Luce Ben Aben, Moorish Women Preparing Couscous, Algiers, Algeria


This photochrome print showing a young girl preparing couscous with two companions under the watchful eye of an older woman in Algiers is part of “Views of People and Sites in Algeria” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The photograph was taken in the courtyard of the Luce Ben Aben School of Arab Embroidery, an institution founded by a Frenchwoman in 1845 that sought to teach young girls skills and to make crafts that could be sold in international markets. Couscous is Algeria’s national dish and the staple food of much of the country. According to some sources, semolina wheat reached Algeria as early as the Carthaginian period, enabling the Berbers to develop couscous already around the second century BC. Other sources say that couscous reached the country much later, through Andalusians in the 13th century.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Detroit Photographic Company, Detroit, Michigan

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color


  • 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 exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.
  • Print no. "16427".

Last updated: August 13, 2014