Ca. 1929. Oblong Folio album (ca. 22x31,5 cm). 17 card stock leaves (with two remaining tissue guards). With 35 mounted studio gelatin silver photographs, each ca. 18x24 cm (7 x 9 ¼ in). All but two photos with printed captions on small paper labels mounted on the photos’ lower corners, one photo signed by the photographer in negative (“Máas, Asunción”), two photos with period manuscript notes on the margin or the title label. Period ink presentation inscription on the front pastedown, dated 1929. Period brown full cloth album fastened with a string; paper label with a typewritten title “Paraguay” on the front cover. Binding slightly worn on extremities and loosened on hinges, several mounts with minor creases on extremities, one of the caption labels missing the right part, but overall a very good album of strong interesting photographs.
An attractive souvenir album with large studio photos of Paraguay presented to noted American writer Frances Parkinson Keyes (1885-1970) in Asunción during her grand tour of Spain and South America in 1929-1930. The album is signed by George Lewis Kreeck (1882-1945), the US Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary in Paraguay in 1925-1930. His presentation inscription (with the erroneous spelling “Florence” instead of “Frances”) reads: “Presented to Mrs. Henry W. Keyes (Florence Parkinson Keyes) by the American Minister Geo. L. Kreeck at Asuncion, Paraguay, 1929.” Most photos in the album show various buildings and sites of Asunción, including Palacio de los López, Cabildo or Town Council, city port with several docked river steamers, buildings of the War and Navy Ministry (a corner of calle Palma and calle Garibaldi), Supreme Court, Stock Exchange, “El Paraiso” department store, el Banco Agricola del Paraguay, Plaza Constitucion, Parque Caballero, San Jose Catholic college, Colegio Internacional (with a manuscript note “American school”), Colegio Nacional, Escuela Normal de Profesores, botanical garden, Asunción railway station, National Pantheon of Heroes, private mansions of Cristóbal Perris (Ave. Colombia), Américo Arce (Calle Cerro Corá), and Dr. José E. Pérez (Ave. Colombia), etc. There is also a group portrait of elementary school students and two group portraits of graduates from the Asunción school of aviation (the latter pose on an airfield next to planes). Another photo portrays José Eligio Ayala (1879-1930), the President of Paraguay in 1923-24 and 1924-28. A manuscript ink note, likely made by George Kreeck, reads: “a present Minister of Finance” (Ayala served as Paraguay’s Minister of Finance in 1928-1930). Four photos show cavalry and infantry regiments of the Paraguayan army, a company of cadets from the local military school, and a group of French officers hired to train Paraguayan officers. The other photos show meat processing plants near Asunción (Frigorifico San Antonio and Frigorifico Liebig’s), piles of treated wood ready for export, and a type of a Paraguayan bull. Overall, a rare collection of large photos of Asunción and Paraguay in the late 1920s.
Frances Parkinson Keyes was a prolific American novelist, journalist, editor and biographer. She gained popularity as the author of memoirs “Letters from a Senator’s Wife,” first published in “Good Housekeeping Magazine” which described her life in Washington with her husband Henry Wilder Keyes, who served as the US Senator in 1919-1937. In 1925-1927, she went on a world trip, travelling from Cuba to Hawaii, South-East Asia, Middle East and Europe, and published articles from her travels in “Good Housekeeping” and “Better Homes and Gardens” magazines. In 1929-1930, she went on another major trip, visiting the Ibero-American Exhibition in Seville and then going around South America (Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile). Her travel notes were published under the title “Silver seas and golden cities: A joyous journey through Latin lands” in 1931.