Jerusalem Album: Vintage Photographs 1860-1905 - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Jerusalem Album: Vintage Photographs 1860-1905

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Monday, March 3, 1997

On display at the New York Learning Center, March 16 - June 30-20

Jerusalem Album: Vintage Photographs 1860-1905, a collection of rare photographs featuring views of the holy sites and people of Jerusalem, will be on display at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 1 West 4th Street, New York, from March 16-June 30.

Curated by Judith Schulzinger Lucas of Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum - Cincinnati Branch, the exhibition features panoramas of the city, including people, street scenes, and views of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim historic monuments. The 80 photographs were chosen from the collection of 250 images given to the College-Institute by Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Peerless. The exhibition also displays rare books on loan from the Klau Library, HUC-JIR-Cincinnati and New York, including Roberts's Sketches in the Holy Land numerous guidebooks, illustrated memoirs written by tourists of the period, and early geographical and archaeological studies published under the auspices of the various exploration societies of that era. A stereopticon with popular tourist postcards will also be on display.

Jerusalem is of vital importance to the history of photography. According to Curator Judith Lucas, early missionaries used photographs to encourage travelers to visit the Holy Land. Many photographs captured individuals who represented Jerusalem as a center of holiness, particularly pilgrims who flocked to the city to visit and worship at shrines. By 1910, inexpensive postcards became the medium of advertising to travelers to come and visit the historic Holy Land.

One of the best known photographers working in the Near East, Francis Frith, photographed Jerusalem in 1858 for the British Exploration Society. In the 1860s, Tancrede R. Dumas and Peter Bergheim established studios. In 1868, the Bonfils Family of Beirut opened a resident commercial photography studio, producing souvenir photographs for tourists. In 1898, The American Colony group of photographers was initially established to meet the demand for photographic mementos of the state visit of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. Members of the Colony, a community of about 100 people founded in 1881, initiated the American Colony photo department with the assistance of Elijah Meyers, an early Jewish colonist from India.

Exhibition Hours and Information:

Monday-Thursday, 9 am - 6 pmSundays, March 16, April 6, 13, and 27, May 1, June 1 and 8, 10 am - 2 pm. 
Admission is free.
An exhibition catalogue 
including duotone images and essays by Dr. Ezra Spicehandler, HUC-JIR; Professor Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Carole Rosen; and Judy Lucas will be available for purchase.

For slides and/or photographs from the exhibition, call Jean Bloch Rosensaft at (212) 824-2209.


This exhibition has been organized by the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum -- Cincinnati Branch.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.