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In 1924 Mrs. Howard Bliss presented to the Library of the University a collection of photographs on the Middle East mainly, with a few on Europe. She named it "E.W. Blatchford Collection" after her father's name Eliphalet Wickes Blatchford (for details see following page on Donors of Collection) who, with her mother, had collected these photographs during their travels. They were probably bought as souvenirs or as our present postcards in remembrance of countries and places visited.

It is an interesting and important collection covering the period between ca.1880 to 1900 and depicts various aspects of the countries portrayed. We find in it landscapes, mountains, lakes, rivers, agricultural items and geography of places; as well as historical monuments , archeological sites, buildings and architectural details. Also present are regions, cities, towns, villages, streets and houses; as well as scenes of daily life and age old skills, for example, sellers, merchants, water carriers, and scenes of economic production such as wheat, sugar canes, pottery, etc. There are also photographs of many populations, various people and different ethnic groups. Pictures were taken mostly outdoors or inside buildings and houses but there is a number of them shot in studios.

This Guide

This Guide is divided into three parts: a "Summary of List" to give a bird's eye view of the arrangement of the collection and its topics; the "List" itself which is a listing of each photograph, its number, description, location or subject, photographer, and the number of the photograph in his catalog; and finally a detailed index of 1494 entries with various possible access points to each item.

Arrangement and contents of collection

The collection (eight hundred and one photographs) is arranged by countries listed according to Dewey Decimal Classification. They are subdivided by cities, towns, sites; then people, activities and other subjects. There are 52 photographs on Europe (France, Italy, Malta, Spain, Belgium, Greece), 1 on Mecca, 83 on Turkey, 1 on Cyprus, 32 on Syria, 87 on Lebanon (note that Syria and Lebanon were one entity at the time the pictures were taken, but are separate in List for ease of consultation), 214 on Palestine (including 141 on Jerusalem), 7 on Jordan, 315 on Egypt and 14 on Tangiers. Three photographs have duplicate numbers (6, 39, 168).

Description and classification of photographs

The title of each photograph is transcribed as it appears on it. When no title is provided, the explanatory caption found on the mount is listed, preceded by the phrase "On mount". When there is none, or it is inaccurate, or clarification and identification are needed, a new description was added by the author. All captions not taken from the photograph itself are placed within square brackets.

The classification or numbering of photographs is made of two parts: the number of the collection itself which appears at the top of each page is "Ph:1". It is followed by the listed sequential number 1, 2, 3. Complete numbers will read thus - Ph:1/7 , Ph:1/15 , Ph:1/712 ... Numbers followed by "s" indicate photographs of smaller size than the standard; and by "l", photographs of larger size (4l, 39l, 341l).

Physical description of photographs

This is a collection of albumen prints. They vary in size. The standard measurements are approximately 23 x 28 cms. mounted on 28 x 35.5 cms. cardboards; a few with smaller sizes and only three are larger. There is one oversize triptych of Jerusalem panorama (Ph:1/293) by Dumas. The majority of pictures are sepia , four are colored (309, 429, 454, 525) and only one (105s) is in blue tints.

Photographers represented in this collection

Many of the important photographers of the late 19th century in the Middle East have their work represented in this collection which includes four hundred and forty six signed photographs by twenty photographers. They include important names such as Bonfils, Dumas, Sarrafian and relatively less known ones such as Dupré and Amodio. Their work in this collection range from one photograph (Melkonian) to one hundred and seventy nine photographs (Bonfils). Some of them are morespecialized in specific areas than others, such as Beato, Zangaki and Sebah in Egypt.

A complete list of their names is found in the index under "Photographers in the Blatchford's Collection", and a detailed index of their work under their individual names.

Collection at Jafet Library. E-mail: specialcollections@aub.edu.lb

Created by the Digital Documentation Center at AUB in collaboration with Al Mashriq of Høgskolen i Østfold, Norway.