December 3, 2012

Planting in Uganda. Coffee—Para Rubber—Cocoa

Planting in Uganda. Coffee—Para Rubber—Cocoa is a comprehensive analysis of plantation agriculture in early 20th-century Uganda, written by two senior managers of Ugandan companies. As stated in the preface, it was intended to assist white planters who were attracted to Uganda by the fertile soils and favorable climate but who, in many cases, had no knowledge of agricultural conditions in the country. It deals with three main products—coffee, Para rubber (today usually simply referred to as rubber), and cocoa—and focuses on two provinces, Buganda and Bugosa, where plantation agriculture was most extensively developed. Chapters are devoted to the physical features of the country; the history of products in Uganda; yields and results; the probable life of trees and how to prolong it; choice of land for plantations; nurseries; laying out a plantation; clearing and planting; weeds and weeding; factories and machinery; collection and preparation of coffee; collection and preparation of Para rubber; collection and preparation of cocoa; estate management; costs of establishing plantations and of preparing products; insect pests; and fungoid diseases. Tables provide a wealth of information on rainfall, yields, prices, and the recommended number of trees to be planted per acre and the distances between trees. Illustrations depict the coffee, Para rubber, and cocoa plants, common weeds, and methods for tapping rubber.

Uganda and Its Peoples; Notes on the Protectorate of Uganda, Especially the Anthropology and Ethnology of Its Indigenous Races

Uganda and Its Peoples is a detailed survey of the native peoples of the Uganda Protectorate, as understood by early 20th-century ethnography and anthropology. The book is organized in nine chapters, each of which is devoted to one of the main ethnic and tribal groups: Bahima, Banyoro, Batoro, Banabuddu, Sese Islanders, Bakoki, Basoga, Bavuma, and Baganda. Topics covered include marriage ceremonies, birth ceremonies, diet, death ceremonies, beliefs and superstitions, history, law, systems of weights and measures, folklore, customs and traditions, and economic activities. Included are portraits of the kings of the different tribes and more than 200 other photographs depicting noteworthy places, people from different walks of life, and images of people in the major ethnic groups. A map shows the localities inhabited by the peoples discussed in the book, from the northern border with Sudan at approximately 5° north to the southern border with German East Africa. The author, James Frederick Cunningham, previously had assisted British explorer and colonial official Sir Henry Hamilton (Harry) Johnston (1858–1927) with the preparation of his monumental The Uganda Protectorate, published in 1902, and Cunningham’s book includes an appreciative preface by Johnston.

Uganda’s Katikiro in England

Uganda’s Katikiro in England is the official account of the visit of the katikiro (prime minister) of Buganda, Apolo Kagwa (circa 1864–1927), in 1902 to participate in the coronation of King Edward VII, who ascended to the British throne following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in early 1901. The grandson of a Ugandan chief, Apolo served as a page in the court of King Mutesa I of Buganda (reigned, 1856–84) and became a Christian at a young age. He rose to become chief storekeeper and later prime minister to King Mwanga II (ruled 1884–88 and 1889–97), the son and successor of Mutesa I. Written in Luganda by Ham Mukasa, secretary to Apolo, and translated by the Reverend Ernest Millar, an English missionary who served as the katikiro’s interpreter during his visit, the book recounts the trip overland from Kampala to Mombasa, Kenya, the voyage by ship through the Red Sea and Suez Canal to Naples, and the rail journey across Europe to Britain. Mukasa describes Apolo’s meetings in London with the explorer Henry M. Stanley, the bishop of London, various military and naval officers, and other influential individuals; his visits to Southampton, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow, Sheffield, and other British cities; and his participation in the coronation itself. The book concludes with an account of the return voyage across Europe, with a stop in Rome, the passage to Mombasa on a German steamer, and the party’s arrival in Kampala. The book is an unusual and valuable portrait of British and European society as seen through the eyes of an influential African during the colonial period.

December 7, 2012

Anthology of Rumi’s Poetry

Divan-i Mawlavī Rumi (Anthology of Rumi’s poetry) is a collection by the great Persian poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, popularly known in Persian as Mawlānā and in English as Rumi (1207–73). The collection includes poems on Sufism, supplications, and philosophy. The manuscript does not have a title page. Every poem is individual and self-contained, and the name of the poet appears at the end of most of the poems. Nothing is known of the copyist, although it is thought that this volume is 19th century.

December 12, 2012

Going to Work

This watercolor on heavy board, showing military personnel of the Women’s Army Corps in New Guinea in 1944, during World War II, is signed and dated by the artist, John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004). Murphy was an American cartoonist best known for drawing the Prince Valiant comic strip. Murphy joined the armed forces in 1940 and spent the war years in the Pacific, where he was an anti-aircraft officer, and drew illustrations for the Chicago Tribune. The battle for New Guinea was one of the major military campaigns in the Pacific theater, beginning in January 1942 and continuing on some parts of the island until the war ended. The watercolor is part of the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library, the foremost American collection devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering, and one of the world’s largest collections devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms.

December 14, 2012

The Ķegums Hydro Power Plant and the Temporary Bridge over the Daugava, November 1936

Eduards Kraucs (1898–1977) was a renowned Latvian photographer and cinematographer who, between 1936 and 1940, documented the construction of the Ķegums Hydro Power Plant on the Daugava River in central Latvia. This photograph, taken in November 1936, shows the temporary wooden bridge over the river and workers building the concrete supports for a new bridge. The historic buildings along the right bank of the river, before the reservoir was created, can be seen in the background. The plant was a unique engineering structure for the Baltic countries and Northern Europe, involving a collaborative effort of Latvian and Swedish engineers. Technological solutions new to Europe were used in its construction. The plant had great importance in Latvia as a symbol of state and national identity during the first period of the history of the independent Latvian state (1918–1940). Its completion marked the beginning of a unified statewide power system and of the Latvenergo group. The plant triggered rapid economic growth, resulted in the electrification of Latvia’s regions, and improved the welfare of the Latvian population. Kraucs took images of the work once or twice a week during the period of construction. The resulting collection of 1,736 glass plate photonegatives is the only known example in Europe of such a comprehensive photographic record of a large-scale building project. The collection was inscribed on the Latvian National Memory of the World Register in 2009.