Bowling, 1861


“Group of people bowling on a wooden lane erected in a yard,” July 4, 1861, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

I just found this photo. It was taken exactly one year before yesterday’s picture, probably by James Hunter,* who would host the 1862 picnic.

The Library’s online catalogue says that “Mrs. H. Bowling and Coleman Sellers, Jr.,” have been identified in this image, although it doesn’t say where they are — probably the woman bowling (Mrs. H., bowling†) and perhaps the boy in charge of setting up the pins.

The full stereograph. I do hope they removed the baby from the lane before she bowled.

“By the mid-1800s, the game of ninepins was so popular that wealthy families installed bowling lanes at their estates. . . , ” according to American Profile. “When some states outlawed ninepins [in the 1830s and 40s] because it encouraged gambling, the modern game of tenpins evolved to skirt the laws.” I’m not sure if there are nine pins in this picture or ten. What looks like one middle pin may be two pins lined up.

The image is part of the Charles F. Himes collection of stereographs by amateur photographers, primarily members of the Pennsylvania Photographic Society (1860-61) and the Amateur Photographic Exchange Club (1861-63).


*James Hunter may have been co-owner of the Print and Dye Works in Hestonville, Pennsylvania.

†H. for Hunter? Coleman Junior’s father was Coleman Sellers II, a prominent engineer and inventor from Philadelphia. — as well as an amateur photographer.

Bee allée

“Beekeepers Wallace Anderson and R.R. Talbert tending to tupelo honey beehives in Apalachicola, Florida,” May 6, 1948, via Florida Memory (State Library and Archives of Florida) Commons on flickr.

Another note on the Archive’s website says, “Typical scaffold, platform 14 to 16 feet high and 300 to 700 feet long on which colonies (hives) are placed.”

A lady’s paradise


“The property of Madame Douine, Cap Martin, France,” January 1923, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine (both photos).

If you watched The Paradise (2013) on either BBC America or Masterpiece and wondered what happened to Denise after the series ended . . . well, perhaps it was this.

The series was based on Au Bonheur des Dames (The Ladies’ Paradise) by Émile Zola. It is novel about a saleswoman in one of the grand Paris department stores — Denise — who eventually marries the store’s owner. Her story mirrored the real life of Cyprienne Dubernet, a saleswoman at Grand Magazins du Louvre who married the owner, Olympe Hériot, in 1887.*

Cyprienne in her garden.

In 1909, Cyprienne — now widowed and re-married to Roger Douine — decided to build a villa in Cap Martin on the French Riviera. Her architect designed a Neo-Byzantine house inspired by her travels to Naples, Smyrna, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Constantinople. She named it “Villa Cypris” in tribute to the Greek goddess of love and her own name. Italian painter Raffael Mainella designed the interiors and the garden, which included a stone bridge along the seafront, a cloister, a “Venetian Sanctuary,” a Mauritanian pergola, and sunken Dutch-style parterres with a canal/swimming pool.

You can see more pictures of the estate here, on its website (it seems to be for sale). There’s a video here

The autochromes above are two of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker, 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 (search “Madame Douine” to see more of Villa Cypris).


*It seems doubtful that Cyprienne (born just plain Anne Marie) was the direct inspiration for Denise, as the novel was published in 1883. She and Olympe had at least one (maybe two) of their four children before their marriage. Their oldest son, Auguste, was an inspiration for the main character of Colette’s novel Cheri. Cyprienne died in 1945.

words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photos (A 71 795 and A 38 390 X) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Western Front

wwi-british-trench-nationaal-archief-on-flickrOfficial photo of the recent English progress at the Western Front. A well hidden trench,” between 1914 and 1918, via Nationaal Archief (of the Netherlands) Commons on flickr.

It occurred to me that some, or a lot, of the wattle could have been woven by men who were gardeners before the war.

WWI trenches were not actually straight, but zigzagged to prevent enemy soldiers from firing down the axis. They were normally about 4 m. (12′) deep.

Fez, Morocco

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.