Chola Cook


This photograph of a woman in Bolivia is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. This photograph appeared in Lands of the Andes and the Desert (1924), part of Carpenter's World Travels series, with the caption: “The well situated chola cook of La Paz could hardly look the world in the face on Sunday without her complete outfit of bright green skirt, gorgeous fringed silk shawl, round derby-like hat, and white kid boots with high heels.” The text explained that women and girls “cling to the same costumes of generations ago. They delight in bright colours, and seem to have robbed the gorgeous Andean sunsets for the gay hues of their shawls and dresses. Hundreds of them wear skirts of sea green or sky blue, and not a few have short dresses of flaming red.” In Bolivia and Peru, the term cholo is broadly applied to persons of mixed Amerindian and Spanish ancestry."

Last updated: May 29, 2013