Fontainebleau

Part of the formal garden of the Château de Fontainebleau, with the Grand Canal barely visible in the distance, Ile-de-France, France, between 1914 and 1925. This is a glass lantern slide by Williams, Brown & Earle, Inc., via Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection, Smithsonian Institution (used here by permission).

The Archives holds over 60,000 photos and records documenting 6,300 historic and contemporary American gardens.  At its core are almost 3,000 hand-colored glass lantern and 35mm slides donated by the Garden Club of America, which is the source of this image.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Pompeii, Italy

Peristyle of the House of the Golden (or Gilded) Cupids, Pompeii, Italy, March 28, 1921, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

There are recent photos of the garden here and here and here. It has been restored to what is believed to be its Roman appearance, based on archaeological research, including taking root castings.

This autochrome is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 25 797 S) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Greenhills, Ohio

They might want to keep an eye on what’s going on behind them.

Swingset at Greenhills, Ohio, ca. 1938, probably by John Vachon for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Greenhills, Ohio, was one of three “Greenbelt Towns” built between 1935 and 1938 by the U.S. Resettlement Administration. (The other two are Greenbelt, Maryland, and Greendale, Wisconsin.) There are more Library of Congress photos of Greenhills here.

Lisbon, Portugal

Rossio (or Pedro IV) Square, Lisbon, Portugal, ca. mid 20th c., by Estúdio Mário Novais, via Art Library of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Commons on flickr (under CC license).

The Rossio has been an important central Lisbon square since the 14th century. Rossio roughly means “commons.” Its current appearance, however, was formed in the mid (paving) and late (fountains and column) 1800s.

The distinctive paving — calçada Portuguesa — is made up of small irregular cobblestones of white limestone and black basalt.  In 1842, the governor of São Jorge Castle, Eusebio Furtado, set prisoners to work laying an unusual zigzag pattern on its parade ground. The effect was so popular that in 1848 Furtado was asked to use the same sort of design (and prisoners) on the Rossio Square.  After that, “Portuguese pavement” spread across the city and country and ultimately out to the colonies of Brazil and Macau.

Although beautiful, it’s said to be extremely slippery when wet.

Ruston, Washington

“Children play in yard of Ruston home, while Tacoma smelter stack showers area with arsenic and lead residue,” August 1972, via The U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr.

The photo was taken by Gene Daniels for DOCUMERICA, an early photography program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is shown here with its original caption.

From 1972 to 1977, the EPA hired over 100 photographers to “document subjects of environmental concern.” They created an archive of about 20,000 images.

In addition to recording damage to the nation’s landscapes, the project captured “the era’s trends, fashions, problems, and achievements,” according to the Archives, which held an exhibit of the photos, “Searching for the Seventies,” in 2013.