American Colony

Colony in Israel

many people in Israel, the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem is a very
lovely hotel with old world charm. However, what many people do not know,
is that the American Colony Hotel, prior to becoming a hotel, was the home
and base for the group of Americans and Swedes who immigrated to Eretz Yisrael
in order to provide humanitarian aid to the local public beginning in 1881.

Chicago lawyer Horatio Gates Spafford
and his wife Anna, together with a group of friends, settled near the Old
City’s Damascus Gate. While assisting the local population, they formed a
closed community and lived in a communal lifestyle based on strict discipline.
As the community grew, through the turn of the century it became necessary
to find additional areas of income to support the community.

As many of the community were interested in photography, and they saw potential
with the tourist market, photography became a business. The images that the
group took are today the largest collection of photographs of Eretz Yisrael
dating from the first half of the 20th Century.

The American Colony: Photographs of Eretz Yisrael and its Surroundings,

an exhibit at the Eli Lamberger Israeli Museum of Photography, in the Tel-Hai
Industrial Park, offers a retrospective of the images taken by some members
of the community, including Hol Lars Larsson and Eric G. Matson.

The photographs on display at the
exhibition are taken from the turn of the century through 1934 and give an
accurate presentation of life in that period. The colony photographers were
able to document such events as the locust plague in 1915, World War I scenes,
and the surrender of Jerusalem to the British in 1917.

Additionally, the photographers managed
to travel and document life in Syria, Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, Sinai and Egypt.
They were successful in photographing many aspects of the region: the holy
and the secular, landscapes, historic sites, archeology and contemporary
life events.

Text by M. Kaplan-Green. Photographs
courtesy of Eli Lamberger Israeli Museum of Photography.


Sunday-Thursday 8:00-16:00

Saturday 10:00-17:00


Adults 18 NIS

Children, soldiers and students 14 NIS

Seniors Citizens from the area 9 NIS

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