Having already established a reputation as a retailer of quality goods in Montréal, Henry Morgan & Company established its mail-order business around 1891. Through seasonal and speciality catalogues issued at least until 1910, the store offered discriminating shoppers the latest in staples and fancy dry goods as well as a variety of household furnishings and accessories.

Founded in Montréal in 1845, Henry Morgan & Company was a Canadian pioneer in department-store merchandising before it formally launched its mail-order business some time around 1891. That year, the store relocated to spacious new quarters on St. Catherine Street in what was then the city's "Golden Square Mile." The building's impressive appearance and elegant furnishings were designed to entice the patronage of the district's affluent shoppers, while employees in the fourth-floor workrooms attended to orders from out-of-town customers.

Morgan's prided itself on the high quality of its goods, for which customers willingly paid higher prices. In calling attention to the superior lines of merchandise in its catalogues, Morgan's did not want to alarm customers about high prices but wished to assure them that, even for the many inexpensive wares, "each article placed on sale is the best to be procured of its kind."

Following the example of other department stores, Morgan's issued two main catalogues each year, with its clothing lines and specialized goods organized seasonally for spring and summer and fall and winter. The catalogues provided itemized descriptions for the full range of the store's goods, indicating the price, available colours, sizes or other particulars as necessary, frequently supplemented by line drawings or, less often, photographs.
by Alan M. Stewart

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

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