Oblong Folio Album (ca. 29x35 cm). 32 card stock leaves. With 125 mounted gelatin silver photographs, all ca. 12,5x12,5 cm (5x5 in). All photos with period printed captions in French on the paper labels, mounted on the leaves. With a mounted lithographed map of the route ca. 21,5x26,5 cm (8 ½ x 10 ¼ in). Period brown full sheep album. Album slightly rubbed on extremities and with minor losses on the top and bottom of the spine. Overall a very good album of rare interesting photos.
Historically significant extensive collection of original photos, documenting a 1948 trip of a truck convoy from Gabes (Tunisia) to Fort Lamy (N’Djamena, the capital of Chad), by a group of French military and civil officials, including Pierre Chatenet (1917-1997), future French Minister of the Interior (1959-1961) and a member of the Constitutional Council (1968-1977). The photos are supplemented with carefully attached printed captions which, according to its front cover. The album ia addressed to General Louis Dio, a distinguished French military officer, mostly known for his WW2 service in the French colonies in North, West and Equatorial Africa and his participation in the liberation of Paris and Strasbourg.
The expedition starts with several views of southern Tunisia, showing the expedition trucks in Tatahouine (Tataouine) and l’Oued Djeneien (Al-Janain). The crossing of the eastern Libyan desert resulted in thirty-two photos of Dune de Kneir, Sebha (Sabha) fort, trucks regrouping at Ghoddua (Ghadduwah), Mourzouk (Murzuq – fort and city, mosque, the tomb of Colonel Colonna D’Ornano), Tragen (Taraghin), truck repairs at Dune de Medjdoul, the fort of Gatroun (Qatrun), and several photos of the desert at Uigh-el-Kebir (including a view of a broken WW2 plane of General Philippe Leclerc’s air force).
Most of the photos in the collection (86) document the crossing of Chad, starting with Murizidie (Mouri Idie), where some trucks got stuck in the sand. Then follow the views of the Corizo/Kourizo Pass, “the first tree after Gatroun,” “Aigulles de Sisse” (Tibesti Mountains), Enneri Tao, Zouarke, the town of Zouar (dinner with “Captain le Gall,” camp of Senegalese Tirailleurs, huts of Gorane/Toubou people), Enneri Sherda, Enneri Maro, Enneri Taous, the fort and city of Largeau (Faya-Largeau – general and street views, library, market, private house, the old fort covered in sand, native hunters, Toubou women, prisoners), portraits of young Toubou girls offering camel milk at Tangalea, Korotoro military post, hunting scenes (antelopes, hyena, ostrich), expedition members resting in the savanna, Salal (general view, a group of native women and children), and Moussoro (general view, a column of prisoners). Twenty photos show Fort Lamy/N’Djamena: the trucks’ arrival and camp, city streets with electric poles and wires (“l’avenue electric”), mosque, market, entrance to a native shop, the confluence of the Chari and Logone Rivers, Chari River bank with Cameroon on the other side, crossing the river on the motor ferry to Cameroon, portraits of native water carriers, pirogue boatsmen, and others.
The collection includes two group portraits of the expedition members, listed as “MM. Chatenet, Branet, Delastre, Meunier, Vichot, Guyonnet, Grabette”, and “Commandant Dubois” (two other photos also portray “Dr. Delastre”). There are also lively scenes with the travellers setting up tents, fixing trucks, clearing roads, cooking and eating dinner, &c. Several photos show the expedition trucks with visible signs “TAT Tunisie-Tchad” on the sides. Two photos at rear show the expedition crew on their return to Medinine (Tunisia). Overall an interesting extensive archive of rare original photos, showing the little-visited desert and mountainous regions in eastern Chad and Libya.