Previously Unknown 19th Century Photos

A Major 19th Century Photo Collection Rescued and Digitized by the British Library's Endangered Archives Program.

Lenny Ben David ,

Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb

A preview of Bonfils' photographs includes the one of Rachel's Tomb as it used to look. The photo is repeated and explained below.

Three thousand pictures taken by the Maison Bonfils photographers of Beirut from 1867 to the 1910s are part of the private Fouad Debbas collection in Beirut. Last year, the collection was digitized and posted online by the British Library's Endangered Archives Program.  

We have posted several Bonfils' photographs in the past from the Library of CongressGetty, and New York Public Library collections. But nowhere in the world has such an extensive collection of Bonfils' photographs been collected and made public.  We thank the Debbas family and Ms. Jody Butterworth, the curator of the British Library's Endangered Archives Programme, for their efforts. 
We present here just a preview of this very important collection:

Jews praying at the "Wailing Wall" (Debbas Collection, British Library)

Rachel's Tomb on the way to Bethlehem (Debbas Collection, British Library)


Rachel's Tomb, not the village of Sanur

Elsewhere in the Debbas Collection this picture is captioned "Village of Sanur in the modern-day West Bank."

Obviously, it is another Bonfils photo of Rachel's Tomb.

The bustling Jaffa Gate outside of Jerusalem's Old City. The Hotel Fast was built in 1891. The photo was taken prior to 1898 when a breach was made in the wall for the German Emperor's carriages.  (Debbas Collection, British Library)