Israeli History Photo of the Week: Old City shopkeepers

JPost special feature: Library of Congress collection of photos that document Israel before creation of state.

Jaffa Gate (photo credit: AmericanColony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)
Jaffa Gate
(photo credit: AmericanColony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)
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.

A visitor to Jerusalem in the second half of the 1800s reported that the Jewish community represented half of the population with the rest Muslim, Christian and Armenian.Several photographers at the time specifically chose Jewish subjects to photograph, particularly at the Western Wall or in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. But in many cases, Jerusalem's Jews were simply passersby in the picture, or, as in a picture reproduced and enlarged below, owned shops that were part of the landscape.
More photos can be viewed at