Ontario. While at Rama he attended the Orillia Collegiate, graduating in 1896. From there he went to the Model School at Parry Sound and, after receiving a teaching certificate, taught school for one year. The low salaries paid to teachers at that time motivated him to quit teaching and, in the summer of 1898, he joined the photography studio of Brown and Grant at Orillia. From there he went to Jackson’s Studio at Barrie and, in February 1900, to the Randall Studio at Magog, Quebec. After 14 months at Magog, he decided to move to western Canada.

In April 1903, with the assistance of Rev. A. B. Osterhout who was posted at Birtle, he came to this village in western Manitoba and opened a photography studio two months later. As of early 1904, he also operated a satellite studio at Shoal Lake purchased from Carl Nettekoven. As of 1910, he was a partner with English immigrant George Albert Meeres in the L & M Photo Company. Most of their work was done in the Russell area, with some photographs taken at Birtle, Binscarth, and Rivers. The partnership was dissolved in 1917 but Lawrence carried on work as a photographer at Birtle until his death. He was an active member of the Birtle Methodist (later United) Church, serving as Recording Steward, Choir member, caretaker, and Sunday School teacher.

He died at Birtle on 26 March 1947 and was buried in the Birtle Cemetery.

Work location(s)






Shoal Lake


Coming later


1901 and 1911 Canada censuses, Automated Genealogy.

“Please take notice,” Shoal Lake Star, 17 March 1904, page 5.

“The Lawrence Studio [advertisement],” Shoal Lake Star, 15 September 1904, page 8.

Obituary, Birtle Eyewitness, 1 April 1947, page 5.

“For sale: Photographer’s studio and equipment [advertisement],” Birtle Eyewitness, 6 January 1948, page 5.

George Albert Meers fonds, MemoryBC.

We thank Shonda Ashcroft for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Andrew Cunningham, Rob McInnes, and Gordon Goldsborough.

Profile revised: 12 September 2020

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