Ca. 1911-1919. Two Oblong Folio albums (ca. 31x42 cm). 50 and 23 stock leaves. Ca. 680 gelatin silver photographs (including twenty-one loosely inserted), some printed as real photo postcards. The album houses thirteen large photos from 20x27,5 cm (8x11 in) to ca. 18x24 cm (7 x 9 ¼ in), and one panoramic photo ca. 8,5x28 cm (3 ½ x 11 cm); the rest of the photos are from ca. 16,5x17 cm (6 ½ x 6 ¾ in) to ca. 5,5x8 cm (2x3 in) with the majority ca. 8x11 cm (3 x 4 ¼ in). Over half of the photos with period pencil captions in French on the mounts. The second album with a mounted envelope ca. 9,5x12 cm (3 ¾ x 4 ¾ in), inscribed “Commandant et Madame Bernard.”. Period green cloth hardcover albums. The first album weak on hinges, the front cover with cracked hinge, a few images mildly faded, one of the mounts with a tear at the stub connection, but overall a very good album of historically interesting strong images.
A historically important extensive collection of well-executed photos, documenting the French invasion of Morocco in 1911-1912 and the movement of the Fez Column under command of General Charles Émile Moinier (1855-1919), with interesting photos of military reviews and processions featuring Sultan Mulai Abdelhafid of Morocco (1875-1937), and numerous views of Fez, Meknes, Rabat, Mogador (Essaouira) and smaller towns and villages, as well as lively portraits of Moroccan people. The album’s compiler was Maurice Bernard, an officer of the Fez Column, who served in the first “Bureau des Renseignements” in Fez – the institution that governed the Moroccan population or in Bernard’s words, “le premier bureau arabe de Fes.” The albums feature several portraits of Bernard, one of which is captioned “moi,” and the second album has a mounted envelope inscribed “Commandant et Madame Bernard.” After Fez, Bernard served in the “Bureaus des Renseignements” in Meknes and Mogador. After his return to France, Bernard published “Les tribus de la zone Nord et Nord-Ouest du Maroc” (Paris: Comité de l’Afrique Francaise, 1926) and co-authored “La Pacification du Maroc, 1907-1934» (with Henri Simon and Lacques Ladreit de Lacharrière; Paris: Comité de l’Afrique Francaise, 1936).
The first album opens with photos of the French troops and horses of the Fez Column travelling up the Bou Regreg and Oued Beth Rivers from Rabat. Among the interesting photos illustrating the military campaign are the views of French military camps near the towns of Moulay Idris Zerhoun (showing Bernard’s tent and horse) and Sefrou, series of photos depicting the surrender of Moulay Idris Zerhoun and Sefrou with Moroccan chiefs and French officers (the latter one showing a Tarquiba bull to be sacrificed as a sign of submission), photos of French cavalry and infantry, military reviews (“defilé de la cavalerie,” “defilé d’artillerie”), scenes with commanding officers – with many names captioned (General Charles Émile Moinier, General Henri Gouraud (1867-1946), General Dalbiez, Col. Brulard, Col. Tessou, Col. de Lamothe, officer Verlet, Bourdin with his officers and spahis, and many others), artillery in Meknes. Over thirty photos show a military procession at the walls of Fez, with Sultan Mulai Abdelhafid of Morocco (1875-1937), his suite and guards, Moroccan chiefs and French troops, and a European woman in Moroccan outfit watching the proceedings (“Me. Murat et sou chien”). There are also over a dozen photos of Bernard and other officers on the grounds of the Bureaus des Renseignements in Fez, with most names captioned (Bourdin, “Lt. du Genie”, “Cne. Marcel mon adjoint,” “Caid Driss, chaouch du bureau,” and others).
The album includes numerous views of Fez, showing the city from the distance (including a very attractive general panorama), several city gates (including Bab Guessa gate), Al-Karaouine mosque, Sultan’s palace, Madrasa Bou Inania, Madrasa Saffarin, Bou Jeloud gardens, mills, bridges, terraces, bastions, a ruined street in the Fez mellah (Jewish quarter) “after the massacres in April 1912” (the Fez riots on 17 April 1912), open-air pottery workshops (three large photos), etc., there are also lively portraits of the locals, (including beggars), French officials photographed in front of the “musée de Fes,” etc. The photos of Meknes show its distant panoramas, and closer views of the streets, gates (including Bab Mansour), arsenal and cannons, the souk, the inner court of “bureau arabe à Meknes” and its officers (with names captioned); there are interesting portraits of the locals (market sellers, a guerrab or water seller, a woman with a baby, a black servant woman, a man with a trained monkey, etc.) Other photos show Beni Ammar (general view, the minaret of the mosque after the bombardment by the Fez column), Sefrou (general and street views, the house of Caid Omar, Oued Sefrou, the mills, slaughterhouse), Moulay Idris Zerhoun (general and street views, city gates, the grand court of the mosque), ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis (before the large-scale excavations), Rabat (Bou Regreg river, Hassan Tower, cannons of the coastal fort, market, main street, city gates, water fountain, passers-by), etc. Over thirty photos show a public celebration at Moulay Idris Zerhoun in July 1915 (crowds of Moroccan spectators, Moroccan cavalry with flags, groups of women and men clapping and playing tambourins, a group of French commanders and Moroccan chiefs); there are also several views of the traditional celebration of “Sultan al tolba.” At the end of the album there are twelve excellent large photos, showing Moroccan markets, street views, water pools, architectural details and people.
The second album generally illustrates Bernard’s service after 1911 when he served in the Bureau des Renseignements in Mogador (Essaouira). The photos show the Bureau (“le patio du bureau,” “coin du Salon du Bureau de Mogador”), and Mogador (the beach, Portugues fortress, streets, markets, portraits of fishermen, market and street sellers, beggars, women and children, people in “Fondouq” or caravanserai, Bernard’s servants Aisha and Fatima, and a European woman (apparently, his wife), posing at a market). Eight photos of Mogador beach and Portuguese fort were taken by or feature Lt. Emile Ducommun (1893 – ?) – a French pilot who served in WW1 and Morocco; three large aerial views of Mogador at the rear were also taken by him. The album also houses two series of photos documenting Bernard’s automobile trips south and east of Mogador. Over twenty photos show the auto tour to Tagragra and Amerzagte in May 1918. The photos feature the travellers’ Rochet-Schneider car (with the emblem “RS”), Bernard, “Col. Barthel”, “Mr. Mounat – ingenieur”, “Cm. Jouve”, a local nobleman “Caid Koubban” and his car, Moroccan men and boys working at road construction, women at a well, etc. Over a dozen photos from another auto trip in August 1919 show the village Imi n’Tlit, and locals looking at the “first car” there, the travellers including Lt. Ducommun, cooling the car’s radiator with water, etc. Other interesting photos show the landing of a French Farman plane at the “grounds adjacent to the mansion of Caid Allal” (eleven photos), Farman Goliaf biplane flying and on the ground, a series of views of the 14th of July celebration in 1919, and others.
The albums are supplemented with several loosely inserted printed and manuscript papers, including Bernard’s notes, a typewritten list of his “Visites,” a rare printed brochure by M. Ricard titled “Fès: Notice fournie par le Bureau de Renseignements de Fez-ville, suivie d’une note sur la Région de Fès, a l’Exposition Franco-Marocaine” (1916), a publisher’s prospect of J. Ladreit de Lacharrière’s “En Maroc en suivant Foucaud” (Paris, 1932), etc.
Overall a very extensive historically important collection of original photos documenting the French conquest of Morocco and the early years of the country’s French administration.
Price: $7,500.00 USD