Oblong Folio album (ca. 25,5x30,5 cm). 22 card stock leaves. With 165 mounted original photographs (153 mounted and 12 loosely inserted), including 154 gelatin silver photos from ca. 18,5x23,5 cm (7 ¼ x 9 ¼ in) to ca. 5x9,5 cm (2 x 3 ¾ in) and eleven cyanotypes from ca. 10x11 cm (4 x 4 ½ in) to ca. 5,5x7,5 cm (2 ¼ x 3 in). Over thirty photos with period pencil or ink captions on verso. About a dozen photos captioned or numbered in negative; about twenty photos with studios’ ink stamps on verso. Period maroon pebbled half cloth album with cloth sides; gilt-lettered title “Photographs” on the front board. A couple of photographs with creases and tears on extremities, a couple of images mildly faded; but overall a very good album of strong interesting photos.
Historically significant collection of original vernacular and studio photos, documenting the second Caribbean cruise of the famous Hamburg-America Line ship “Prinzessin Victoria Luise.” The first purpose-built cruise ship, “Prinzessin Victoria Luise,” made her first tour around the West Indies just a year earlier, in 1901, and ended her career in 1906 after wrecking near the coast of Jamaica. During the 1902 cruise, which lasted from February 8 to March 8, the ship visited Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, Trinidad, Curacao, Martinique, Venezuela, etc. The Martinique stop is very important, as the tourists became one of the last visitors to Saint-Pierre, the economic and cultural centre of the island which was completely destroyed during the eruption of Mount Pelée two months later, on May 8, 1902. The album contains several snapshot photos of the city and the volcano, as well as views taken on the way to the mountainous community of Morne Rouge, located on Mount Pelée’s slope (Morne Rouge was also destroyed during the later volcanic eruption on August 30, 1902). Four rare photos, taken by the Saint-Pierre studio of Théodore Célestin before the catastrophe of 1902, show the city’s central square - Place des Monges or Place Bertin, the famous lighthouse on the same square (captioned in pencil “Just after leaving the Quay, St. Pierre”), St. Pierre’s botanical garden and the beach at Carbet “en route from St. Pierre to Fort-de-France.” Other interesting photos include street scenes of Kingston, Havana, San Juan, Port of Spain, Santiago de Cuba, Willemstad, Fort-de-France, a “coolie village” in Trinidad, numerous portraits of the native people, etc.
The photos were taken and collected by Louise Griffin Arnoldson (then still Paterson), a young woman from a wealthy Chicago family. Her father, Joseph Griffin Paterson, worked as an examiner of patents for the United States Patent Office. Louise had the degree of Bachelor of Music (violin) from the American Conservatory of Music and studied languages at the University of Chicago. In 1907 she married Torild W. Arnoldson, the head of the modern language department at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, but divorced him in 1915. In 1916-1920, Mrs. Arnoldson taught French at the University of Utah; in 1920-1948, worked in the Montana State University, retiring as an associate professor. She also studied at the University of Paris, receiving a doctor’s degree in 1934. “Mrs. Arnoldson owned an authentic Amati violin, an heirloom in her family for generations, and was concertmaster of the Montana State University Symphony for several years after her first arrival in Missoula. She was <…> a member of the Modern Language Association and the American Association of University Professors” (Mrs. Arnodlson Dies at 79//The Missoulian (Missoula, Montana), 29 March 1956, p. 5). The album contains several portraits of Louise Arnoldson, including two photos with a violin and a later portrait with her daughter, Astrid H. Arnoldson (1908-1992). Overall an interesting content-rich visual source on the history of early Caribbean cruises, with rare photos of St. Pierre and Morne Rouge shortly before their destruction.
A list of captions: The Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico; The Morro, Havana; Harbor, St. Pierre; Louis; Fort-de-France; Morne Rouge; On the road to Morne Rouge, Martinique; Coolie woman on the road from Blue Basin, Trinidad. Mrs. Barton engaged her in conversation for the convenience of photographer; Trinidad, on road to Blue Basin; Coconut palm grove, Port of Spain, Trinidad; Looking into the Plaza of the Capitol, Curacao; Private house, Valencia, Venezuela; Governor’s House, Port of Spain, Trinidad; The Venezuelan Littoral from the mountains above La Guayra; Curacao, our guide; Curacao; On the beach, Curacao, where my handful of shells were picked up; Park walk and Government House, Curacao, Mr. & Mrs. Parrish [?] and Miss Lee in the distance; Jamaica, sugar mill; Negro cabin on the road to the Bog Walk, Mr. & Mrs. Barton and Mr. Harmon in foreground; On the road to Castleton Gardens, Jamaica; Waterfront, Curacao, Hamburg-American agent going on shore; View from window of Jamaican cabin on the road to Bog Walk, boy climbing cocoanut palm; Girl washing in stream, Bog Walk, Jamaica; Cathedral, Santiago de Cuba; The Morro, Santiago de Cuba; “Remember the Maine;” Captain Sauermann; Cathedral, Havana; Cristobal Colon Cem.; Memorial Arch, Curacao; Diving boys, St. Pierre, Martinique; Street in coolie village, Port of Spain, Trinidad; El Telegrafo, Havana; West Queen Street, Kingston, Jamaica; Duke Street, Kingston, Jamaica; Morro, San Juan; Just after leaving the quay, St. Pierre; Haunted sentry, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Blue Basin up the mountain gorge; Jardin des Plantes [St. Pierre]; Light-house & fountain, Place des Monges, St. Pierre; En route from St. Pierre to Fort de France.
The larger studio photos have the following signatures in negative or ink stamps on verso: “Ramon Corral Fotografo, Habana” (10); “Soublette et Fils, Curacao, W.I.” (4); “Th. Celestin (St. Pierre, Martinique)” (4); “Views of Jamaica, J.W. Cleary, 89 King Street” (2); “Stephens & Scott, The Stores, Trinidad” (1).