As you may already know, Haverford’s Special Collections has a wealth of material, from Quaker family papers to fine art to rare books. Because of this, our jobs here in the library often involve working with a variety of material. Though my primary project this summer is all about the Morris-Shinn-Maier collection, I have also begun working on the preservation of photos from the Hurley-Waring collection.
Though only part of my side project, these photographs are absolutely fascinating. The photographs were taken by Alston Waring, as he and his wife, Beulah Hurley, traveled around the world. There are about 10 photo albums, and they include locations all over Europe and Asia.
The photographs that have interested me the most from this collection are images Alston Waring took while they were in Paris, France. I took a trip to Paris only last summer with my mother, and going through these photos feels almost like a strange déjà-vu; I saw (and took my own pictures of) so many of the same things when I was in Paris, yet Alston and Beulah were there in 1918!
The more photos I came across of sites I visited, the more simultaneously similar and different our visits seemed. This thought led me to the idea of comparing our trips through their photographs of 1918 Paris and images of Paris today.
Once in Paris, I took to the streets, eager to experience Paris. I know that Alston and Beulah did as well, because in their photo album this image: has the caption, “Early morning on the boulevards.” Though I’m sure we all enjoyed the experience, my walk through the Parisian streets looked quite different:
I know Alston and Beulah saw many of the same things my mother and I saw (as well as countless other tourists between us and since), because their albums are full of old black-and-white versions of photos I might have taken. Alston has a couple images, titled “Flower-mart in Old Paris.”
They reminded me clearly of vendors I saw, selling books and posters along the banks of the Seine river:
One of my favorite parts of the trip with my mother was the day that we took a walking tour of Montmartre. We walked all the way up through the narrow and hilly streets, stopping to window shop and try baguettes which were voted the best in France. When we arrived at the very top, we stood with crowds of other tourists to gaze up at the Basilica of the Sacré Cœur and out over Paris.
Last summer, Montmartre
and the Basilica looked
something like this,
but in the Hurley-Waring photo collection,
I found this photo, in which the
Basilica looks almost lonely.
I love Special Collections because of the opportunity to have experiences like this, in which I feel a fond familiarity with the material while at the same time every photograph is novel and fascinating.
For more information on this collection, or any other material here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or (even better!) come visit us in person.