[Album with ca. 117 Original Gelatin Silver Photographs and Over Thirty Magazine Clippings, Titled:] Trip to Cuba. Dec. 23, 1905.
Ca. 1905. Oblong Quarto album ca. 18x30 cm (7 ¼ x 12 in). 44 black card stock leaves. With ca. 117 mounted gelatin silver photos, from ca. 9,5x11,5 cm (3 ¾ x 4 ½ in) to ca. 5x11 cm (2 x 4 ¼ in). With ca. 39 mounted printed magazine clippings from ca. 10,5x15,5 cm (4 x 6 ½ in) to ca. 5,5x9,5 cm (2 x 3 ½ in). All but two photos and most of the clippings with period white ink manuscript captions on the mounts (including several extensive passages). Period black patterned cloth album fastened with metal bolts. Binding rubbed on extremities, and with cracks on hinges, a few photos mildly faded or with mild silvering, some captions are mildly faded, but overall a very good album of strong interesting photos.
Interesting extensive collection of lively vernacular photos taken by an affluent American tourist during his trip to Havana and Mazantas in 1905 and supplemented with curious notes and observations about Cuba’s architecture, history and everyday life. As follows from the ink note on verso of the first album’s leaf: “This trip was made with a party from Indianapolis to Cuba by way of Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile. The train consisted on six Pullman sleepers. A private steamer S.S. Prince George met us at Mobile. <…> We left Indianapolis 4 p.m. Dec. 22, 1905, reached Mobile 5 p.m. Dec. 23. Sailed at 5:30 and reached Havana Dec. 25 at 8 a.m. It was snowing at Indianapolis but not very cold. It was 82°F Xmas day in Havana.”
Over seventy photos and over twenty-five magazine clippings illustrate the party’s stay in Havana. Among the pictured sites are El Morro Castle, La Cabaña fortress, the execution memorial in the Laurel Ditch, Custom House, “old San Francisco Church,” El Templete, Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Plaza de Armas & President’s Palace, Senate Chamber, the Treasury, Calle Empedrado, the Cathedral, “corner of old city wall;” Punta Fort, Monument to the Medical Students, the Malecon; German Embassy, Inglaterra Hotel, Obispo Street, O’Reilly Street, Chinese Quarters, Albear Park, the Prado, “main corador of Pasaja Hotel,” Colon Park, Habana Park, “station of United Railways of Cuba,” “Market building,” Colon Cemetery, and many others. One photo portrays two party members (likely, including the album’s compiler) “caught in the act” while photographing on a tripod.
Some of the captions to the photos of Havana: “Laurel Ditch. Cabana is guarded by ditches 40 ft deep. The rees are the Laurel. Many political prisoners were executed in Laurel Ditch;” “a part of our party on Cabana Ramparts. The girls are begging buttons from the Cuban soldiers;” “a cell in Cabana Fortress;” “a part of party at El Morro. We were here shortly before the election and powder had been found stored in El Morro by Gomez forces to be used against Palma adherents at election. Orders were given for no one to enter. We entered;” “El Templete (post office on left). Marks the landing place and founding of Havana by Diego de Velazques, 1519. Ceiba tree is slip of original ceiba marked by statue. Temple is open one day in a year, Nov. 16 – San Cristobal Day;” “Treasury Building, faces Calle Empedrada. Street railway constructed by American soldiers <…>;” “sows the way Cubans build their buildings. A framework of ladders is first erected. The best & newest buildings are made of stone and then cemented over;” “Music stand erected by Americans <…>;” “common carrier, sold for 5c American money or seven centavos Spanish money;” “There are about 2000 Chinamen in Havana, gardening in the country is done by Chinese;” “dough is wrapped in cane leaves, baked in open boxes, there are no stoves, simply a box ironed on the bottom to hold coals;” “pig market. Pigs are sold alive. Pig is tied about legs &nose and carried off on the arm.”
Twenty-five photos and nine magazine clippings illustrate the party’s railroad travel to Matanzas: “engine that took our party over the island east, small but a goer;” a bridge across the Almendares River, “400 springs that supplies [sic!] water for Havana – southeast 9 miles;” “loading sugar cane for the mills;” railway tracks and scenery near Matanzas, the travellers at a railway station; a local woman, “Guenes, Cuba” (likely, Catalina de Guines), Pan de Matanzas Hill, “old part of Matanzas between the San Juan and Yumuri Rivers,” “Cumbre Hill. We paid una peso (60 c.) to be taken through the city to this hill, but some of carriages broke & occupants had to walk,” “some cacti hedges,” Yumuri River valley, “some Mazantas girls and visitors. Women of Mazantas are beauties <…>,” English consulate. The are also three photos of the nearby sugar mill and plantation: “residence of Ramon Pelayo, Aguacate, Cuba. Our party visited the sugar mills there and after our visit was entertained <…> much to our surprise and appreciation by the owner and his daughter”; “Peloya’s sugar plantation,” “our train at Peloya’s sugar plantation on our return from Mazantas.”
Nineteen photos at the rear were taken during the return trip to Indianapolis – by S.S. Prince George and train, showing scenes on board, portraits of crew members (“A.W. Mackinnon, master,” “G.S. Diggdon, 3rd officer, S.S. Prince George “on watch””), sick travellers, “land around Mobile”, “in Alabama,” “Alabama River at Mongomery,” “Ohio River at Louisville,” “at Union Station at Indianapolis.”
Overall an interesting content-rich collection of lively vernacular photos of Havana and Mazantas during the first years of the Republic of Cuba (1902-1959).
Price: $3,250.00 USD