||The S. Carsley Company was a 'departmental dry goods business,' or department store, operating in Montreal between 1871 and 1909. At the height of its success, the department store was considered among the largest of its kind in Canada. S. Carsley and Co. also published what was considered to be the first mail-order catalogue in Canada. S. Carsley Co. was founded by Samuel Carsley. Born in 1835 in Shropshire, England, Carsley was apprenticed to the dry goods trade as a young man, working in Liverpool, Manchester, and London before immigrating to Canada in 1857. After a year spent in Montreal, Carsley moved to Kingston, Ontario, where he opened his own dry goods business in 1862 before returning to Montreal in 1870 to establish the firm of S. Carsley. The store initially opened on the north side of Notre Dame Street, however, the growing business demanded several expansions in the 1890s and early 1900s, resulting in a building that eventually occupied nearly the whole frontage of Notre Dame Street between Saint-Jean and Saint-Pierre, with an extension through to Saint-Jacques street. Carsley claimed that his store pioneered catalogue retailing in Canada, issuing its first catalogue in 1882, two years before the T. Eaton Company of Toronto. According to the 1885 catalogue, Carsley's was an 'importer of European and Eastern carpets, iron, brass, and composite bedsteads, and all house furnishing draperies ; manufacturer of superior bedding, English, French, and German mattresses.' However, the existence of the bookseller's ticket in the Thomas Murray Collection indicates that the company sold additional items, including books. By 1894, hundreds of mail orders were being processed daily and shipped prepaid to any railroad station within a radius of nearly 1000 kilometres. Around 1902, Carsley, turned over the management of S. Carsley Co. to his sons, but remained a director of the company. In addition to his retail business, Carsley was vice president of the Provincial Bank of Canada and a director of the Dominion Textile Company. He was one of the promoters and afterward a director of the Lachine Rapids, Hydraulic & Land Company, which was afterwards taken over by the Montreal Light, Heat & Power Company. He was president of the Central Light, Heat & Power Co., president of the Missisquoi Marble Quarries, president of the Royal Marine Insurance Co., life governor of Montreal General Hospital and Western Hospital, president of the Montreal Society for the Protection of Women and Children, and a member of the Board of Trade. Carsley died on November 20, 1908, at the age of 72 after falling from his carriage as the result of a driving accident. In 1909, S. Carsley Co. moved to premises previously occupied Scroggie's department store on St. Catherine Street between University and Victoria. However, within five months of opening its new location, Carsley's sold its business to A. E. Rea & Company, which later became Goodwin's Limited.
1) Canadian Museum of Civilization. (2004-2009). Before E-commerce: A History of Canadian Mail-order Catalogues: Company Histories: Montreal's St. Catherine Street Shopping District. Retrieved February 19, 2013, http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat2411e.shtml#010 (1908, November 21).
2) Death of Samuel Carsley. The Daily Colonist, p. 1. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://www.britishcolonist.ca/tc/1908/11/21/19081121001.pdf
3) The Internet Archive. (n.d.). An Encyclopedia of Canadian biography. Containing brief sketches and steel engravings of Canada's prominent men (July 1904). Retrieved February 19, 2013, http://archive.org/details/encyclopediaofca01montuoft
4) The Internet Archive. (n.d.). A history of Québec, its resources and people (1908). Retrieved February 19, 2013, http://archive.org/stream/historyofQuébeci02sultuoft/historyofQuébeci02sultuoft_djvu.txt
5) The Internet Archive. (n.d.). The perusal of the following pages will be esteemed a favour by S. Carsley [microform] : importer of European and Eastern carpets, iron, brass, and composite bedsteads, and all house furnishing draperies; manufacturer of superior bedding, English, French, and German mattresses; all made on the premisses (1885). Retrieved February 19, 2013, http://archive.org/details/cihm_06555 (1908, November 21).
6) S. Carsley, Sr., Dead. The Montreal Gazette, p. 4. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=Fr8DH2VBP9sC&dat=19081121&printsec=frontpage&hl=en