A Sami Family, Norway


This photochrome print is part of “Landscape and Marine Views of Norway” from the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. The photo shows a Sami, or Lapp, family gathered by a pair of traditional conical tents called lavvu, in northern Norway. In his 1876 work Through Norway with a Knapsack, the British scientist and author William Mattieu Williams described the lavvu as "a framework of wooden ribs, all bearing towards each other in the centre," over which animal skin is stretched for insulation. The Sami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia and Finland, were traditionally semi-nomadic reindeer herders. The first known account of them was by the Roman historian Tacitus, who in 98 A.D. marveled and described them as living in "wonderful savageness." The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained the exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This process permitted the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Detroit Publishing Company, Detroit, Michigan



Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color


  • Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J--foreign section. Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905.

Last updated: September 4, 2013