Joseph Godin was born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec on August 9, 1835. He was the son of Charles Honoré Godin dit Félix, a saddler and later a carpenter, and Marie Émilie Jourdain. He was baptized on the day of his birth under the first names of Joseph Honoré, but over the course of his life, he went by Jos., Joseph C., Joseph H. Charles, or Joseph Henri Charles.

Joseph Henri Charles Godin married Olive Marchand. They had six children: Lucinda, Henri, Eugène, Hector, Rose, and Édouard. In 1871, the family lived in the Sainte-Ursule neighbourhood, and Joseph Henri Charles was a lumber merchant.

Then, on November 20, 1875, Olive gave birth to a stillborn child baptized by Dr. Georges Badeaux. Grief would strike the family once again when Olive Marchand Godin died a few days later at the age of 33.

On May 12, 1878, Joseph H. Charles Godin, lumber merchant clerk, remarried. He married Philomène Marchand, Olive’s sister. In the 1881 Canadian census, Joseph was 44 years old and said to be a bookkeeper. The family lived in the Saint-Philippe neighbourhood in Trois-Rivières. Joseph H. Charles Godin was the manager at Alexander Baptist & Fils, whose lumber business was located on Wayagamack Island at the mouth of the Saint-Maurice River.

Joseph Henri Charles Godin died on September 15, 1890.

As for J. A. Dumas, whose signature is affixed to the bottom right of the passe-partout of this photograph, in all likelihood, he is not the artist/photographer who took this photograph, but rather the one who reproduced it after the death of J. H. Charles Godin. Or—and this would be surprising, to say the least—his bosses allowed him to sign his name on the photographs that he produced at least six years before he opened his own workshop in 1896.

Indeed, Joseph Amédée Dumas, born in St-Anselme de Dorchester, Quebec, first worked with artists Edmond-Marie Templé (1853-1895), the author of a Méthode de dessin, and Damase Ravaux, an artist/painter, in Montreal, then with photographer Livernois in Quebec City. Upon returning to Montreal, he worked for 14 years in several photographic workshops.

He married Marie-Louise David on August 14, 1894, in the Notre-Dame parish of Montreal.

In 1896, Joseph Amédée Dumas opened his photography studio at the corner of rues Vitré and Saint-Laurent in Montreal. This photographer gradually built up a great reputation. In 1908, he moved his workshop to 460, rue Saint-Denis, at the corner of rue Sherbrooke, in Montreal.

His advertising slogan read: “This is where all those who seek the last word in likeness, chic, and finish in photography go. And the most demanding are always satisfied.”

Joseph Amédée Dumas died in December 1910 at the age of 44.

If this photograph was taken in Trois-Rivières, here are a few photographers who had their workshops there around 1885-1890. Those who might have captured this image: Louis Grenier, John Thomas Lambly (Lambley), or J.-Charles Prince.

Donation from Dr. Conrad Godin
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1979 52 F