Egypt in the Early 1900s: Rare Brooklyn Museum Slides

Vintage photographic lantern slides show off the beautiful Egypt of the past that protests and instability have obscured

vintageegypt3edit.jpg
The lantern slide—a transparent image on glass that was magnified and projected onto a surface using a sciopticon "magic lantern"—came of age shortly after it was first introduced by Philadelphia daguerreotypists William and Frederick Langenheim in 1849. The lantern slide greatly broadened the audience for photography, then still a young art, introducing it into academia and the cultural institutions of the day by allowing teachers and museum curators to illustrate their lectures and presentations with projected images.

We've seen an heard a lot about Egypt this year, in light of the recent political turmoil. We've even had some remix fun with it. (In a no-laughing-matter kind of way, of course.) But beneath what has turned into a highly politicized media talking point lies a remarkable, dignified country full of beauty and tradition. Much like last week's rare and fascinating look at vintage Japan aimed to rekindle the respect for and fascination with a culture consumed by the recent tragedy and subsequent media coverage, today's look at these breathtaking vintage lantern slides from Egypt is very much an invitation to take a look beyond the veil of immediacy and revel in the inherent beauty of this land, courtesy of Brooklyn Museum's fantastic archive.

vintageegypt1.jpg

Egypt: Partly submerged palms above Nile dam, Upper Egypt Copyright, 1908, by Stereo-Travel Co. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt4.jpg

Egypt: Donkey and Cart, Kasr-en-Nil T. H. McAllister, Manufacturing Optician. 49 Nassau Street, New York. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt5.jpg

Egypt: Policeman, Cairo Brooklyn Museum Archives, Goodyear Archival Collection


vintageegypt6.jpg

Egypt: Arab porters, Alexandria Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt7.jpg

Egypt: Donkey Boy, Cairo. This slide colored by Joseph Hawkes. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt8.jpg

Egypt: Buffalo Market, Gizeh T. H. McAllister, Manufacturing Optician. 49 Nassau Street, New York. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt9.jpg

Egypt: Arabian Horse and Sais, Cairo. This slide colored by Joseph Hawkes. Hooper. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt10.jpg

Egypt: Pyramids of Dashur from Sakkara T. H. McAllister, Manufacturing Optician. 49 Nassau Street. Hooper. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt11.jpg

Egypt: Sunset on the Nile. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt12.jpg

Egypt: Arabic Window and Native Bazaar, Cair T. H. McAllister, Manufacturing Optician. 49 Nassau Street. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt13.jpg

Egypt: Pompey's Pillar, Alexandria T. H. McAllister, Manufacturing Optician. 49 Nassau Street. Brooklyn Museum Archives


vintageegypt14.jpg

Egypt: Arab water-carrier girls. Brooklyn Museum Archives


For another perspective-shift on this fascinating culture, don't forget last week's Cultural Connectives—an inspired effort to better understand Arab culture through typography.


This post also appears on Brain Pickings.

Presented by

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings. She writes for Wired UK and GOOD, and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Global

Just In