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Guide to the R. B. Holmes Photograph Collection, 1910-1926 and undated

Abstract

Commercial photographer active in Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan during first half of the 20th century. Collection of ninety-two 11.5 x 9.5" black-and-white photographic prints of Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. The images were taken by British photographer R. B. (Randolph Bezzant) Holmes and possibly others from his studio who traveled with him. Holmes was the owner of the R. B. Holmes & Co. photography studio in Peshawar, Pakistan. The majority of these detailed images were taken during the end of the Anglo-Afghan war in 1919 and depict large British military camps and vast landscapes, sometimes with camel caravans or military convoys. Some scenes show the remains of villages, military features such as towers, and religious structures. There are also portraits of individuals along with scenic views. Several of the images have been hand-tinted, probably by Holmes himself. Also contains a photograph album dated 1926 and containing 50 mounted platinum prints, with sizes ranging from 10.75"x4.5" to 10.75"x9.5". They include a few panoramic views and almost all are signed, numbered and captioned. The subjects of the photographs range widely, from Afghan War-period images of the Khyber Pass, Landi Khana, Ali Musjid, and the Kabul River; to pastoral scenes around Nowshera, street scenes in Peshawar city, and panoramic views of the Peshawar Valley, to views from India, including the Jhelum and Liddar valleys, Srinagar, lower Himals, Harabal waterfall, Shalimar, and various perspectives of the Taj Mahal in Agra.Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts.

Descriptive Summary

Title
R. B. Holmes photograph collection
Creator
Holmes, Randolph Bezant, 1888-1973
Extent
4.5 linear feet, 93 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection of ninety-two 11.5 x 9.5" black-and-white photographic prints of Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. The images were taken by British photographer R. B. (Randolph Bezzant) Holmes and possibly others from his studio who traveled with him. Holmes was the owner of the R. B. Holmes & Co. photography studio in Peshawar, Pakistan. The majority of these detailed images were taken during the end of the Anglo-Afghan war in 1919 and depict large British military camps and vast landscapes, sometimes with camel caravans or military convoys. Some scenes show the remains of villages, military features such as towers, and religious structures. There are portraits of individuals, including camel drivers, a sniper, a female spinner, a young woman dressed in traditional wear, and various groups. The landscape views include the Khyber Pass, Tanai Gorge, Kabul River, Khargali Ridge, Dal Lake, Nanga Parbat, and the Sikkim Himalaya. Military camp views, many in panoramic scale with fine detail, include Landi Khana, Dakka Plain, and Landi Kotal.

The majority of the prints contain an identification number originally marked on the negative, and the prints are arranged in numerical order accordingly. A list of the prints created from the studio's original list of commercially available prints, with captions and numbers when available, is in each of the boxes in the collection. There are a few images that do not appear on this list but have numbers assigned to them, and some are entirely unnumbered. Items not on the original list have been placed in the collection according to their subject matter. There are duplicate copies of several images. Also, some of the images have been hand-tinted, probably by Holmes himself.

Also contains a photograph album dated 1926 containing 50 mounted platinum prints, with sizes ranging from 10.75"x4.5" to 10.75"x9.5". They include a few panoramic views and almost all are signed, numbered and captioned. The album was presented by "Godwin" to his father, and includes his inscription. The subjects of the photographs range widely, from Afghan War-period images of the Khyber Pass, Landi Khana, Ali Musjid, and the Kabul River; to pastoral scenes around Nowshera, street scenes in Peshawar city, and panoramic views of the Peshawar Valley, to views from India, including the Jhelum and Liddar valleys, Srinagar, lower Himals, Harabal waterfall, Shalimar, and various perspectives of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

R. B. Holmes photographs, 1910-1919 and undated

4.0 boxes

Print numbers were assigned by the photographer; an original list of complete prints, with numbers, offered by the studio for commercial purposes is included in the box. There is also an annotated copy of this list that reflects the library's holdings.

Jamrud Fort and entrance to the Khyber Pass. (2 copies, one housed with Print 9)
Box 1
Print 1
Entering the Khyber Pass. Camel Convoy.
Box 1
Print 2
Ali Musjid Camp.
Box 1
Print 3
Exit of the Khyber into the Peshawar Plains. (2 copies, one housed with Print 35)
Box 1
Print 4
Looking North through the Gorge at Ali Musjid.
Box 1
Print 5
Looking South through the Gorge at Ali Musjid. (Two copies, one housed with Print 15)
Box 1
Print 6
Camp at Landi Kotal (left half of panorama).
Box 1
Print 7
Camp at Landi Kotal (right half of panorama).
Box 1
Print 7a
Looking towards the water works on the road to Landi Khanna.
Box 1
Print 9
On the road to Landi Khana looking towards Kbargali ridge.
Box 1
Print 11
Looking through the Tytler Gorge towards Landi Khanna.
Box 1
Print 15
Looking through the Tanai Gorge towards Landi Khanna.
Box 1
Print 16
Khargali Ridge and Bagh (left half of panorama).
Box 1
Print 18
From Kafirkote over looking the Khargali Ridge. The battle-ground of the 11th May 1919, Bagh Springs and village in the distance and remains of old Budhist Stupa on extreme left.
Box 1
Print 20
From Kafirkote towards Dakka. Kabul river in the distance and remains of old Grecian Fort wall on near hill.
Box 1
Print 21
Entering the Dakka Plain.
Box 1
Print 22
Untitled. Dakka camp, Kabul River?
Box 1
Print 25
Untitled. Dakka camp, Kabul River?
Box 1
Print 25a
Dakka camp, Kabul River.
Box 1
Print 26
Dakka camp showing Fort Robart and Kabul river.
Box 1
Print 27
Looking across the Kabul river, showing ferry.
Box 1
Print 31
After bombardment view of Loe Dakka and the main road showing deserted villages towards Landi Khana.
Box 1
Print 32
A view of villages in the Khyber.
Box 1
Print 35
Looking towards Jallalabad. Taken from a picquet during an engagement.
Box 1
Print 37
Tribal towers and villages.
Box 1
Print 51
A general view of Ali Musjid from the fort.
Box 1
Print 58
Landi Khana and tribal villages. (2 copies)
Box 1
Print 70
Khyber Pass near Landi Khana.
Box 1
Print 73
The end of the caravan crosses into Afghanistan from the Khyber.
Box 1
Print P.5
In the Hingis Tangi. (2 copies)
Box 1
Print 84
Looking across the Tank Zam towards Jandola.
Box 1
Print 85
Entering the Ahnai Tangi.
Box 1
Print 88
Looking through the Ahnai Tangi (near).
Box 1
Print 89
View from Piaza Raghza towards Pir Gul. (2 copies)
Box 1
Print 92
Jirga with Kaniguram in back ground.
Box 1
Print 98
Waziri caravan types.
Box 1
Print 114
The Waziri. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print 117
The Old Pathan.
Box 2
Print 122
A Pathan Woman.
Box 2
Print 124
Two Afghans.
Box 2
Print 126
Two Afghans with their camels.
Box 2
Print 127
The Sniper.
Box 2
Print 131
Afridi Man.
Box 2
Print 131a
Pathan woman spinning.
Box 2
Print 132
On the Dal Lake, Srinigar. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print 161
Looking from Zojila to Baltal, 1,500 feet below.
Box 2
Print 170
Camping ground at Panjitarni, one march before Amarnath.
Box 2
Print 174
By Tannin River and Mountain heights in mist.
Box 2
Print 180
Pastoral scene at Aro, Liddar Valley. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print 209
View near Rampore. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print 1062
Pahlgam.
Box 2
Print 1084
Gamp Forest, Phalgam.
Box 2
Print 1084a
The Liddars. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print 1089
Club and Nedou's Hotel, Gulmarg.
Box 2
Print 1106
Ploughing, the Kashmir homestead. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print unnumbered
Sind Valley, Kashmir. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print unnumbered
Dal Lake. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print unnumbered
Nanga Parbat 26, 660. The east aspect across the Astor River.
Box 2
Print unnumbered
Glacier Valley and campsite, Sonemarg, Kashmir. (hand tinted)
Box 2
Print unnumbered
Parachinar Bazar.
Box 3
Print 260
Deserted tribal fort near Guja Chinar in the Spin Tangi.
Box 3
Print 268
Kurram Militia Post.
Box 3
Print 269
A defile in the Kohat Pass. (hand tinted)
Box 3
Print 279
Looking down on Kala Bagh and Mari Indus.
Box 3
Print 300
Looking towards Khirgi from Manzai.
Box 3
Print 301
Village tower by Jandola. (2 copies)
Box 3
Print 303
Jandola Fort. (2 copies)
Box 3
Print 304
Jandola Camp.
Box 3
Print 305
In the Shahur Tangi.
Box 3
Print 306
Exit of the Shahur Tangi (distant).
Box 3
Print 307
Exit of the Shahur Tangi (near).
Box 3
Print 308
Character Study; Wana Waziris.
Box 3
Print 333
Kaur Bridge Fort.
Box 3
Print 385
Manzai.
Box 3
Print 386
Sararogha Camp.
Box 3
Print 392
Typical Mahsud and Waziri tribesmen.
Box 3
Print 431
Character study "The Mahsud." (hand tinted)
Box 3
Print 432
Bathing Ghats on the Ganges river-Benares (hand tinted)
Box 3
Print 902
The Khan of Dir welcomes the Viceroy with great pomp-the Panjkora river borders the valley with Hindu Kusk in the distance. (hand tinted)
Box 3
Print 1420
Return of Mohforce, Oct. 1935. New Road, Nahakki Pass. (hand tinted)
Box 3
Print unnumbered
In the Sikkim Himalaya, view towards Darjeeling. The pony track winds over the ridges.
Box 3
Print unnumbered
The Indus. Baltistan. The pony track runs along the river bank. (hand tinted)
Box 3
Print unnumbered
Untitled. Mountain and river scene.
Box 3
Print unnumbered
Open Road, Afghanistan, 1910.
Box 3
Print unnumbered

Photograph album, 1926

1.0 box

Photograph album dated 1926 containing 50 mounted platinum prints, with sizes ranging from 10.75"x4.5" to 10.75"x9.5". They include a few panoramic views and almost all are signed, numbered and captioned. The album was presented by "Godwin" to his father, and includes his inscription. The subjects of the photographs range widely, from Afghan War-period images of the Khyber Pass, Landi Khana, Ali Musjid, and the Kabul River; to pastoral scenes around Nowshera, street scenes in Peshawar city, and panoramic views of the Peshawar Valley, to views from India, including the Jhelum and Liddar valleys, Srinagar, lower Himals, Harabal waterfall, Shalimar, and various perspectives of the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Photograph album
Box 4

Historical Note

Randolph Bezzant Holmes was born in 1888. He was a commercial photographer who took over the business established by his father, William D. Homes, around 1899 in Peshawar, Pakistan. Holmes was an official photographer of the Afghan Wars on the North West Frontier in Afghanistan. He also spent time in Kashmir and in other Asian locales. Later in life he also painted watercolor landscapes from the same areas. In 1929 he published a memoir of his time in Afghanistan, Story of the North West Frontier Province, Peshawar, containing gelatin print plates of his landscapes. Holmes died in 1973.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • R. B. Holmes Collection (papers and photographs) (Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], R. B. Holmes photographs, 1910-1919 and undated, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The R. B. Holmes Afghan War Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2009-2011 and 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, December 2009

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, December 2009

Updated for additions by Alice Poffinberger, December 2010 and October 2011

Updated for addition by Alice Poffinberger, September 2014

Accessions 2009-0117, 2010-0181, 2010-0194, 2011-0121, 2011-0122, 2011-0212, and 2014-0131 are described in this finding aid.