January 2, 2013

Samoans Posed in Front of a Hut with Palm Fronds and Thatched Roof

This early-20th century photograph shows a group of people on one of the islands in the Samoan archipelago, which is located south of the equator between Hawaii and New Zealand. The Samoans are a Polynesian people, famous for their seafaring skills. The photograph is by A.J. Tattersall, who wrote on its reverse side: “I warn anyone against using this copy without my permission. A.T., Photo, Samoa.” Tattersall was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1861, and worked for photographic firms in Auckland before going to Apia, Samoa, to work for the commercial photographer J. Davis. When Davis died in 1893, Tattersall took over his firm. Under an 1899 treaty signed by Britain, Germany, and the United States, those parts of the Samoan group west of longitude 171º west were ceded to Germany. After World War I, when Germany was stripped of its colonies, New Zealand administered the islands under League of Nations and United Nations mandates until 1962, when the independent state of Western Samoa was constituted.

Large, Western-Style Wooden Building Atop Small Hill Overlooking Harbor, Samoa

This early-20th century photograph shows the governor's mansion on Togo Togo Ridge in Utulei, American Samoa, overlooking the harbor of Pago Pago. The mansion has served as the residence of all the governors of American Samoa, naval and civilian, from its construction in 1903 to the present. The photograph is by A.J. Tattersall, who wrote on its reverse side: “I warn anyone against using this copy without my permission. A.T., Photo, Samoa.” Tattersall was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1861, and was employed by photographic firms in Auckland before going to Apia, Samoa, to work for the commercial photographer J. Davis. When Davis died in 1893, Tattersall took over his firm. The U.S. Navy established a coaling station at Pago Pago in 1878. Under an 1899 treaty signed by Britain, Germany, and the United States, all parts of the Samoan group east of longitude 171º west were ceded to the United States, those west of this line to Germany. The western islands now make up the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa), those east of it American Samoa.

War Canoe, Vella Lavella

This photograph shows warriors alongside their war canoes on the beach at Vella Lavella, one of the Solomon Islands. The photograph was taken by Edward A. Salisbury (1875-1962), an American explorer, writer, and early producer of travel films who in the 1920s published many accounts of his expeditions to the South Pacific in Asia: The American Magazine of the Orient. Salisbury’s article, “A Napoleon of the Solomons,” which appeared in the September 1922 issue of Asia, was a portrait of Gau, the warrior king of Vella Lavella. Salisbury described the war canoes as “magnificent pieces of workmanship, 35 to 50 feet long, holding from 40 to 100 men, and though without outriggers, seaworthy…. The sides of the canoes were beautifully inlaid with pearl shells in fantastic designs. At both stem and stern were twelve-foot beaks decorated with conch-shells.”

Thatched Roof Building in Palm Grove with People Gathered Around Trees and Building

Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands was the scene of the first post-World War II atomic tests, carried out by the United States to determine the effects of nuclear weapons on naval ships. This photograph, part of the record of the operation made by the U.S. Army Air Forces, shows inhabitants of the island gathered around a thatched-roof building in a palm grove. Before the tests, all 167 residents of Bikini were evacuated from their home island. Because of the high levels of radiation caused by the explosions over Bikini, neither they nor their descendants were ever able to return. After World War II, the Marshall Islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States under a United Nations mandate. In 1986, the Republic of the Marshall Islands became an independent country under a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

On the Aerodrome at Amman. Colonel Laurence (T.E. Lawrence). Sir Herbert Samuel. Amir Abdullah. April, 1921

At the conclusion of World War I, the victorious allies named Britain the mandatory power for Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq, all former territories of the Ottoman Empire which, with Germany, had been defeated in the war. In April 1921, the British convened meetings of Arab and British officials at Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein's camp at Amman, during the course of which British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel proclaimed Amir Abdullah the ruler of the new Emirate of Transjordan. This photograph, taken at these meetings, shows Colonel T.E. Lawrence, Samuel, and Amir Abdullah. The man at the far right is possibly Sheik Majid Pasha el Adwan, the woman at the far left possibly Gertrude Bell. Lawrence, more commonly known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” had helped to stir up an Arab revolt against the Ottomans. Bell was a writer and archeologist who, with Lawrence, played a role in the founding of the post-Ottoman states in Jordan and Iraq. The photograph is by the Photo Department of the American Colony in Jerusalem, a Christian utopian community that was established in 1881 and that in subsequent years developed a substantial archive on the Middle East. It is part of an album in the papers of John D. Whiting, a member of the American Colony in Jerusalem, in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Line of Bedouin Men with Rifles on Horseback

At the conclusion of World War I, the victorious allies named Britain the mandatory power for for Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq, all former territories of the Ottoman Empire which, with Germany, had been defeated in the war. In April 1921, the British convened meetings of Arab and British officials at Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein's camp at Amman, during the course of which British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel proclaimed Amir Abdullah the ruler of the new Emirate of Transjordan. This photograph, taken at these meetings, shows a line of Bedouin men on horseback with rifles. The photograph is by the Photo Department of the American Colony in Jerusalem, a Christian utopian community that was established in 1881 and that in subsequent years developed a substantial archive on the Middle East. It is part of an album in the papers of John D. Whiting, a member of the American Colony in Jerusalem, in the collections of the Library of Congress.