Ca. 1907. Large Octavo album (ca. 24,5x15,5 cm). 24 card stock leaves. With 96 gelatin silver photographs mounted in windows, each ca. 8x11 cm (3 x 4 ¼ in). No captions. With three loosely inserted photos: two ca. 8,5x11 cm (3 ¼ x 4 ½ in) and one ca. 5,5x8 cm (2 ¼ x 3 ¼ in). With a loosely inserted manuscript letter ca. 16,5x20 cm (6 ½ x 8 in). Period brown full cloth album with a gilt-tooled vignette on the front board. covers slightly discoloured, a few images mildly faded, but overall a very good album of historically interesting photographs.
Attractive collection of original vernacular photos of Nigerian villages and people, taken during the construction of the Baro-Kano Railway in the Northern Nigeria Protectorate. It became the second railway built in Nigeria; the construction took place in 1907-1911. In 1912, it was connected with the Lagos Government Railway, becoming the basis of the future Nigerian Railway Corporation. The album’s compiler was most likely one of the British engineers employed during the railway construction. About eighteen images depict various “railway” aspects, showing bridges (under construction and completed), native workers clearing ground and building track, British supervisors watching the works and paying the workers, railway cars and hangars, etc. One photo shows the steam engine with the sign “B.K.R.” and the number “8” on the side. The other photos show Niger River steamers, native villages on the river banks, and scenes from everyday life of Nigerians – warriors in dugout canoes, families, workers building a house, farmers, musicians, native policemen, chiefs, snake charmers, hyena tamers, cattle herders, women grinding grains, etc. Several photos detail the traditional costumes and headdresses. The album is supplemented with the original hand-written letter from a British associate of the Baro-Kano Railway – possibly, the album’s compiler. The author of the letter apologizes for a mistake made by one of the writer’s subordinates and complains about the lack of staff which does not allow the management to “punish mistakes too severely at present.” Overall a lively collection of original photos showing Northern Nigeria and its people in the early 1900s, with a strong connection to the early railway construction in the country.
Price: $2,250.00 USD