Historically Important Photos Relating to the US Nicaragua Canal Commission

[Album with Fifty-Nine Original Gelatin Silver Photos of Nicaragua before the US Occupation, Showing Managua, Leon, Corinto, Lakes Managua and Nicaragua, Momotombo Volcano, San Juan River, the Feast of San Geronimo in Masaya, a Steamboat of the “Nicaraguan Navy,” a “Sham Battle, Nicaraguan Army,” Portraits of Native Residents of San Marcos, Families, US Consul Carter Donaldson Swimming in Lake Managua, etc.].

Ca. 1890s. Oblong Quarto album (ca. 18x29,5 cm). 29 card stock leaves. With 59 mounted gelatin silver photographs, mostly ca. 11x15 cm (4 ¼ x 6 in) or slightly smaller; seven smaller photos are from ca. 6x15 cm (2 ¼ x 6 in) to ca. 5,5x9,5 cm (2 ¼ x 3 ¾ in). All photos with period typewritten or pencil captions on the mounts. Period style green half morocco album with cloth boards. A few images mildly faded, several mounts with tears or minor losses on corners and extremities, but overall a very good album of interesting photos.

Historically significant extensive collection of early original photos showing Nicaragua before US occupation in 1912. The album is closely related to the US project of construction of the Nicaragua Canal and the Nicaragua Canal Commission (1897-99), led by Rear Admiral John G. Walker. Eleven photos from the album illustrate William E. Simmons’ book “The Nicaragua Canal” (New York & London: Harper & Bros., 1900), which was published during the discussion of the bill on the canal’s construction in the US Congress in early 1900. The author, who himself travelled across Nicaragua in 1891, frequently referred to “Walker’s Commission” and used several of Walker’s photos as illustrations in his book.
The album contains over a dozen views of Managua (city cathedral under construction, National Palace, city park, a “typical residence,” two scenes of a bullfight, the street behind “Hotel Lupone,” two portraits of the hotel servants, “Mr. Morris’s house,” etc.), a dozen views of Leon (Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, episcopal residence, streets, portraits of the locals), views of Masaya (three lively shots of a procession during the Feast of San Geronimo, three scenes of a bullfight), Corinto (harbour and waterfront, Boca Falsa, a small steamboat under a Nicaraguan flag captioned “Nicaraguan Navy”), San Marcos (“ancient church,” “Indian hut,” two group portraits of the town residents), Lake Managua and Momotombo Volcano, Lake Nicaragua, San Juan River (San Carlos, Fortress of the Immaculate Conception or Castillo Viejo), a scene of a “sham battle, Nicaraguan army,” several portraits of native Nicaraguans, etc. There is also a portrait of US Consul Carter Donaldson and “his boys” bathing in Lake Managua. Donaldson is known as the founder of the first continuous baseball team in Nicaragua in 1904; baseball is now one of the most popular sports in the country. Overall a rare important collection of early original photos of 19th-century Nicaragua.
Captions of the eleven photos reproduced in Simmons’ “The Nicaragua Canal”:
Old Spanish Fort at Castillo Viejo, San Juan River (following p. 56), Indian women in holiday attire (following p. 90); Women washing clothes on the shore of Lake Nicaragua (following p. 98); Corinto from steamer San Blas (following p. 116); Patio of Mr. Morris’s house, Managua (following p. 136); Rapids at Castillo Viejo, from the fort (following p. 146); San Carlos – Lake Nicaragua, at the head of the San Juan River (following p. 152); Lake Nicaragua – about three miles off shore (following p. 166); Volcanic Island Momotombito, Lake Managua (following p. 196); National Palace, Managua (following p. 206); Looking up San Juan River from fort at Castillo Viejo (following p. 210).
Captions of the other photos: Volcano Momotombo, Lake Managua; Sham battle, Nicaraguan army; Native woman with child; Ox cart back of Hotel Lupone, Managua; Indian procession, Feast of San Geronimo, Masaya; Indian dancers, Feast of San Geronimo, Masaya (two different photos with the same captions); Scene at bullfight, Masaya (three different photos with the same captions); Leopoldo Mozo at Hotel Lupone, Managua; Ancient church, San Marcos; Indian hut, San Marcos; Residents of San Marcos (two different group portraits); Doctor Gonzalez; Servants in patio Hotel Lupone, Managua; Consul Donaldson and his boys bathing in Lake Managua; Cathedral at Managua; Lake Nicaragua, about five miles from Eastern shore; Ruined part of fort Castillo Viejo; Boca Falsa, Corinto; Corinto; Nicaragua’s Navy; Corinto; Entrance to Corinto harbour; Finca “Filadelfia” near Leon; Street scene, Leon; Cathedral, Leon, reputed to be oldest church in America; Street scene, Leon; Cathedral, Leon; Illustrative of the Darwinian theory; Street in Leon; Episcopal residence, Leon; Hotel garden, Leon; Servants, Leon; Momotombo, active volcano; Leon; Momotombo, Lake Managua; Cathedral, Managua; Bull ring, Managua; “Gybing” in front of Palacio Nacional, Managua; Palacio Nacional, Managua; Park, Managua; Typical residence, Managua; Bull fight, Managua.

Item #426

Price: $3,500.00 USD