Nineteenth Century International Photographs

The Nineteenth Century International Photographs collection contains 195 images, primarily of landscapes and cityscapes taken by professional photographers at sites around the world between circa 1870 and 1900. A very few interior, portrait, and still life views round out the collection.


Although the collector of this group of photographs is unidentified, many American and European architects in the 19th-century typically gathered images of important classical and "exotic" sites as souvenirs of travels and for design inspiration. Dozens of the sites in this collection, especially those in Paris, Istanbul, Cairo, and Japan, were particularly popular, and many of these images were issued by the photographers and their publishers in specially marketed series.

Photographers represented include Félix Bonfils, Kimbei Kusakabe, LaRoche Photo, Achille Mauri, Scowen & Co., J. Pascal Sébah, Sébah & Joaillier, and Giorgio Sommer. Only those images from Hawaii appear to have been made by an amateur photographer.

Locations documented in the collection are Ceylon, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, and the United States (Alaska and Hawaii).

With a very few exceptions, images are large-format albumen photographs, mounted on boards. The prints from Japan are also hand-tinted.

japan Kimbei Kusukabe, attrib. photographer. Asakusa Temple, Tokyo, Japan. circa 1890-1900.