First Images from TALIM’s Collection of Glass Negatives Made Available on Archnet

Rue Portugal

One of the negatives depicting rue Portugal

Guest post by Michael A. Toler, Archnet Content Manager, AKDC@MIT

The Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (AKDC@MIT) has recently made available via Archnet, a first batch of scans from TALIM’s collection of glass negatives dating back to the first decades of the 20th century and depicting various locations in the Mediterranean.

The collection of approximately 2,000 images is believed to be the work of photographer Paul Ruedi, a Spanish resident of the city of Tangier between 1900 to 1930. The collection of slides features more images of Tangier than any other city, but there are also numerous photographs of locations throughout Morocco, as well as sites in Algeria, France, Spain and other parts of the Mediterranean. To read more about the collection, click here.

The decision by AKDC@MIT to host the images on Archnet came out of a meeting that took place during the 2013 Annual Conference of the Middle East Studies Association in New Orleans. I arranged a meeting between Sharon C. Smith, Program Head of the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT; Gerald Loftus, then Director of TALIM, and Rachid Aadnani, Lecturer of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Wellesley College to explore possibilities of a collaboration in order to bring the slides online and create an internship opportunity for a dedicated student to help with the process.

TALIM's Glass Negatives on ARCHNET

TALIM’s Glass Negatives on ARCHNET

Recognizing the importance of both preserving these fragile, old slides, many of which were already damaged, and the importance of making the unique, visually captivating, and historically important images they contained available to the scholarly community and the general public, AKDC@MIT committed the resources necessary to catalog and make the digital versions of the majority of the images available on Archnet.

Glass negative depicting the Customs House in the Port

Glass negative depicting the Customs House in the Port

Wellesley College through its Program in Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for Work and Service (CWS) recruited and committed a student intern, Talin Ghazarian to TALIM during the past summer. The intern’s main task was to pick up on the image scanning work begun by Beatrice St. Laurent, Professor of Art History at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, over the course of several summers. Click here for information on a exhibit of the photographs Beatrice put together of the photos she scanned.

Black and white photograph of courtyard in front of the Moroccan Pavilion

B &W photo of the courtyard in front of the Moroccan Pavilion


This project is still in its early stages and it will take some time to catalog all the images, but we will steadily make them available as we do. Currently there are just over 100 images online. Please follow this blog or the social media of Archnet to stay informed about updates to the collection.

You can also see new and historic images of the Legation on Archet, with more to come, soon.  Some time next year you can also expect to hear more about the Paul Bowles Moroccan music recordings previously announced in the blog, as we are waiting to receive digitized material from the Library of Congress.

About Admin

Michael is the Content Manager for Archnet, Secretary for the Board of TALIM, and administrator of this site.

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