Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Images of Egypt

Scores of commercial photographers, seeking to establish their studios, began arriving in Egypt around 1850. They hauled heavy equipment across the desert to photograph the wonders of the Nile Valley. Some opened studios in the larger cities where they sold their wares to tourists; a few were engaged by Egyptologists to document excavations. By the late nineteenth century, travelers exploring the monuments of ancient Egypt could return home with souvenir photographs of the sights they encountered.

The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Tennessee holds hundreds of photographs of Egypt taken in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Featured in this digital collection are over 200 photographs, including the work of well-known pioneering photographers of Egypt such as Felix Bonfils, J. Pascal Sébah, and the Zangaki Brothers. Subjects include landscapes, archaeological sites, temples and tombs, and tourists in Egypt. Some are in the form of souvenir postcards, which were popular with Euro-American travelers. Many of these photographs were donated to the McClung Museum by husband and wife, Louis Bailey and Eleanor Audigier, mementos of their 1913 trip. Others were a gift from Marcia S. Young.

Send comments and questions concerning this collection to:
McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Tennessee Knoxville,