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Meetings of British, Arab, and Bedouin officials in Amman, Jordan, April 1921



Photographs show meetings between Arab, Bedouin, and British officials around April 17-27, 1921, at Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein's camp at Amman, Jordan. During these meetings British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel proclaimed Amir Abdullah as the ruler of Transjordan, under British protection. Among the persons depicted are, Amir Abdullah, John D. Whiting, possibly Sheik Sultan of the Belka, Sultan ibn 'Ali id Diab ul 'Adwan, Amir Shaker bin Zeid (future Regent of Transjordan), Bedouin chief Auda Abu Tayi, Sheik Majid Pasha el Adwan, Herbert Samuel, British civil administrator Wyndham Deedes, British diplomat Albert Abramson, T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), and possibly Iraq civil administrator Gertrude Bell. Also shown are horse racing, an airplane landing at Abdullah's camp, Circassian leaders, Abudullah's bodyguard on camels, and Herbert Samuel reading his proclamation of Abdullah as leader of Transjordan.
Photographs were created by the photographers of the American Colony Photo Department, located in Jerusalem. Founded in the late 1890s by Elijah Meyers, the photo agency was headed during its heyday (ca. 1903-1933) by Lewis Larsson, whose staff photographers included Erik Lind, Lars Lind, Furman Baldwin, and G. Eric Matson. It transitioned into the Matson Photo Service around 1940, with photography by Matson, Hanna Safieh, Joseph H. Giries, and others. John D. Whiting contributed periodically to the work of both agencies. The images in this album were probably taken by Lewis Larsson, Lars Lind and/or Eric Matson. For more information see: and
Some caption information for these photographs based on information from matching negatives in the G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection (LC-M32-1942, LC-M32-1952, LC-M32-1951, LC-M32-1954, LC-M32-1956, M32-1957, and LC-M32-50280-x).
Album unpaginated, album page numbers supplied by Library staff. Pages 1-2 and verso of each page are blank.
One unattached photograph was found with the album and is stored with it. Photograph is a portrait of a Jordanian(?) man in traditional dress. Blind stamp: Hagop Berberian, Amman. Stamped on verso: Copyright reserved. By appointment to H.M. the King, photographers Hagop Berberian & Son.
More information about the events and people depicted in the album are available in the John D. Whiting Supplementary Archive, Box 1.
LOT title devised by Library staff.
John D. Whiting's diaries, correspondence, and other materials are located in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division (Papers of John D. Whiting).
Forms part of: Visual materials from the papers of John D. Whiting (Library of Congress).
Transfer; Manuscript Division; 2006; (DLC/PP-2006:051:29).

American Colony, a non-denominational utopian Christian community was founded by a small group of American expatriates in Ottoman Palestine in 1881. The collection is a gift to the Library of Congress from the board of directors of the American Colony of Jerusalem, Ltd., which is made up of American, British, and Swedish descendants of the early colonists. The materials in the collection were initially retained by Bertha Vester in connection with her writing of the memoir Our Jerusalem (1950), and later by her daughter-in-law Valentine Vester and others at the American Colony Hotel. The collection focuses on the personal and business life of the colony from the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, through World War I and the British Mandate, and into the formation of the state of Israel. The bulk of the materials dates from 1870 to 1968 and relates to the leadership of the colony by members of the Spafford, Vester, and Whiting families. Photographs show members of the American Colony, a Christian community in Jerusalem founded by immigrants from the United States and Sweden. Includes photographs of American Colony leader Anna Spafford, her daughters Bertha (Spafford) Vester and Grace (Spafford) Whiting, Frederick Vester (husband of Bertha), John D. Whiting (husband of Grace), and her grandchildren (Anna Grace, Horatio, Tanetta and John (Jock) Vester, and Spafford and David (Whiting). Primarily portraits and photographs of the grandchildren as they take part in various activities, such as playing at the beach, participating in a July 4th pageant, having tea, celebrating first birthday, riding on a donkey, playing musical instruments, playing in garden and snow. Also includes a photograph of the American Colony store with Frederick Vester. Album page image number 1-12 (inside front cover-p. 11) Photographs include: a family portrait of Whiting and Vester families: Standing left to right: Jacob Spafford, Grace and John Whiting, Frederick and Anna Grace Vester; seated: Anna Spafford holding John (Jock) Vester?, Horatio Vester, Bertha Vester holding unidentified baby; floor: Tenetta Vester, Spafford and David Whiting. Grace Whiting holding Spafford, Anna Spafford holding David?; Jock and David in baby carriage, baby and toddler portraits, child playing outside with nurse, Spafford? celebrating first birthday, July 22, 1911; donkey ride, tea time, July 22, 1912; Spafford playing in leaves, feeding a horse and playing with water faucet, July 1911; family outing, portrait of Vester children, bath time for Spafford, and Vester children playing at the beach. Album page image number 13-26 (p. 12-25) Photographs include: Whiting family portrait (Grace, Spafford, John D.) 1911, Vester family portrait (Frederick, Anna Grace, Bertha), Bertha with Anna Grace on her back, Vester children playing in the garden and playing musical instruments with friends, Jock Vester and David Whiting feeding a turkey, Spafford Whiting in a baby carriage, Vester children pose with friends, Yates family, great grandmother Mary Whiting holding Spafford, children playing in the snow, Jacob Spafford? with child, Granny Hornstein, Selim Barakat, Vester children with Spafford, children with umbrellas, children on sled, woman and little girl standing outside, Anna Grace sitting with Tanetta and Horatio?, girls playing with dog, July 4th pageant (little boys lined up holding toy rifles), American Colony store with Frederick Vester standing out front, unidentified child with Spafford? and David? sitting in the grass, unidentified woman in Arab dress holding a child, Grace Whiting having tea with women, John D. Whiting and child riding on a donkey, David playing with plants, Whiting and Vester families at Ein Karem, David Whiting, and Spafford Whiting playing with hammer and wooden crates.

The G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection is a source of historical images of the Middle East. The majority of the images depict Palestine (present-day Israel and the West Bank) from 1898 to 1946. Most of the Library of Congress collection consists of over 23,000 glass and film photographic negatives and transparencies created by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor firm, the Matson Photo Service. The American Colony Photo Department in Jerusalem was one of several photo services operating in the Middle East before 1900. Catering primarily to the tourist trade, the American Colony and its competitors photographed holy sites, often including costumed actors recreating Biblical scenes. The firm’s photographers were residents of Palestine with knowledge of the land and people that gave them an advantage and made their coverage intimate and comprehensive. They documented Middle East culture, history, and political events from before World War I through the collapse of Ottoman rule, the British Mandate period, World War II, and the emergence of the State of Israel. The Matson Collection also includes images of people and locations in present-day Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. Additionally, the firm produced photographs from an East African trip. The collection came to the Library of Congress between 1966 and 1981, through a series of gifts made by Eric Matson and his beneficiary, the Home for the Aged of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Los Angeles (now called the Kensington Episcopal Home).





American Colony (Jerusalem). Photo Department, photographer
Whiting, John D. (John David), 1882-1951, photographer
Larsson, Lewis, photographer
Matson, G. Eric (Gästgifvar Eric), 1888-1977, photographer




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