FAULT LINES THROUGH TIME

Today’s post comes to you from Sharf Associate Librarian Rochelle Pienn. Ms. Pienn works exclusively with the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection at The Wolfsonian–FIU Library. During a recent visit to the Sharf residence in Boston, I had the opportunity to select and pack twenty-eight boxes of unique photograph albums, rare books, and scarce reference works to be added to that collection. Stay tuned for future blog posts describing some of these amazing materials amassed by Fred Sharf over a lifetime of collecting and researching European colonial enterprises across the globe, and the rise of the Japanese Empire in the Far East. Here is Ms. Pienn’s report:

In the aftermath of Mexico’s recent earthquake, images of seemingly impassible mounds of rubble dominate the media. Rescue workers scour the landscape for survivors. While those of us in the tropics endure ominous news of impending hurricanes for days in advance of any actual landfall of dangerous storms, earthquake victims continue to remain shocked by the abrupt arrival of unexpected disaster.

The Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection at The Wolfsonian features first-hand historic images of earthquakes from around the world. These 1882 pictures from an original photograph album show the remains of a church in Panama after a catastrophic earthquake.

1PanamaChurch

The WolfsonianFIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

2PanamaSaintStatues

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

The album, which documents the 1881 arrival of the French Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interoceanique Panama Canal construction workers, also features this haunting albumen print of the post-earthquake landscape.

4PanamaRuinesInsteadof2

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

The deadly quake’s wreckage contributed to numerous insurmountable obstacles that eventually compelled the French to withdraw from the project.

Over fifty years later on the other side of the globe, Pakistan fell victim to the great Quetta earthquake of 1935. This period album, compiled by a young, unnamed officer of the British Army, provides a firsthand look at his journey, which begins uneventfully in India.

5QuettaUnnamedGuyCROP

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

After passing through Baluchistan, he survives to show the annihilation.

6QuettaEarthquake

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Previously familiar structures are rendered unrecognizable.

7QuettaRubbleRoads

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

8QuettaDebris

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Our man’s unit is lauded for its role in the cleanup and restoration.

9QuettaViceroy

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

The tragic death toll made for the constantly grim removal of corpses.

10QuettaKilled

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

The album ends with before-and-after photos, and a bit of British gallows humor.

11QuettaBeforeAfter

The Wolfsonian–FIU, gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

To look back in time at more eyewitness accounts of earthquakes and other historic events, visit The Wolfsonian–FIU Library.

 

~ by "The Chief" on October 3, 2017.

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