The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000 photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the building of Tel Aviv.

The founders of the American Colony in Jerusalem in 1881 were proud of their American roots. The group of utopian, millennialist Christians were later joined by Swedish-American and Swedish believers.

The American Colony set up clinics, orphanages, cottage industries and soup kitchens for the poor of Jerusalem, earning favor with the Turkish rulers of Palestine. Their concern for all citizens of Jerusalem was evident in the shelter and assistance they provided to poor Yemenite Jews who arrived in Jerusalem in 1882.

When World War I broke out, the American Colony’s photographers were able to work on both sides of the conflict.

The full version of this article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post Magazine last week.

More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com

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