Category Archives: food

The winter garden: under the palms

Hotel dining room, Library of CongressHotel Seneca, Pompeian room, Rochester, N.Y.,” between 1908 and 1915, by Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

More winter gardens are here.

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Vintage landscape: harvest

A few beautiful Kodachrome images of the season. . .

Harvest, 1940s, Library of Congress“Exhibit of crops and vegetables at the Pie Town, New Mexico, Fair,” 1940, by Russell Lee.

The story of Pie Town and of the photos Lee took there is here, in Smithsonian Magazine.

Harvest, 1940s, Library of CongressMrs. Jim Norris canning vegetables, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940, by Russell Lee. (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

Harvest, 1940s, Library of Congress“Display of home-canned food,” between 1941 and 1945, photographer not noted.

All three images were taken for the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information on the then new Kodachrome color transparency film.  All via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Oh! for a thousand pumpkin seeds,
To plant for my son John;
He says that pumpkin pies are good
When the winter time comes on.

Robert Charles O’Hara Benjamin, from “The Farmer’s Soliloquy

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Life in gardens: tea in Egypt

Tea in Egypt 1, Matson Col., LoCTea time in the front garden of Mena House, an hotel in Cairo, Egypt. Taken between 1934 and 1939 by the Photo Department of the American Colony of Jerusalem, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (both photos).

I think that tea has come too late for the lady in the foreground, who seems to have nodded off.

Tea in Egypt 3, Matson Col., LoCView of a pyramid from the front porch, Mena House, Cairo, Egypt.

The hotel opened in 1890 and featured Egypt’s first swimming pool.  Famous guests have included British and Egyptian royalty, Winston Churchill, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Charlie Chaplin.

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Tuinhuis garden

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The tuinhuis or ‘garden house’ (shown in the fifth slide above)  is a small cafe on the grounds of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The surrounding garden was a very pretty place to rest after a long ramble around parts of the city center and the Museumplein, during a one-day travel stopover last week.

About half the area is composed of wide gravel paths around a simple boxwood parterre — which is filled with cottage annuals like variegated nasturtium and lime green flowering tobacco.

On the other side, white marble (I think) outlines the narrow planting beds.  Currently, you can see a free exhibition of Calder sculptures in the garden, as well.

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The Sunday porch: Venice patio

Venice hotel patio, Library of CongressProfessional photographers Gertrude Käsebier and Frances Benjamin Johnston eating together on a hotel patio in Venice, Italy, 1905, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

(Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Johnston — from Washington, D.C. — and Käsebier — from New York City — had traveled across the Atlantic at the invitation of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain.  On the same trip, they also visited France, Switzerland, and Italy.

The older and more successful Gertrude Käsebier had been born in a log cabin in Iowa in 1852.   After marrying* a successful businessman of aristocratic German origins and having three children,  she began to study photography at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  Within ten years, by the late 1890s, she had opened a studio on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

At the time of this photo, she was  “one of the best known photographers in the United States,” according to her Library of Congress biography. Her portraits of women and children were shown in major exhibitions and won her critical acclaim and financial independence.

Käsebier’s ability to discern the complexities of situations helped her achieve conflicting goals. She aimed to be associated with fine art and the upper classes but she enjoyed the relatively déclassé technical art of photography. She also wanted to earn a living, a desire that brought criticism from [Alfred] Stieglitz for sacrificing art to commerce, while society frowned on women participating in any kind of business. At a time when a salesman challenged women’s right to purchase high quality photographic equipment, Käsebier encouraged women to enter the professional world. For example, she befriended and supported Frances Benjamin Johnston, whose ambition and need to earn an income may have surpassed her own.

Kasebier worked until the mid-1920s, when she turned her studio over to her daughter, Hermine.

Johnston had a long career as well, ultimately specializing in architectural and garden photography.  She retired at age 81 in 1945.

*It was an unhappy marriage and inspired her to make this photo.

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