Tea 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.
View 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.
Bill Cunningham’s (always) charming fashion video in today’s New York Times, about The Newport Vintage Dance Week — here — made me think of these Library of Congress photos of bygone garden parties.
President and Mrs. Coolidge at White House garden party, June 3, 1926, by National Photo Company.
Click on any thumbnail below to scroll through larger photos of a variety of garden and lawn parties.
The online National First Ladies Library describes Grace Coolidge as “bright, intelligent, witty, with a strong sense of humor.” Her Wikipedia entry says she was the most popular woman in Washington.
At the same party, Mrs. Coolidge with Prudence Prim, her white collie. The Coolidges had 4 cats, 7 birds, and 9 dogs.
Representative Edith N. Rogers and Carl Brunner at the same White House garden party (probably for disabled vets). Rep. Rogers looks quite chipper despite appearing to be in mourning for her husband, who died in 1925. The other lady (Mrs. Brunner?) is more serious and seems to have brought her bible (or phone book). All 3 photos by National Photo Company.
President Theodore Roosevelt hosted this lawn party about 1905. Photo by Underwood & Underwood.
About the same time, Alice Roosevelt attended this garden party in Japan, given by the U.S. Ambassador.
1911 lawn party on Governor’s Island, N.Y. The event was annually sponsored by the Army Relief Society, which raised money for regular army widows and orphans.
Florence Kimball and her escort being offered food at a 1908 Governor’s Island lawn party. Both G.I. photos by Bains News Service.
Garden party at the Hartsdale Train Station in the Bronx, Sept. 20, 1919. The event was “Floralia.” Photo by Bronx Parkway Commission.
“Floralia” covered 5 acres with exhibitions of flowers, vegetable, and garden sculpture.
A Fairbanks, Alaska, party c. 1918. Note the raised wooden sidewalk and the greenhouse attached to the house. Fairbanks had only been founded in 1901. Photo by National Photo Company.
A 1920 lawn fete for Near East Relief. Twin Oaks was a 30-acre estate in Cleveland Park in Washington, D.C., built in 1888 by the first President of the National Geographic Society and owned at the time of this photo by his daughter, Grace.
These girls were performing at the same fete. The house still exists and has been owned by the ROC (Taiwan) since 1947. Photo by National Photo Company.
At the same party, the Japanese flower booth. Photo by National Photo Company.
1925: The Countess Szechenyi and her daughter Sylvia appear in many LoC society event photos. The Countess was a Vanderbilt heiress, who married a Hungarian count, who was also Ambassador to the U.S. Sylvia also married a Hungarian count. She was the last member of the V. family to live at The Breakers at Newport, R.I. She died in 1998. I haven’t found the location of Mt. Alton. Photo by National Photo Company.
A tea party in “Plant Park”, which was an attraction of the Gilded Age Tampa Bay Hotel. The park and building still exist as part of the University of Tampa. There was a small zoo in the park, which may explain the posts (fence?) around the pond.
At the Mina House hotel in Cairo, Egypt, c. 1920s. Note the Great Pyramid in the upper right side.
A tea party for the Jerusalem YMCA after a tennis tournament, August 1939, by the American Colony of Jerusalem.
Garden party for the 60th Anniversary of the American Colony of Jerusalem, Sept. 25, 1941. The Colony had really disbanded by this time.
Sometimes a garden party can be for just two (or four). About 1900, photographer unknown.
The American Colony photographers took many pictures of the Garden of Gethsemane during the first half of the 20th century. Presumably, they were big sellers in the Colony’s tourist shop near Jaffa Gate.
‘Gethsemane’ is a Greek word derived from an Aramaic word for ‘oil-press.’ The Roman Catholic-administered garden is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives. It is one of four locations in the area currently claimed by different religions as the place where Jesus prayed the night before the crucifixion.
In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, it is called by a word meaning ‘place,’ ‘property,’ or ‘estate.’ In the gospel of John, the Greek word ‘kepos’ is used; it can mean ‘garden,’ but also ‘cultivated tract of land.’
The first recorded pilgrimage to the site was made in 333 A.D. by the anonymous “Pilgrim of Bordeaux,” who recorded his travels in the Holy Land in Itinerarium Burdigalense.
The building attached to the garden, the Church of All Nations, was built in the 1920s. The garden’s olive trees are said to be 2,000, 1,000, or 900 years old, depending on the source.
In 1915, a plague of locusts swept through Palestine, stripping areas — including the garden — of all vegetation. The American Colony was asked to photograph the devastation, which caused food shortages, by the Ottoman-Turkish governor for “Syria and Arabia.”