Friday 28 February 2014

Archives: The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection

The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection is housed at the Library of Congress, Washington.

The collection began as a result of the founding of a photo department at the American Colony in Jerusalem c. 1898, and continued after the break up of the Colony under the direction of G. Eric Matson and his wife Edith as the Matson Photo Service. It was donated to the Library of Congress by Eric Matson in during the 1960s.

Castle of Salkhad. Closer view of the picturesque castle

It is a rich source of historical images of the Middle East. Though the majority of the items depict Palestine where the Colony and the Matsons were based, there are numerous historical photographs of Amman and other locations in Jordan, as well as other major centres in the Middle East. Of particular interest are the numerous aerial photographs taken - many on the Cairo to Baghdad Airmail Route.

The majority of the collection is in the Public Domain thanks to the original conditions of the donation. The fantastic digitisation program by the Library of Congress means you can access those images online:

We have gone through the collection and found the majority of the aerial photographs and created an individual set in our Flickr archive: Where not already known we have endeavoured to identify all of the sites in the photographs and georeference them. In addition to this you will find the Library of Congress online database reference information. In this Flickr set we hope to highlight the part of the collection that is aerial photography, as well to those that depict archaeological sites. We have paid particular attention to the ruins of Amman, ancient Philadelphia.

For more information on the collection please go to the Library of Congress website: If you wish to access the original photographs or want unwatermarked digital copies please visit the Library of Congress website. We have provided the reference numbers for the items and links to their item records for this reason. APAAME holds no rights to these images and merely wishes to add to the information held regarding them in the Public Domain.

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