Life in gardens: Aoyama

Ecole d'Aoyama, enfants et balançoires, Tôkyô, Japon, été 1926, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Roger Dumas, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 55 945 XA very nice playground at a school in Aoyama, a neighborhood of Tokyo, summer 1926, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

This autochrome is one of about 72,000 that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker who was committed to the ideal of universal peace and believed that “knowledge of foreign cultures encourages respect and peaceful relations between nations.”* He was also acutely aware that the 20th century was going to bring rapid material change to the world.

Accordingly, from 1909 to 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.


*Collections Albert Kahn website. Also, the above photo (A 55 945 X) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.
†words of Albert Kahn, 1912.

Life in gardens: for the birds

birdhouse-competition-winners-washington-dc-library-of-congress
“Birdhouse Group,” 1922, by National Photo Company, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all pictures here).

I’m not certain, but I believe this happy group of young designers/builders were Washington, D.C., schoolchildren taking part in an annual “American Forestry Association National Bird House Contest.”

The Library of Congress  has a set of 1921 photos  labeled as such (and also as “bird house story”). You can scroll through them by clicking on any thumbnail in the gallery below.

Unfortunately, I could find almost no other information about the competition. Today, the American Forestry Association is known as American Forests. Their website does not mention the event.

The event must have continued until at least April 15, 1924, when Senator George W. Pepper made the presentation on the Capitol grounds.

Sen. Pepper, Birdhouse Contest, 1924, Library of Congress

Life in gardens: fall flower show

Fall flower show, via Library of Congress. . . at P.S. 15, Manhattan, New York City, ca. 1921, by Paul & Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This hand-colored glass lantern slide was used by Frances Benjamin Johnston in her garden lecture series.

The original black and white photo may have been taken for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Its online photo collection has several 1921 pictures of P.S. 15 and P.S. 62 children working in their “nature rooms.”