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Visual materials from the Papers of John D. Whiting
(John D. Whiting Collection)

Prints and Photographs Division

Collection digitized? Yes, in large part. Twenty-two of the Whiting Collection albums were selected for digitization and are available in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) //www.loc.gov/pictures/ along with descriptive information. See the Access section below for more detailed information on what is available.


Introduction | Biography | Access | Obtaining Reproductions | Related Resources | Permissions and Credits | Selected Bibliography

Introduction

camel pack train outside the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.
Camel pack train
at the Damascus Gate,
Jerusalem, 1919
LOT 13846, p. 15, no. 8
LC-DIG-ppmsca-18417-00008
three Alawi musicians, near Antioch, Turkey
Alawi musicians,
near Antioch, Turkey, 1938
LOT 13841, p. 37, no. 2008
LC-DIG-ppmsca-17416-00067

The photographs in the John D. Whiting Collection document two related subject areas: (1) places, events, and people in the Middle East, and (2) daily life among members and associates at the American Colony in Jerusalem. More than 3,200 images cover the years 1870 to 1951, with the bulk dating from 1900 to 1940. The heart of the collection is twenty-eight photograph albums that offer a visual narrative through many captioned images. There are also panoramic photos, stereographs, individual photo prints, transparencies, and negatives. John D. Whiting (1882-1951), other American Colony photographers (including Eric Matson and Lewis Larsson), and the Matson Photo Service took most of the images, some of which are hand-colored.

A major part of the collection portrays people, places, events, architecture, and historic sites in Palestine (present-day Israel, West Bank and the Gaza Strip); Lebanon; Jordan; Syria; and Turkey. Especially significant are two albums documenting Palestine during World War I and the early British Mandate period. The "Diaries in Photos" albums include photographs taken primarily by Whiting during his 1930s trips in the Middle East with tourists, British officials, family, friends, and others. Many other albums depict the lives and activities of American Colony members, such as the Whiting and Vester families. Images show their residences, trips, social gatherings, charitable works, and friends and associates.

The papers of John D. Whiting, businessman, photographer, author, tour guide, and intelligence officer, were given to the Library of Congress by Wendy Whiting Blome and John F. Whiting in 2005-2006.

Biography of Whiting

John Whiting with wife Grace and son Spafford
John Whiting with wife Grace and son Spafford,
ca. 1910
LOT 13845, p. 12, no. 333
LC-DIG-ppmsca-18415-00033
John Whiting with Emir Abdullah of Transjordan
John Whiting with Emir Abdullah of Transjordan,
Amman, 1921
LOT 13834, p. 7, no. 3
LC-DIG-ppmsca-15304-00003
John Whiting (right) with Eric Matson (left) and Dr. Fevzi Osman, share breakfast at a coffee shop
John Whiting (right) with Eric Matson (left) and Dr. Fevzi Osman,
Ürgüp, Turkey, 1935
LOT 13837, p. 29, no. 787
LC-DIG-ppmsca-17164-00050

John D. Whiting (1882-1951) was a notable member of the American Colony, a Christian community of Americans, Swedes, and others based in Jerusalem. Born in 1882, a year after his parents John C. and Mary Whiting immigrated to Jerusalem with other Colony members, Whiting lived most of his life in the city. In 1909, he married Grace Spafford (1881-1964) the daughter of Horatio and Anna Spafford, the Colony's founders. The Whitings raised three children; sons Spafford, David, and Edmund Wilson. A daughter, Grace, died in infancy in 1915.

John Whiting led a varied and multi-faceted professional life in Jerusalem. He worked with the American Colony Photo Department as a photographer and also helped run the business. With his brother-in-law, Frederick Vester, he was a partner and manager of the Vester & Co.-American Colony Store near the Jaffa Gate, where American Colony Photo Department prints, lantern slides, and postcard images were sold along with other merchandise. He was involved in starting a short-lived New York City branch of the American Colony Store, which failed due to economic recession. Whiting was fluent in Arabic. He collected antiquities such as pottery and figurines that were sold at the store, as well as Palestinian needlework and other artifacts. From 1908 to around 1915, Whiting was deputy American consul for Jerusalem, specializing in issues of commerce and agriculture. During World War I he supplied aid to wounded soldiers as a volunteer with the Turkish Red Crescent and the American Colony Nurses. In 1918 he began service as an intelligence officer for the British Army. Whiting had widespread knowledge of the landscapes and historic sites of the Middle East. He often guided visitors on tours of Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. He wrote numerous articles for National Geographic Magazine illustrated with photographs produced by the American Colony Photo Department and its successor studio, the Matson Photo Service. (See Selected Bibliography).

Access

Twenty-two of the Whiting Collection albums were selected for digitization and are available in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) (//www.loc.gov/pictures/) along with descriptive information. These album images can be seen in two viewing arrangements:

  • an image grid that enables you to select and view each image along with its caption [view an example]
  • a "pageturner" album view that enables you to look at how the images appear on the album pages in sequence from cover to cover [view an example]

Selected individual images from other albums and photographs in the collection are also available online. The digital scans were made by a contractor, DataTrac, in 2007 and 2008. We ask researchers to use the digital images to help preserve the original materials.

All P&P Whiting collection materials are listed below with links to online images or descriptive information in PPOC. The list is organized in two categories: "Views, Events, and People of the Middle East" and "American Colony Life, Members, and Associates," based on the predominant subject of the images.

Views, Events, and People of the Middle East

Grocery store, Tel Aviv, 1936
Grocery store, Tel Aviv, 1936
LOT 13839, p. 40, no. 1142
LC-DIG-ppmsca-17412-00072
Motor boat on way to Dead Sea, 1917
Motor boat on way to Dead Sea, 1917
LOT 13833, p. 56, no. 197
LC-DIG-ppmsca-13709-00198

Albums

Diary in photos, vol. I, 1934-1935
Call number: LOT 13836
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17162

Diary in photos, vol. II, 1936-1937
Call number: LOT 13839
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17412

Diary in photos, vol. III, 1938
Call number: LOT 13840
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17414

Diary in photos, vol. IV, 1938
Call number: LOT 13841
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17416

Diary in photos, vol. V, 1939
Call number: LOT 13842
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17418

Trip to Cappadocia, 1935, vol. I
Call number: LOT 13837
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17164

Trip to Cappadocia, 1935, vol. II
Call number: LOT 13838
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.17410

World War I in Palestine and the Sinai
Call number: LOT 13833
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.13709

World War I and the British Mandate in Palestine
Call number: LOT 13827
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.13291

Meetings of British, Arab, and Bedouin officials in Amman, Jordan, April 1921
Call number: LOT 13834
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.15304

Hand-colored photographs of Jerusalem and Palestine
Call number: LOT 13846
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18417

Photographs of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Call number: LOT 13847
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18419

Bedouins in Jordan and other locations
Call number: LOT 13852
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18429

Photographs of the West Bank, Jordan, and Syria
Call number: LOT 13853
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18431

Photographs of architectural monuments in Jerusalem, Syria, and Egypt
Call number: LOT 13854
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18433

Photographs of the Dead Sea and surrounding area
Call number: LOT 13855
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18435

Photographs of Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria
Call number: LOT 13856
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18437

Dead Sea album prepared for the Palestine Potash Ltd
Call number: LOT 13857
Some photos online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=LOT%2013857&fi=number&op=PHRASE

Photographs of irises
Call number: LOT 13858

Middle East views and American Colony members
Call number: LOT 13859

Photographs

Panoramic photographs of Jerusalem and Haifa
Call number: LOT 13892
All online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=LOT%2013892&fi=number&op=PHRASE

Photographs of Jerusalem gates and other structures (Robertson and Beato)
Call number: LOT 13882

Color transparencies

Call number: PR 13 CN 2006:051:48
Call number: LOT 13934 (reference scans)

Some photos online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=LOT%2013934&fi=call&op=PHRASE&va=exact&co!=coll

American Colony Life, Members, and Associates

American Colony member Josef Larsson, Jerusalem, ca. 1900-1920
American Colony member Josef Larsson,
Jerusalem, ca. 1900-1920
LOT 13849, [p. 38, left]
LC-DIG-ppmsca-18891
American Colony members including Anna Spafford (left) celebrating the Fourth of July with General Allenby
American Colony members
including Anna Spafford (left)
celebrating the Fourth of July
with General Allenby, 1918
LOT 13827, p. 29, no. 86
LC-DIG-ppmsca-13291-00086

Albums

Members and activities of the American Colony (Jerusalem)
Call number: LOT 13835
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.15830

Studio portraits of members of the American Colony (Jerusalem), friends, and associates
Call number: LOT 13843
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18411

Portraits of the Whiting and Spafford families and other members of the American Colony (Jerusalem)
Call number: LOT 13844
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18413

Portraits of the Vester and Whiting families and other members of the American Colony (Jerusalem)
Call number: LOT 13845
All online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18415

Portraits of members of the American Colony (Jerusalem), friends, and associates
Call number: LOT 13848
Some photos online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=lot%2013848&op=PHRASE&va=exact

Members of the American Colony (Jerusalem) and trips
Call number: LOT 13849
Some photos online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=LOT%2013849&op=PHRASE&va=exact

Photographs of an American Colony (Jerusalem) bazaar
Call number: LOT 13850
Some photos online:
//www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=lot%2013850&op=PHRASE&va=exact

Photographs of members of the American Colony (Jerusalem) and Middle East locations
Call number: LOT 13851
Some photos online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=lot%2013851&op=PHRASE&va=exact

Photographs

Photographs related to the American Colony (Jerusalem) and ancient inscriptions
Call number: LOT 13871
Some photos online: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18894

Portraits taken in Jerusalem by the Krikorian studio
Call number: LOT 13872
Some photos online: //www.loc.gov/pictures/search?q=lot%2013872&op=PHRASE&va=exact

Stereographs of the American Colony and Jerusalem
Call number: LOT 13883

Obtaining Reproductions

Users may download images themselves or can order copies through the Library of Congress Duplication Services. Orders must include the reproduction number of the desired image. Example: LC-DIG-ppmsca-17414-00009.

Permissions and Credits

No restrictions are known on publication or other forms of distribution of the images in the John D. Whiting Collection. Please cite the source of the image with the credit line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-DIG-ppmsca-17414-00009].

Related Resources

In the Prints & Photographs Division:

G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection:
//www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/matpc/
Collection of photographs by the American Colony Photo Department and the Matson Photo Studio.

Elsewhere in the Library of Congress

Manuscript Division: //www.loc.gov/rr/mss/

John D. Whiting Papers: Includes diaries, correspondence, subject files, caption lists, photographs and albums including one of the 1915 locust plague in Palestine.
See: John D. Whiting: A Register of His Papers in the Library of Congress:
//lcweb2.loc.gov/service/mss/eadxmlmss/eadpdfmss/2008/ms008123.pdf or
//www.loc.gov/rr/mss/text/whiting.html

New acquisitions: John D. Whiting papers:
//www.loc.gov/rr/mss/acquisitions-adds.html

The American Colony in Jerusalem, 1870-2006:
//memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/americancolony/

American Colony of Jerusalem Papers:
http://lccn.loc.gov/mm2004085137

Virtual exhibit: The American Colony in Jerusalem:
//www.loc.gov/exhibits/americancolony/

Selected Bibliography

Whiting, John D. Samaritanernas pa°skfest i ord och bild: bibliska blodsoffer i va°ra dagar (Samaritans Passover in Words and Pictures: Biblical Blood Sacrifice in our Day). Stockholm: Bonnier, 1917. (Photographs by Lewis Larsson). LC Call Number: BM910 .W48 1917

National Geographic Magazine (NGM) articles written by John D. Whiting
LC Call number: G1 .N27 Copies of NGM issues with Whiting articles are also found in the Manuscript Division John D. Whiting Papers along with correspondence related to the articles.

"Among the Bethlehem Shepherds." NGM 50 (December 1926): 729-753

"Bedouin Life in Bible Lands: the Nomads of the 'House of Hair' Offer Unstinted Hospitality to an American." NGM 71 (January 1937): 58-83

"Bethlehem and the Christmas Story." NGM 56 (December 1929): 699-736

"Canoeing down the River Jordan." NGM 78 (December 1940): 781-808

"From Jerusalem to Aleppo." NGM 24 (January 1913): 71-113

"Jerusalem's Locust Plague." NGM 28 (December 1915): 511:550.

"Last Israelitish Blood Sacrifice." NGM 37 (January 1920):1-46.

"Petra, Ancient Caravan Stronghold." NGM 67 (February 1935): 129-165

"Village life in the Holy Land." NGM 25 (March 1914): 249-314

"Where Early Christians Lived in Cones of Rock: A Journey in Cappadocia in Turkey." NGM 76 (December 1939): 763-802.


Acknowledgments: P&P staff including Arden Alexander, Verna Curtis, Charls Jenkins, Rebecca Johnson, Jennifer Kister, Anne Mitchell, Barbara Natanson, Antoinette O'Bryant, Phil Michel, Meredith Rizzo, Jessica Seo, and Helena Zinkham helped make the Whiting collection available in PPOC. Barbara Bair, Manuscript Division, was the acquisitions officer and served as consultant for the project.

Text prepared by Arden Alexander. Last updated Dec. 2009.

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