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A detailed photo of an intricately carved wooden door flanked by ivory tusks by P. This photograph shows aerial views of a sparsely populated Mombasa harbor taken from the Imperial Airways flight taken by Eric Matson in 1936. The Carpenter Collection consists of photos produced or gathered by Frank Carpenter (1855-1924) and his daughter Frances (1890-1972) to complement his writings on travel and world geography.De Lord Brothers, Zanzibar, from the Carpenter Collection, illustrates the unique architecture of the elite homes on the island. Carpenter’s works helped to popularize the study of cultural anthropology and geography in the early 20th century.This style of photography was introduced in the 19th-century as a precursor of Polaroid photos, with two almost identical photographs placed on cardboard, side by side, thus viewed “in stereo.” Zanzibar.  Buildings that no longer exist, or have fallen into disrepair are captured in photos by Eric Matson, whose 1936 travels to Zanzibar and Mombasa document a history past. The resident photographers often took vanity photos including posed portraits of upper-class Zanzibaris, as well as scenes of everyday life such as Coutinho & Sons’ “Swahili Women” (ca.The images in the Library’s collection also include photos taken in local studios, such as those of Coutinho & Sons (also appearing under the name J. 1890-1923) depicting an African woman braiding another woman’s hair, both wearing classic wrappers.The Manuscript Division of the Library holds the papers of Eric and Edith Matson.
But for centuries, trade across the Indian Ocean has brought to Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast in East Africa merchants, travelers and immigrants from Europe, the Middle East and as far as India and China, and thus shaped these regions into one of the most culturally diverse places on earth.
Additional information about the photographers, the collection and how it came to the Library of Congress can be found here.
The Library of Congress also has in its General Collection holdings, two of the earliest English translations, from18, of “Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar: an Autobiography” by Emily Ruete, born Salme, Princess of Oman and Zanzibar (1844-1924).
The majority of these images of East Africa are in the Eric G. P&P Matson Photograph Supplementary Archive) In an unpublished typescript, provided by Arden Alexander of the Prints and Photographs Division, Eric Matson stated: “Another of the assignments I particularly enjoyed was a promotional photographic trip in 1936, to East Africa for the Imperial Airways (now BOAC). P&P Matson Photograph Collection, collection files). Eric Matson was not the only Westerner entranced by East Africa’s Swahili Coast.
and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, which has rare aerial photos of the Mombasa coastline, as well as candid photos of the streets, structures and people of Zanzibar and Mombasa. On this trip, I followed the Nile southward, through the Sudan, to its source in Uganda, to the Murchison Falls and the Victoria Nile, and then went on to Kenya, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar.” (“Half a Century of Photography in the Bible Lands,” Eric G. The Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection also includes images from the early 20th century, such as one of the iconic images of Omani Sultan Sayyid Ali bin Hamud on the throne of Zanzibar.