The collection consists of photographs collected by the Albertype Company for their postcards and viewbooks, including portraits, scenery, camps, Native Americans schools, and some paintings and composites for postcard printing. Additional subjects include rock drawings in Maine; a statue in Kansas City, Missouri; Standing Rock Monument in North Dakota; people in Atlin, British Columbia; Carib rock drawings in the Virgin Islands; and totem poles in Vancouver.
Included are works of Charles Milton Bell, E. A. Benson, C. R. Bourne, H. E. Brown, William Bull, H. H. Clarke, George B. Cornish, Frank Bennett Fiske, H. Lee Flood, N. W. Halsey, Fred Harvey, H. R. Hazeltine, Kiser Photograph Company, W. H. Martin, C. W. Mathers, Frank Matsura, W. H. Matthewson, Charles E. Morris, Ernest Moses, J. S. Myers, M. OʹConnor, G. W. Parsons, Roland W. Reed, C. B. Robinson , J. E. Stimson, W. M. Stoltz, and H. H. Watkins. Clarke and Fiske, however, are the only photographers with more than a few images.
The Albertype Company, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, published viewbooks and postcards for national distribution. Founded by Adolph and Herman Witteman, the company began publishing souvenier photographic albums as early as 1867. The Wittemans established Witteman Brothers in 1885, and then the Albertype Company in 1890. From 1890 to 1950, the firm published collotypes made from the photographs of its agents (including Adolph Witteman), other companies, and independent photographers. The firm was purchased in 1952 by Art Vue Post Card Company.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 25
Modern copy negatives and prints made by Smithsonian Institution, circa 1972.
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The Library of Congress, Wisconsin Historical Society, and Historical Society of Pennsylvania also hold original Albertype Company prints and negatives.
Albertype Company views are also held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 88-37, Photo Lot 92-37, and Photo Lot 92-3.
Original nitrate negatives are in cold storage and require advanced notice for viewing. Modern copy prints and copy negatives for nearly all images are available.
80,000 Photographic prints (b&w, 25 x 20 cm. or smaller.)
Congo (Democratic Republic)
Central African Republic
This collection is comprised of photographic and manuscript materials, primarily created by Eliot Elisofon to document his travels and work. The images portray many aspects of African life and culture including agriculture, wildlife, archaeology, architecture, art and artisans, children, cityscapes and landscapes, leaders, markets, medicine, recreation, ritual and celebration, and transportation. The manuscript materials include correspondence, essays, clippings, puobligations, notes, research, and itineraries.
Scope and Contents:
This collection is comprised of circa 14,000 negatives, 30, 0000 slides, 8,000 photographic prints, and 14 boxes of manuscript materials that date from circa 1945-1978.
The photographs document Eliot Elisofon's travels and work in Africa. The images portray many aspects of African life and culture including agriculture, wildlife, archaeology, architecture, art and artisans, children, cityscapes and landscapes, leaders, markets, medicine, recreation, ritual and celebration, and transportation. Artisans shown include an Asante weaver making kente cloth in Ghana; a Dogon carver in Mali making a kanaga mask; an Ebrie goldsmith in Cote d'Ivoire; Hausa dyers in Kano, Nigeria; and Nupe beadmakers in Nigeria; as well as artists at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa, Congo. Portraits of leaders include the Asante court at Kumase in Ghana; Ebrie chiefs and notables in Cote d'Ivoire; the timi (king) of Ede, a Yourba town, Nigeria; the emir of Katsina, Nigeria; and the Kuba king and his court in the Congo. There are informal portraits showing children of the Kuba royal court dancing, Fulbe women with gold earrings in Mali, Mangbetu women in the Congo, and Maasai elders in Kenya. Masked dances documented include a Dogon dama festival celebration in Mali, an Igbo festival in Nigeria, and Kuba and Pende masked dancers in the Congo. There are also images of Yoruba gelede (men's association) masks in Nigeria. Non-masked dancers shown include Dan professional acrobatic dancers in Cote d'Ivoire, Irigwe dancers in Nigeria, Mangbetu dancers in the Congo, Mbuti dancers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Wodaabe men dancing in Nigeria. Events shown include Hausa riders in chain mail during the Independence Day celebration in Katsina, Nigeria. Images of art in situ include ancestral altars in the King of Benin's palace in Nigeria; Dogon rock paintings in Mali; and Yoruba Shango shrine sculptures in the palace courtyard of timi (king) of Ede in Nigeria. Landscapes include views of mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Animals shown include birds, buffalos, elephants and giraffes. Traditional architecture shown includes Asante shrine houses with raised wall decorations in Ghana, Dogon villages in Mali and mosques in Mopti.
The manuscript materials include correspondence, essays, clippings, puobligations, notes, research, and itineraries.
A photographer best known for his work in Life magazine. Elisofon worked as a free-lance magazine photographer from 1933 to 1937, as a staff photographer for Life from 1933 to 1937 and on photographic assignments for various magazines, including the Smithsonian magazine, from 1942 to 1945. Elisofon traveled extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America documenting the peoples of these lands as well as their arts and environments. A founding member and curatorial associate of the private Museum of African Art, which in 1981 became the National Museum of African Art (NMAfA), Elisofon bequeathed his collection of African photographs to the museum when he died in 1973. To honor Elisofon's contribution to the understanding of African art and culture, NMAfA named its archives after him.
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Photographs by Captain Alfred Friendly depicting rock paintings, people, cities, Kariba Dam, and scenery in Africa. Friendly made the photographs in Nairobi National Park, Nyeri, Kenya; Uganda; Lake Albert; Lake Kivu; Lake McIlwaine (now Lake Chivero); Nswatugi Cave and Silozwane Cave in Matopos National Park, Zimbabwe; Cape Town and Johannesburg, Brotherton, Mushroom Hill, Sigubudu, and Olivier's Hoek, South Africa; Guinea; Dakar, Senegal; Lagos, Nigeria; Djenne, Mali; Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Some photographs may have been used in Alfred Friendly's illustrated lecture on "Bushman Paintings" at the Freer Gallery of Art in 1961.
Captain Alfred Friendly (1911-1983) graduated from Amherst College in 1933 and began work for the US Department of Commerce. From 1935 to 1936, he traveled around the United States with his friend Chalmers M. Roberts, which he described in a book entitled "The Trek: or, Adventures in Depression America." Friendly was hired as a reporter for the Washington Daily News (later the Washington Post) until World War II, when he served in the Military Intelligence Service. He helped to transform The Washington Post into a national publication while serving as its managing editor (1955-1965). From his retirement as managing editor until 1971, Friendly worked as a roving reporter for the Post and won a Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his coverage of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 99-39
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The Amherst College Archives and Special Collections holds the Alfred Friendly (AC 1933) Papers.