The Sunday porch: Valdres, Norway

tonsasen-sanatorium-porch-ca-1890-by-carl-curman-valdres-norway-swedish-heritage-boardWomen on a veranda at Tonsåsen Sanatorium (the woman on the left is wearing a traditional costume similar to the one in this photo), Valdres, Norway, ca. 1890, by Carl Curman, via Swedish National Heritage Board Commons on flickr (all three photos).

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Tonsåsen Sanatorium was established for the treatment of tuberculosis in 1881 — the same year that the bacillus causing the disease* was identified by Robert Koch. Like similar facilities, just about the only treatment it could offer was a combination of nutritious food, rest, and plenty of fresh air. However, it also had thermal baths, and the photographer, Carl Curman, was a physician, specializing in the science of health baths (balneology).

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Even at the better sanatoriums, fifty percent of patients were dying within five years in 1916. It was only after the development of antibiotics after World War II that it was possible to treat and cure TB reliably. Tonsåsen closed in the 1960s.


*TB was proven to be communicable in 1869.

Life in gardens: when the prince has no porch

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. . . a rather awkward arrangement.

“Society at dining table. Frederick I of Baden sits in the middle,” location unknown, ca. 1890 – 1907, by Queen Victoria of Sweden, via Tekniska museet (Sweden) on flickr, under CC license.

Victoria (or Viktoria) of Baden — Queen of Sweden after 1907 — was the daughter of Frederick I. She married Crown Prince Gustaf in 1881, and they had three children, but it was not a happy marriage. From 1882, she spent almost every winter in Egypt and Italy, mostly in Capri. She was a good amateur photographer, as well as a painter and sculptor.

The Sunday porch: sewing circle

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“House Verandah. Mother, Winifred, Helen & Mrs Kingsmill,” Deseronto, Ontario, July 1908, via Harold McMurrich Rathbun’s Negatives album, Deseronto Archives Commons on flickr.

The Rathbuns were a prominent family in Deseronto.  About the time of this photo, The Rathbun Company owned a local shipyard and saw mill and a number of other businesses. At least two of its men had served as mayor around the turn of the 20th century. However, markets changed, woods stock were depleted, and fires destroyed their docks and other property. “[The] core timber and minerals resource businesses were dead by 1916 . . . . The company surrendered its charter in 1923,” according to Wikipedia.

Vintage landscape: Fez

Jardin de Dar Beïda dans le palais de Bou Jloud, Fès, Maroc, janvier 1913, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Stéphane Passet, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 879
“Dar Beïda [white house] garden in the Bou Jeloud Palace, Fez, Morocco,” January 1913, by Stéphane Passet, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Départment of Hauts-de-Seine.

I believe the image above was taken in what is now called the Jnane Sbil Garden — created as a royal garden in the 18th century and open to the public since the 19th. It was restored between 2006 and 2011.

This autochrome is one of about 72,000 that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to 50 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 879) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.