Two Small Boys Holding up Their Drawings on Small Blackboards, Nicaragua


This photograph of a scene in Nicaragua 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. The photograph appeared in Carpenter’s New Geographical Reader: North America (1922) with the caption: “Schoolboys of Central America. The Spanish words on the slate mean 'new art'.” The text explained (somewhat rosily, given conditions in Nicaragua at the time): “The population of Central America consists of the whites, the descendants of the Spaniards; the Mestizos (mes-te-zoz), the descendants of Spaniards who intermarried with the Indians; and the pure Indians. By law all classes of people have equal rights, and everyone is supposed to vote and to have part in the government. All the republics have free schools, and the people are advancing in civilization and wealth.”

Last updated: September 19, 2013