This photograph, most likely taken in Singapore in the late 19th or early 20th century, 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 shows workers gathering rattan, a term that refers to a variety of palms used to make furniture and other products. It is attributed to G.R. Lambert & Co., a firm that was active in Southeast Asia in the decades before World War I. G.R. Lambert, an immigrant from Dresden, Germany, arrived in Singapore in 1875 and established a photographic studio in the same year. Over the years, the firm maintained branches in Sumatra, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. It served as photographers by appointment to the King of Siam and the Sultan of Johore and was a large producer of picture postcards on subjects relating to Southeast Asia and China.
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Last updated: January 8, 2018