CdV, Cyprus

“The magic carpet,” ca. 1860s, via pellethepoet on flickr (under CC license).

The picture was a carte de visite (CdV or visiting card), a type of small photograph patented in Paris in 1854. Exchanging them among family and friends became extremely popular worldwide in the 1860s. Their use was displaced in the 1880s by the larger “cabinet cards”  (and later by the home snapshot). Pelle’s notes say this one was purchased from an eBay seller in Paralimni, Cyprus.

Long Island, New York

“Unidentified Garden in Long Island, New York,” 1930, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by an unknown photographer, via Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland Company Collection, Smithsonian Institution (used by permission).

Thoughts of summer. . . we woke up to snow this morning in Stuttgart.

The Archives of American Gardens holds over 60,000 photos and records documenting 6,300 historic and contemporary American gardens. Among them are over 3,100 black and white photographs and 445 glass lantern slides from the J. Horace McFarland Company, from the years 1900 to 1962. The firm printed nursery catalogs, horticultural books, and trade publications.

McFarland was an author and horticulturist, as well as a publisher. He also became an important proponent of environmental conservation and the City Beautiful movement.

Lens, France


Little house and garden of a coal minerLens, France, May 16, 1920, by Frédéric Gadmer, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine (all three photos).

The city of Lens, once home to the Lens Mining Company, was largely destroyed in World War I. The photo above shows post-war temporary workers’ housing.

Avion, just south of Lens, was similarly devastated. The photos above and below show new houses on Rue Pascal on June 14, 1921.

The front sides of the new houses on Rue Pascal.

Avion was un coron (a mining village) of the Liévin Company, which had 9,695 employees at the start of WWI.

You can see these homes today here.

These autochromes are three 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 photos (A 21 376, A 27 779, A 27 788) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Verneuil-le-Chétif, France


“Procession at the cemetery of Verneuil-le-Chétif” (Sarthe, Pays de la Loire), France, November 2, 1920, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

The image is labeled “2 novembre,” but I wonder if it was actually taken the day before, on All Saints’ Day, a day for visiting family graves and leaving chrysanthemums.

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 24 573 X) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.