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Father Carney Gavin legacy collection of Holy Land photographs

 Collection
Call Number: GEN MSS 1724

Scope and Contents

The Father Carney Gavin legacy collection of Holy Land photographs documents early photography of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in the 1860s and 1870s, as well as early twentieth century archaeological excavations and travel in Iraq, Greece, Egypt, and Palestine. Included are images by M. J. Diness, the Bonfils family, Francis Frith, Abdullah frères, G. Lékégian, J. P. Sébah, and Zangaki. Also present are stereoscopic views of Jerusalem and Palestine produced by Underwood & Underwood in circa 1900. The collection was assembled by Father Carney Gavin, primarily through gifts of photograph collections and single items to the Archives of Historical Documentation, in the 1990s and 2000s. It contains photographic prints, photograph albums, glass lantern slides, cartes-de-visite, stereographs, panoramas, writings and exhibition files, printed material, and electronic and audiovisual media.

The bulk of the records consists of six collections: portfolios of albumen prints of street scenes and buildings of Cairo assembled by Arthur Rhoné, author of an early French guidebook for Egypt; modern platinum and silver gelatin prints of Jerusalem, created by photographer John Barnier in the early 1990s from original collodion wet plate negatives of Diness; photograph albums and prints of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, collected by physician Ralph C. Marcove; cartes-de-visite owned by Catherine C. Haynes, a teacher at Robert College in Istanbul in the 1870s; albumen prints of Mecca and Medina by Muḥammad Ṣādiq Bey, an Egyptian army engineer; and photograph albums and prints assembled by Mathilde Pfeiffer, wife of archaeologist Robert Pfeiffer, showing Harvard University-Baghdad School excavations in Kirkuk, Iraq, and the couple's travels in Egypt, Palestine, and Greece in the 1920s. The Pfeiffer collection also contains film reels of the Holy Land, Baalbek, and Kirkuk, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Also included are Ermete Pierotti's Jerusalem explored, two portfolios containing photographs of Mecca and Medina by al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Ghaffār, glass lantern slides depicting the Middle East, the Americas, and Europe, and professional papers of Carney Gavin, as well as film of the Kirkuk excavation, shot by Fogg Art Museum archaeologist Richard F. S. Starr in 1929, and film of travel to Egypt and Palestine in the 1920s.

Dates

  • 1820-2013
  • Majority of material found within 1860-1993

Creator

Language of Materials

In French and English, with some materials in German.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 55-63 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 64-68 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Father Carney Gavin Legacy Collection of Holy Land Photographs is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William J. Corsetti, 2012.

Arrangement

Organized into nine series: I. Mari-Cha/Rhoné Collection, 1865–1885. II. Mari-Cha/Barnier-Diness Collection, circa 1990–1993. III. Ralph C. Marcove Collection, circa 1860s-1890s. IV. Catherine C. Haynes Collection, 1850–1921. V. Sadiq Bey Collection, 1880. VI. Mathilde Pfeiffer Collection, 1928–1993. VII. Other Photographs and Papers, 1838-1910s, undated. VIII. Carney Gavin Professional Papers, 1820–2013. IX. Computer and Audiovisual Media, 1929-circa 2001.

Extent

67.40 Linear Feet ((67 boxes) + 1 broadside)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.gavin

Overview

The Father Carney Gavin legacy collection of Holy Land photographs documents early photography of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in the 1860s and 1870s, as well as early twentieth century archaeological excavations and travel in Iraq, Greece, Egypt, and Palestine. Included are images by M. J. Diness, the Bonfils family, Francis Frith, Abdullah frères, G. Lékégian, J. P. Sébah, and Zangaki. Also present are stereoscopic views of Jerusalem and Palestine produced by Underwood & Underwood in circa 1900. The collection was assembled by Father Carney Gavin, primarily through gifts of photograph collections and single items to the Archives of Historical Documentation, in the 1990s and 2000s. It contains photographic prints, photograph albums, glass lantern slides, cartes-de-visite, stereographs, panoramas, writings and exhibition files, printed material, and electronic and audiovisual media.

Carney E. S. Gavin (1939-2014)

Carney E. S. Gavin, American museum curator, archaeologist, and Catholic priest, was born in Boston in 1939 to Grayce Carney and Patrick Gavin. He received a BA in Classics from Boston College in 1959 and a PhD in Near Eastern languages from Harvard University in 1973. Gavin was Curator of Near Eastern Art and Archaeology at Harvard’s Semitic Museum (now the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East) from 1974 to 1993, and he also served as the museum’s associate director (1980-1986) and executive director (1986-1993). Throughout his career he worked to locate, catalog, and preserve early Middle Eastern photographs. In 1994 he established the Archives for Historical Documentation (AHD) in Brighton, Massachusetts; one of the organization’s primary projects was locating the earliest photographs of the Holy Land. The AHD's collection included prints, cartes-de-visite, photo albums, stereographs, glass lantern slides, and films documenting Middle Eastern cultural heritage. Gavin was ordained as a Catholic priest in Austria in 1965 and served as a longtime pastor for St. Columbkille’s Parish in Brighton. He died in 2014.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are are based on those provided by the creators or previous custodians. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
Title
Guide to the Father Carney Gavin Legacy Collection of Holy Land Photographs
Status
Completed
Author
by Brooke McManus
Date
September 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

Contact:
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977

Location

121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.