In 1895, an amendment to Canadian law allowed the British Museum to receive one copy of all Canadian intellectual property deposted for copyright registration. This situation persisted until 1924, when – as part of a general reworking of Canadian copyright law – the right of receipt was removed.
During these thirty years, the Department of Agriculture – who administered copyright – regularly parcelled up half their deposits and sent them to London. As well as books, maps and sheet music, the collection included a copy of every photograph copyrighted in Canada in this period. These are now held by the British Library and, despite some of the works being lost in their original transit or added to other collections, they represent a significant collection of early 20th century Canadian photography.
These adorable vintage photographs come from a 1902 photo series “The Globe Kittens.” There were probably thousands of cat photos like this from the era, but very few have survived to this day, mostly because they weren’t seen to be worthy of the historical record. As British Library curator Philip Hatfield noted in a post, “we don’t yet know anything about the ‘Globe Kittens’ but it seems a reasonable bet that not many serious photographic curators would have bought and preserved prints of them.”