: views from the Hill

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Siege and Commune of Paris (1870-1871)

His nibs' great great aunt, the peripatetic (and boat and horse and camel and stage coach) traveler, she of the photos of Venice, Japan and elsewhere in the late 1800s, was still in her teens, early twenties, on a trip with her parents when, family legend has it, they were caught up in the siege of Paris. We still have some books around that she bought at the time. French.

Some day (I have fifty or so more years, after all) I will learn me better French than I have and take a crack at reading the things she read while she was cooped up, unable to get home. That's the intent anyway. The old family books in French and Italian and German, the Spanish-Greek dictionary and the like, show that Americans, at least those in his nibs' family, used to be far more fluent in languages than we are today.

Northwestern University's McCormick Library of Special Collections has a terrific collection of photographs and images of the Siege and Commune of Paris (1870-1871).

This site contains links to over 1200 digitized photographs and images recorded during the Siege and Commune of Paris cir.1871. In addition to the images in this set, the Library's Siege & Commune Collection contains 1500 caricatures, 68 newspapers in hard-copy and film, hundreds of books and pamphlets and about 1000 posters. Additions are made regularly.

Search by word or phrase, browse by image type, scroll through the master index (title) and the subject index.

The collection doesn't let you just click [next] and get to the next item, which would be swell. You must click a link, check out the item, go back to the link list, click another link ...

Even so ... you are there and sometimes elsewhere and not always in the narrow date span that the title of the collection implies. Some of the photographs come from the early 1900s, f'rex, and yet, if you like looking at old photographs of people and buildings, come along and wander through this archive.

Amazing thing, this World Wide Web.

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