Never ask the explorer, still shrouded in distant solitudes, to tell his fondest memories.
first hour collaborator of Brother Marie-Victorin, Jacques Rousseau (1905-1970) was the second director of the Botanical Garden from 1944 to 1956.
You would not understand, perhaps, if he said: "It's the wind blowing through the valley, the moon perched between two spruce trees, the waterfall hissing, the gurgle of the brook, the shrill cry of the hawk to the cliff above its nest, the nostalgic singing of the finch, the lapping of the wave on the boat, the small Eskimo who smiled at his mother in the hood of the anorak, the find on a pebble on the beach that tells the story of the land or, on the slope, a plant that nobody has ever seen, an insignificant, unnamed grass which adds a link to human knowledge."
These are great adventures.
Jacques Rousseau, in: Toundra, 1950.
This man of both science and letters has produced over 700 titles, books and scientific and popular articles and has pursued a distinguished career that took him from Montreal to Quebec, via Paris and Ottawa.
Between 1936 and 1965, Jacques Rousseau does many excursions, particularly in northern Quebec, often alone with a native guide, to study the flora, geography and local people.
A trained botanist, Jacques Rousseau was soon interested in the relationship of man with nature, at a time when northern Quebec was poorly developed and where few scientists had done this type of exploration.
Forerunner of multidisciplinarity, Jacques Rousseau took travel photographs of natural landscapes and native customs that still reveal the curious eye of the scientist but also the respect for the lifestyle and aboriginal knowledge. Rightly, it is said that he is the father of ethnobotany in Quebec.
The Jacques Rousseau Collection (JBM 04) of the Montréal Botanical Garden library comprises 2,942 black and white photographs. Witnesses of their time, these archival records have so far been rarely shown. Albums of trips abroad and other objects, a short biography and some online publications complement this virtual exhibition.
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through Library and Archives Canada to digitize and describe the photographs.
We hope you enjoy this discovery.
The headings of the pictures were transcribed as they appear in the collection and are in their original French language.
The vocabulary, the names of plants and geographical locations correspond to their period.
The names of the people photographed are transcribed according to the information available.
- Jacques Rousseau Collection (JBM 04). See Archival Description
- All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited. Credits
The photos are presented by destination and year of travel.
To begin your visit, select one of the albums offered below or select a more complete menu item above.