This very interesting photo album is filled with 29 early photographs of Korea, dating to 1897, compiled by historian Louise Ropes Loomis (1874-1958). The album documents Loomis’ October, 1897 visit, the year of her graduation from Wellesley College and the time that Korean Empire was proclaimed by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon dynasty. It is indicated in the album that some of the photographs were taken by Loomis herself, and these are identified with her initial and handwritten captions.
The album filled with 5.5″ x 3.5″ photographs of the busy street leading to the East Gate, children at a fruit stand, families, workmen, pack animals, huts, two men eating; a woman working men enduring corporal punishment with the cangue; the tomb of Namyeongun, the father of the Korean regent Heungseon Daewongun, in Yesan-gun, South Chungcheong Province; the “just finished” tomb of the assassinated Queen Min, waiting to “receive remains + spirit of Queen”; Middle Palace grounds; audience hall; a coolie carrying a pack with a laughing child riding along; an old woman pounding rice; portraits of wealthy families; a studio portrait of a man carrying a high stack of earthenware bowls; portrait of a beautiful young candy merchant girl; high officials in their uniforms; rich young man and his servant.
While not all antique photo albums are valuable, those that show parts of the world or certain events of historical note can be widely collected. Photographs of good quality, including good subject quality, and those that offer additional information in terms of names, dates, captions and details can offer much in the way of education.
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