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Guide to the American Colony Lantern Slides of Biblical Lands, 1910s-1940s

Summary

Collection consists of a set of sixty-six commercially produced, hand-colored lantern slides, featuring photographic images taken in the early 20th century in areas of modern-day Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The slides were sold in sets by the American Colony Stores, the commercial department of a missionary community based in Jerusalem. The landscapes and scenes were intended to illustrate biblical sites, or to remind the viewer of well-known biblical passages, but a few also depict archaeological sites of interest to tourists. Titles in the collection inventory are transcribed from handwritten titles on the slide mounts. The slides measure 4 x 3.5 inches and are contained in a paper mat and a glass cover, sealed on the borders with black tape; they are stamped with "American Colony Photographers" on the top of the frame and "Jerusalem, Palestine" on the bottom. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.10083
Title
American Colony lantern slides of biblical lands
Date
1910s-1940s
Creator
American Colony (Jerusalem). Photo Department
Extent
0.5 Linear Feet, 2 boxes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection consists of a set of sixty-six commercially produced, hand-colored lantern slides, featuring photographic images taken in the early 20th century in areas of modern-day Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The slides were sold in sets by the American Colony Stores, the commercial department of a missionary community based in Jerusalem. The landscapes and scenes were intended to illustrate biblical sites, or to remind the viewer of well-known biblical passages, but a few also depict archaeological sites of interest to tourists. The original title for one such set, represented by many of the slides in this collection, was "Lantern slides and art photos produced by the American Colony photographers illustrating Bible lands."

The slides measure 4 x 3.5 inches and are contained in a typical paper mat and a glass cover, sealed on the borders with black tape; they are stamped with "American Colony Photographers" on the top of the frame and "Jerusalem, Palestine" on the bottom. Titles in the collection inventory are transcribed from handwritten titles on the slide mounts.

Locations include but are not limited to: the city of Jaffa (Tel Aviv); Sea of Galilee; Jerusalem; Bethlehem; Mount of Temptation (identified with Mount Quarantania); Jericho; Jordan River; Mount Hermon; Bethsaida; Mount of Olives; Emmaus (El- Kubebeh); the mosaic floor at Beit Jibrin; River Abana (El-Barada); Tyre; and the Temple of Sethos. There are also two glass slides with maps of ancient Middle East and Palestine. Five of the slides are damaged and are filed at the end of the collection. The collection is accompanied by a lantern slide projector, and by 10 cardboard squares cut out from the original slide boxes, showing the title of the collection and lists of slide titles.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Slides are arranged in order of the original commercial negative number written on the slides.

Using These Materials

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Collection is open for research.

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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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], American Colony lantern slides of biblical lands, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Jaffa from the sea

Original negative number: 1

Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-001
Tower of David and Hippicus, 1940

Original negative number: 38

Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-002
Chamber of the Last Supper
(Original negative: 48)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-003
Ecce Homo Arch
(Original negative: 81)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-004
Mt. Tabor, from Nazareth
(Original negative: 119B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-005
Tiberias and Mt. Hermon
(Original negative: 129B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-006
Mt. of Olives from City Wall
(Original negative: 157)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-007
Interior - Garden of Gethsemane
(Original negative: 161)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-008
Jerusalem from Mt. Scopus
(Original negative: 173)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-009
Haifa and Bay from Mt. Carmel
(Original negative: 176B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-010
Emmaus (El-Kubebeh)
(Original negative: 185)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-011
Rachel's Tomb
(Original negative: 196)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-012
Church of Nativity
(Original negative: 204)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-013
Grotto of Nativity
(Original negative: 207)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-014
The Manger
(Original negative: 208)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-015
Shepherd's field and Bethlehem
(Original negative: 210)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-016
Sunrise - Galilee
(Original negative: 213)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-017
The Finest of Solomon's Pools
(Original negative: 215)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-018
Abraham's Oak
(Original negative: 226)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-019
Good Samaritan's Inn
(Original negative: 235)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-020
Elisha's Fountain
(Original negative: 242)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-021
Mt. of Temptation, Near View
(Original negative: 247)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-022
Modern Jericho from South
(Original negative: 250)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-023
River Jordan
(Original negative: 254)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-024
"Shepherds abiding in field"
(Original negative: 277B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-025
Ancient Sculptures and Inscriptions
(Original negative: 287A)

Rock carving and inscriptions on rock face, unknown location.

Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-026
Ruins of Ancient Jericho
(Original negative: 289)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-027
Sea of Galilee and Mt. Hermon
(Original negative: 289B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-028
Fishing Boats at Bethsaida
(Original negative: 290B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-029
Fishing Boats Setting Forth
(Original negative: 291B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-030
"Great Storm" on Lake
(Original negative: 292B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-031
Mending nets at Dawn
(Original negative: 293B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-032
Setting down Net for a Draught
(Original negative: 294B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-033
Drawing in Drag-net
(Original negative: 295B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-034
Isaac's Wells [?]
(Original negative: 296)

Image of shepherds and flock by a source of water coming out of a rocky well.

Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-035
Drag-net drawn in
(Original negative: 296B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-036
A great multitude of fishes
(Original negative: 297B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-037
"A fire of coals"
(Original negative: 298B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-038
Sunrise at Magdala
(Original negative: 300B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-039
Nablus (Shechem) and Mt. Gerizim
(Original negative: 313)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-040
Tomb of Beit Jibrin
(Original negative: 317B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-041
Mosaic floor of Beit Jibrin
(Original negative: 318B)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-042
Hill of Precipitation near Nazareth
(Original negative: 344)
Box 1
Image RL10083-LS-043
General View - Nazareth
(Original negative: 345)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-044
Home of Christ and Chapel
(Original negative: 347)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-045
Virgin's Fountain
(Original negative: 350)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-046
Cana of Galilee
(Original negative: 355)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-047
River Abana (El-Barada)
(Original negative: 401)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-048
Temple of Venus
(Original negative: 432)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-049
Temple of the Sun
(Original negative: 443)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-050
Old Castle at Sidon
(Original negative: 460)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-051
General View of Tyre
(Original negative: 461)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-052
Haifa and Mt. Carmel
(Original negative: 468)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-053
Columbarium at Beit Jibrin
(Original negative: 728)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-054
Details of Paintings in Tomb
(Original negative: 734)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-055
Colossal Statue of Rameses
(Original negative: 881)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-056
Temple of Sethos I
(Original negative: 886)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-057
The Forum
(Original negative: 1188)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-058
Temple of the Sun
(Original negative: 1191)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-059
[Map of Ancient Middle East]
(Original negative: None)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-060
[Map of Ancient Palestine]
(Original negative: None)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-061
Abraham's Occupation
(Broken glass, Original negative: 290B)

Shepherds leading their flock to a pool of water in the desert.

Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-062
Jerusalem
(Broken glass, Original negative: 298B)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-063
Sea of Galilee from Mt. of Beatitudes
(Broken glass, Original negative: 299B)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-064
Jacob's Well, Interior
(Broken glass, Original negative: 307)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-065
Triumphal Arch, Jerash
(Broken glass, Original negative: 372B)
Box 2
Image RL10083-LS-066
 

Historical Note

Based in Jerusalem, the American Colony was founded in 1881 as a utopian Christian community by emigrants from Chicago, United States. They were soon joined by Swedish Christians and other supporters. The community performed many charitable works in the city of Jerusalem and in surrounding areas. Soon the community included a cluster of commercial enterprises, the most successful of which was their photography department. Under the leadership of photographer Elijah Meyers, then Lewis Larsson and G. Eric Matson, the unit expanded and provided a steady income from the sale of souvenir images of the Palestine region, both prints and glass lantern slides. The unit was eventually renamed the Matson Photographic Service. The colony disbanded in the 1950s, but their main headquarters still remains as the American Colony Hotel.

[Source: Library of Congress web site: "The American Colony in Jerusalem."]

Related Material

A large collection of American Colony records, negatives, and other photographic materials is held by the Library of Congress.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The American Colony lantern slides of biblical lands collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by: Sara Reams, June 2014. Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, Levi Crews, September 2014.

Accessions described in this finding aid: 2013-0212.

Other Notes

These glass lantern slides are fragile and vulnerable to damage. Please handle by the edges and refrain from touching the image area.