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.
This week, here presented, are two American Colony photographs, which we found in the New York Public
Library archives. We thank the NYPL for granting
permission to present them here.
The first is a picture of shepherds and sheep. What drew our attention were the
buildings and mosque, easily identified in our feature "Jerusalem's Nablus Road
-- Where History Marched." The original caption to the photograph of the
soldiers notes that they were passing the American Colony residence, located on
Nablus Road. The Colony's location gave the photographers a front row seat for the arrival of
the German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1898.
The second photo found in the New
York Public Library is a picture of farming practices in Palestine over 100
years ago. The American Colony photographers frequently shot pictures of
mismatched plowing animals.
We theorize that the American Colony members, who were well versed in the Old
Testament, focused on agricultural prohibitions found in the Bible. In this
particular case, they illustrated the prohibition "Thou shall not plow with an
ox and an ass together." (Deuteronomy 20) They also provided pictures of the
prohibition "Thou shall not muzzle an ox in its threshing" (Deuteronomy 25)
More photos can be viewed at www.israeldailypicture.com