East African photographs, EEPA 2002-004, circa 1904-1919

Collection ID:
[circa 1904-1919]
Physical Description:
101 photographic prints
(1 box)
black & white
18 x 30 cm. or smaller
Linen covered family album of dark-brown album stock with 24 page and 101 photographic images ranging from small silver gelatin to large toned albumen ones. There are also several postcards and a pencil-drawing showing the owner on the last page. The album was compiled by the German merchant Paul Schaff, who lived and worked in German East-Africa (now Tanzania) in the years between c. 1904-1915. According to an entry in the album, he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st class for serving as a machine gun gunner under the command of General Lettow-Vorbeck in WWI in East-Africa, when the British fought the Germans and ultimately took over the region. According to a caption and a picture in the album, Schaff returned to Germany in 1919. The captions of the images give several locations in Tanzania, typical for the travels of somebody who worked in the colony. There is a caption under a postcard of a street in Dar es Salaam stating "Daressalam, my old domicile." Other photographs show Schaff in Tanga (1904), in Bukoba (1909), and in Kifumbiro as a soldier (1915). The photographs reflect various subjects to include landscapes (Lake Victoria), towns (Dar es Salaam) personal experiences (such as a Christmas celebration), and Africans. Among the latter are stunning high quality depictions of the Luo, here referred to by the German ethnological term Wagaia, and Maasai with an emphasis on dress and adornment. Another set of pictures shows life in a German military post. There are a few, large albumen prints towards the end of the album, which seem to depict German South-West Africa --judging by the dress of women in two images. These photographs might have been presents. Perhaps the owner of the album took a trip to that colony. Inscribed on the album cover are the words, "Zur Erinnerung an Deutsch-Ost-Afrika" [In memory of German East Africa] and a Maasai shield drawn in china ink and colors in the lower corner of the cover. On one of the last pages, there is the halftone color print of a bugle playing Askari, captioned "Deutsche vergesst nicht Eure Kolonien" [Germans do not forget your colonies]. The pencil portrait of the owner on the last page concludes the story line.


Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Conditions Governing Access note
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.

Custodial History note
Custodial History note
Purchased, 2002. Conserved through a preservation grant funded by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee, 2006.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Africa Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographic prints Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre_form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tanzania Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Maasai (African people) Cultural_context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art
National Museum of African Art
P.O. Box 37012
MRC 708
Washington, DC 20013-7012