American Colony 4th of July pageant (circa 1905).
(photo credit: Library of Congress)
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.
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.
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.
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