Ca. 1920s. With 67 gelatin silver photos including thirty-four loose gelatin silver photos each ca. 25x30 cm (10x12 in), eight photos with later ink captions on verso, most photos with small holes in the corners from being mounted. And with Thirty-three pairs of gelatin silver stereoview photographs, each pair ca. 8,5x16 cm (3 ¼ x 6 ¼ in), mounted on custom made cards; all but three cards with period or later pencil or ink manuscript captions on verso. One large photo with a minor hole on the image, a couple with minor losses of one of the corners, several images mildly faded, but overall a very good collection of strong interesting images.
A historically significant collection of large original photos and custom-made stereoviews, from the archive of noted British protozoologist Henry Edward Shortt, which documents his work for the Kala-azar Commission of the Indian Medical Service in 1924-1933. First headed by protozoologist Sir Rickard Christophers (1873-1978) and then by Shortt from 1926, the Commission greatly contributed to the study of the kala-azar disease or visceral form of leishmaniasis, endemic for several regions of northeast India (Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and others). Characterized by substantial swelling of liver and spleen (among other symptoms) and a high mortality rate, Kala-azar appeared in India in epidemic waves roughly every fifteen years throughout the 19th century, but its nature and ways of transmission were largely unknown. After twenty years of experiments and research, the IMS Kala-azar commission managed to prove that the most common way of transmitting the disease were bites by infected sand flies of Phlebotomus argentipes genus. The collective article published by Shortt’s team in 1942 put an end to the “great saga of tropical medicine” (Swaminath, C.S., Shortt, H.E., Anderson, L.A.P. Transmission of Indian Kala-azar to man by bites of Phlebotomus argentipes// The Indian journal of medical research, 30; 473-7). See more about the history of the kala-azar research: Killick-Kendrick, R. The race to discover the insect vector of kala-azar: a great saga of tropical medicine, 1903-1942// Bull. Soc. Pathol. Exot. (2013) 106” 131-137. http://www.pathexo.fr/documents/articles-bull/131490131.pdf
The large photos from our collection generally focus on the areas around Golaghat, Gauhati (Guhawati) and Shillong where Shortt conducted his main research of kala-azar in the 1920s. (all localities were then parts of the British colonial Assam province). Over twenty photos are group portraits of local peasants, families with babies, elders, groups of children and adolescents (with visible details of jewellery, costumes, and headscarves). About a dozen of these group portraits depict children and adolescents with white lines drawn on their abdomens, with two photos captioned on verso “white line marking enlarged spleen.” Two identical photos show Assam peasants posing on a riverbank (reproduced as a horizontal and a vertical photo). There are also large interesting views of Barapani (Umiam) River “ten miles north of Shillong,” “Pasteur Institute, Kasauli” (now Central Research Institute in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh), six views of Assam jungle and streams (four views are also reproduced as stereoviews), portraits of Shortt posing next to a “forest bungalow,” his wife Eleanor Morrison Hobson (“Hobby”) in the jungle (an identical stereoview is captioned “Hobby in Assam jungle”), Eleanor and their daughter Joan next to their house in Kasauli, and a “buffalo with enormous horns, Christmas camp at Billitadahalla [River]” (the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu).
The stereoviews show the interior of “my laboratory in Golaghat,” a group with “Sir Rickard Christophers, Assam, Kala-Azar Commission, Golaghat or Gauhati,” group portraits of “Bhutias,” “Kuki Mongolians,” and “Tibetans,” several views of the Assam jungle and streams, the interior of a “dining room in Basha, probably Golaghat,” and six private and family portraits (three portraits of H.E. Shortt in Dehra Dun in 1917, Shortt in the Assam jungle, Shortt and Eleanor posing on the grounds of the Central Research Institute in Kasauli in “early 1922,” “Hobby” playing golf, and Shortt’s son Philip in Golaghat).
Four stereo views captioned and signed in pencil by the Kala-azar Commission’s entomologists Philip James Barraud (1879-1948). Three of them are dated November 1922 and depict Barkuda Island (Honeymoon Island) on Chilika Lake (Odisha State, the Bay of Bengal), showing the island shore, “the entrance & house,” and “Dr. Annandale & some of his staff leaving Barkuda Island, Chiloka Lake” (Dr. Thomas Nelson Annandale (1876-1924), a zoologist and Director of the Indian Museum, Calcutta. Author of several scientific papers, including “Fauna of the Chilka Lake: mammals, reptiles and batrachians,” 1915). The fourth photo shows “Tree fern on Darjeeling Hill, 5000 ft., Oct. 1922.” Overall an important visual source on the history of work of the Kala-azar Commission in Assam in the 1920s.
Shortt served for the Indian Medical Service in 1910-39, working first for the Kala-azar Commission and as Director of the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research, Guindy (1934-38); he taught at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1945-51. In 1949 he was elected President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and in 1950 a Fellow of the Royal Society. Apart from kala-azar/leishmaniasis, he researched various aspects of malaria and rabies. See more: Garnham, P.C.C. Henry Edward Shortt. 15 April 1887–9 November 1987// Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 34 (1988): 715-751.
Price: $4,500.00 USD