Friday, December 6, 2013

The Search for New Sources of Vintage Pictures of the Holy Land

A photograph from the Emory collection published last month. We
enlarged the sign, but were unable to decipher all of the writing.
We are always on the lookout for libraries and archives digitizing their collections of photographs of the Holy Land from the 19th and early 20th centuries. In future weeks we hope to present vintage pictures from Ireland, Arizona, and California archives.

Why? Because the photos are valuable historical evidence of Jewish life in Eretz Yisrael 150 years ago, well before Theodore Herzl and the Zionist idea, years before the Holocaust and the State of Israel's establishment.

Moreover, as we research we often find pictures of better quality and with greater detail, such as these pictures of the money changer in the Old City.

The sign in the Emory collection
listing Rabbi Kook as the
rabbinic supervisor. To what?
The money changer?

The same picture -- not brown from age and without cropping. This photo will
appear in a future feature on a California university's collection. The full
sign in Hebrew and Yiddish shows an advertisement for cheese. Another
sign advertises a printing shop

The full sign advertises cheese
 products made in Chedera with
the supervision of Rabbi Kook of
Jaffa. The ad promotes" spoiled
butter and cheese," which, when
fried, was considered a delicacy

Click on pictures to enlarge.
Click on captions to view the original.

The differences
"Jerusalem - Road to the Station." The road starts at the Jaffa Gate
and passes over the Hinom Valley and Sultan's Pool  (Chatham 
University Archives, circa 1895)
between two pictures

We recently published incredible hand-colored slides from Chatham University.

The adjacent picture, although scratched and dark, is a beautiful landscape scene of the area between the Jerusalem train station and Jaffa Gate.

Below it is a slide of the same picture from the Library of Congress' mint collection of pictures from the Holy Land. The initials P.Z. on the bottom left of the picture indicates that it was produced by at the Photochrom and Photoglob company in Zurich in the mid-1890s. According to the Library of Congress, photochrom prints are "ink-based images produced through the direct photographic transfer of an original negative on litho and chromographic printing plates.

Road to Jerusalem station (Library of Congress collection)
Several hand-colored pictures have appeared in in the last two years. We will publish a feature on the Library of Congress' photochrome collection in the near future.

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