The photographs are cityscapes and landscapes taken by Burton E. Ashley in Egypt, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia during the early 1930s and early 1950s. The images include views of Cape Town, South Africa; Cairo, Egypt; Port Said, Egypt, and Mozambique. Architecture depicted includes buildings in Tanzania, a mission in Zambia and the Mohammed Ali Mosque in Cairo. Additionally, there are images of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and rivers and waterfalls including the Luangwa, Nile, Zambezi and Victoria Falls. The collection also includes photos of animals, geological features and vegetation.
This collection is comprised of photographic and manuscript materials, primarily created by Eliot Elisofon to document his travels and work. The images portray many aspects of African life and culture including agriculture, wildlife, archaeology, architecture, art and artisans, children, cityscapes and landscapes, leaders, markets, medicine, recreation, ritual and celebration, and transportation. The manuscript materials include correspondence, essays, clippings, puobligations, notes, research, and itineraries.