The Sunday porch: Belgrade

The front porch of an inn* on the Avala road, Belgrade area, Serbia, April 1913, by
Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine (all three images here).

Two young girls in traditional dress.

These autochromes are three of about seventy-two thousand 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 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.

Showing the backs of the skirts and vests.

*On the first image above it is called an auberge (inn), on the others, it is called a maison (house).
†Collections Albert Kahn website. Also, the above photos (A 1 798, A 1 800, A 69 405 X) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.
††Words of Albert Kahn, 1912.

Poppies, Sweden


A young woman and two little girls in front of a row of double poppies, Gagnef, Sweden, August 1910, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine (both photos).

Another woman and her two daughters in Gagnef. What are those pink flowers next to them?

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.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photos (A 436 and A 425) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

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.