Beauvais, France

Wreaths laid in remembrance of World War I dead by the British army and navy, Beauvais, France, October 7, 1930, by Stéphane Passet, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

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 64 781) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Botany class

“A class in flowers, 6th Division,” ca. 1899, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Before she began the work she is probably best known for, that of photographing old houses and gardens, Johnston was a photojournalist and a portraitist. In 1899, she became interested in progressive education and made a photo survey of students at public schools in Washington, D.C.

The flower seller, Chartres


Le marché aux fleurs, Chartres, France, August 19, 1922, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

One of my favorite blogs, It’s About Time by garden historian Barbara Wells Sarudy, is currently posting a series on paintings of flower sellers by American artists. Check it out here.

The autochrome above is one 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.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photos (A 33804 S) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.