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Latin America and the Caribbean in Photographs at the Library of Congress

Photographically Illustrated Books

The Prints & Photographs Division is home to a variety of photographically illustrated books depicting Latin America and the Caribbean. These books have photographic prints tipped into the pages. The division also has several rare books on South America that contain photomechanical prints, such as collotypes and duotone screen-prints. You may request the books listed below in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room.

Most of the Library’s photobooks (books with pictures photomechanically printed directly on the pages) are in the General Collections. Please search for them in the Library's central online catalog and request them in the Jefferson or Adams building reading rooms. The Library's central online catalog also contains photobooks that are considered rare and can only be viewed in the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room. The Rare Book and Special Collections Division also has a local card catalog that describes rare books not listed in the online catalog, so researchers are encouraged to submit an inquiry using Ask-A-Librarian.

Views of the Islands by Morris Daniels (Antigua, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Kitts, & Saint Vincent)

Created by Morris Daniels, a “tourist and visitor,” likely an American, this book contains 107 photos depicting landmarks, city streets, homes, and people in the Lesser Antilles. Daniels photographed Saint-Pierre, Martinique before 1902, when Mount Pelée erupted, destroying the city. He also took photos of the funeral procession for the Bishop of Martinique Étienne-Joseph-Frédéric Tanoux in 1899.

Avenida Central by Marc Ferrez (Brazil)

In 1902, newly elected Brazilian President Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves and the appointed Mayor of Rio de Janeiro Francisco Franco Pereira Passos implemented a plan to renovate the Avenida Central in the capital. Marc Ferrez (1843-1923) agreed to photograph the project and would produce a large, limited edition book, illustrated by collotypes. Unfortunately, over half of the copies were destroyed in a flood, making the library’s volume exceptionally rare.

National Steel Company by Erich Joachim Hess (Brazil)

This book pictures the Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional in Brazil in the mid-twentieth century. It contains photos by German-born photographer Erich Joachim Hess (1911-1995), who migrated to Brazil in 1936 to escape the Nazis. Hess was also employed by the Serviço do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional, the Serviço Especial de Saúde Pública, and Panair do Brasil.

Album Historico Fotografíco by Gil Gelpí y Ferro and Leopoldo Varela y Suárez (Cuba)

Born in Tossa de Mar in Catalonia, Spain, Gil Gelpí y Ferro (1822-1890) moved to Cuba in 1864 and was employed by La Prensa, a newspaper in Havana. He went on to become a leading expert on Cuba, publishing his own paper, La Constancia, and many books, such as this Album Historico Fotografíco, documenting the Ten Years’ War between Cuban revolutionaries and Spain between 1868 and 1878. Gelpí y Ferro illustrated the book with photographs by Leopoldo Varela y Suárez.

Che! Wah! Wah! by George G. Street (Mexico)

In 1882, agents representing four railroad companies operating in the mid-western and western United States and Mexico invited 63 American railroad employees on a trip aboard a private train to Chihuahua, Mexico. Among those invited were George G. Street, a General Accountant for the Blue Line in Rochester, New York and R.D. Cleveland, a Traveling Auditor for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad in Burlington, Vermont. Street documents the journey in this book, which includes photographs by Cleveland.

Cités et Ruines Américaines by Désiré Charnay (Mexico)

French expeditionary archaeologist and photographer Claude-Joseph-Désiré Charnay (1828-1915) visited Mexico on multiple occasions between 1857 and 1880. From 1858 to 1860 he photographed Mayan ruins such as Chichén Itzá and Uxmal then published Cités et Ruines Américaines, a book containing photographs up to two and a half feet in length. Charnay dedicated the book to Emperor Napoleon III who ordered the French invasion of Mexico in 1861.

Guanajuato, Mérida, Pvebla, Tasco, & Tepic by Enrique A. Cervantes (Mexico)

A civil engineer, photographer and preservationist, Cervantes (1898-1953) created a series of photographically illustrated books documenting historic landmarks, colonial architecture, decorative arts, and urban living in cities throughout Mexico between 1928 and 1942.

Gvadalaxara Colonial by José Cornejo Franco (Mexico)

Published by the Cámara Nacional de Comercio e Industria de Guadalajara, this book contains a history of colonial Guadalajara, Mexico by José Cornejo Franco (1900-1977), illustrated with photogravures by Juan L. Arauz, Luis G. Castañeda, and Ignacio Gómez Gallardo. The gravures depict colonial architecture throughout the city.

Álamos by Richard J. Elkus (Mexico)

Born in San Francisco, Elkus (1910-1999) was a banker and paper manufacturer in the Bay Area. He also practiced photography and photographed Álamos, a town in Sonora, Mexico. A confident of President Richard Nixon, who appointed him to a Presidential Commission on Mental Retardation and dispatched him on diplomatic missions to India and West Germany, Elkus dedicated his book Álamos to “Dickie,” presumably Nixon.

The New Incas by Paul Yule (Peru)

Illustrated with duotone screen-prints made from photographs by South African-born English photographer Paul Yule (b.1956), The New Incas depicts Andean Indian society and culture in and around Cuzco in the mid- to late-twentieth century. It contains a print of Julia Chambi, the daughter of indigenous photographer Martín Chambi (1891-1973), outside Foto Chambi. Yule went on to co-direct with Andrew Harries (b.1954) a documentary film entitled Martín Chambi and the Heirs of the Incas (1986, not in the Library’s collection).