Philip Holland family photographs, 1923-1927

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Holland family
Philip Holland lived with his wife, Corabelle Anderson, and their children, Philip (Pito) and Isabelle Holland, in Guatemala City from 1923-1927. Philip Holland worked for the U.S. Consul and served as the U.S. Consul General in Guatemala from 1924-1927. Collection consists of four photo albums with approximately 600 gelatin silver prints assembled and maintained by the Holland family during their years in Guatemala, 1923-1927. Three of the albums contain snapshots from the family's life in Guatemala City and travels in the country. The fourth album contains panoramic photographs of Guatemalan landscapes and cities by Boston photographer Henry J. Thayer. The collection's photographs feature the Holland family, especially their children, and their travels through Guatemala; street and market scenes from various towns and cities in Guatemala; church processions and parades; landscapes with Lake Atitlan and surrounding volcanoes, including Fuego and Agua; Mayan ruins, churches, palaces, and other Guatemalan architecture; local potters firing and selling pottery; railroads, streetcars, steamships, and other methods of transportation; the piers and beaches of San Jose, which apparently served as the port city for Guatemala; and various farms from the United Fruit Company. Geographic areas represented in the collection include Guatemala City, Antigua, Tecpan, Chichichastenango, Lake Atitlan, Solola, Escuintla, Panajachel, Quirigua, and the Quetzaltenango Valley.
4 Linear Feet (4 boxes)
600 Items
Material in English, Spanish
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The collection consists of four photograph albums collected and assembled by the Hollands during their time in Guatemala, from 1923-1927. The albums include gelatin silver prints in a variety of sizes, ranging from 2x3 inch snapshots to 3.5x12 inch panoramas. The prints themselves are generally in good condition, but the binding on two of the albums needs repair.

The photographs include a wide range of images, from scenery and landscapes of the Guatemala countryside, to personal photographs of the Holland family and their friends. Album 1, a Kodak 7x12 black album, appears to have been created by Corabelle Anderson, Philip Holland's wife and Pito and Isabelle's mother. The creator has included captions for nearly every photograph, which have been written in ink on the edge of the print. The majority of images in this album are snapshots, highlighting the activities of the family, such as their travels through Guatemala, their home and the American Legation building in Guatemala City, family photographs of the children (including images of Isabelle and Pito playing and posing for the camera), and photographs of Holland's colleagues. Some of the first photographs in the album are of President Harding's memorial service at the American Legation in Guatemala. The album also includes images of Antigua, including its markets, the Agua volcano, and Mayan ruins; coffee farms and fences of the United Fruit Company; church processions and parades in Guatemala City; the American Consulate; San Jose, which appears to have been the family's port when travelling to and from Guatemala; and photographs of the family hunting and hiking in the Guatemala countryside.

Album 2, a brown album labelled Photographs, includes very few captions and has no indication of who created it. It includes additional family photographs, but seems to contain more photographs of Guatemalan people, especially street scenes with Guatemalans in native dress; markets with Guatemalan women selling food or products; local musicians with instruments; and local children. This album also includes images of Guatemala City's Columbus memorial; Tecpan's palace, markets, churches, and people; and more photographs from San Jose, Antigua, and the Agua volcano. There are some duplicates between Albums 1 and 2. Of note are the various means of transportation captured in this album, including automobiles being pulled up a mountain by hand, streetcars in Guatemala City, and mules or horses for traversing rural areas.

Album 3 appears to have been created by Dr. and Mrs. Anderson from 1923-1924. It includes ink captions on the prints, which again are snapshot-sized, as well as a few pages of scrapbook materials (such as cards, clippings, and tickets) in the album's back pages. There are very few images of the Holland family. Instead, a large proportion of the photographs are of travels throughout Guatemala. Scenes include Guatemala City, Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Tecpan, Escuintla, Guatemala City, Solola, Chichicastenango, Patulul, and Quirigua. It also includes images from San Jose's beaches and piers, where the couple seems to have caught a United Fruit Company pacific steamer. Along with landscapes, local architecture and buildings, and street scenes from throughout the country, this album has a few photographs highlighting United Fruit Company's farms, Mayan ruins, volcanoes, Guatemalans in native dress, the firing and selling of pottery, and local markets.

Album 4 consists largely of panoramic photographs, each stamped on the verso or on the mount by Boston photographer Henry J. Thayer. His relationship to the Holland family is not clear, but the album cover is stamped "P.H." Most of Thayer's panoramics are titled, in the negative, directly on the print. The images include Guatemala's West Coast, featuring railroad stations, Mayan ruins near Quirigua, and native huts. Other photographs are from Antigua, including both street scenes and skylines with the Plaza Central, Santa Carolina church, and the Fuego and Agua volcanoes. Guatemala City is another featured city: Thayer's panoramas include its Mapa en Relieve (a scale model public monument of Guatemala's geography, opened in 1904), city vistas and plazas, and a bullfight. Other areas of the country represented in the images include Tecpan, Solola, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan and its surrounding areas, the Quetzaltenango Valley and its local markets and plaza, and the Zacapa desert, among others. Thayer also took occasional pictures highlighting Guatemalan history, with images of the Quetzaltenango monument to Ticam Uman (the last king of the Quiche), the Bridge of the Slaves near Santa Rosa, and Indian mounds near Tecpan. This album had several inserted pages and images, which have been foldered separately to protect the original album. Most of the loose pages are additional panoramas by Thayer, but there are also some black-and-white 6.5x8.5 undated prints taken by the U.S. Army Air Service. These images were clearly taken from the air, and show Guatemalan cities and villages.

Biographical / historical:

Philip Holland was born in 1877 in Murray, Kentucky, and eventually settled in Jackson, Tennessee. He married Corabelle Anderson in 1904, and they had two children: Philip (nicknamed Pito) and Isabelle Holland.

The Holland family spent much of the early 1900s living abroad, with Philip Holland, a lawyer, working for the U.S. Consul. He was first stationed in Puerto Plata, 1910-1911, which was followed by tenures in Saltillo (1911-1913) and Basel, Switzerland (1913-1923). The family moved to Guatemala in 1923, and Holland became U.S. Consul General in Guatemala from 1924-1927. After Guatemala, Holland was stationed in Liverpool from 1929-1938. The family returned to the United States with the outbreak of World War II.

Isabelle Holland, the youngest child, was born in 1920 in Basel, and grew up with her family in Guatemala City and Liverpool. She graduated from Tulane in 1942, and worked in publishing before becoming a published author herself in her 40s. Isabelle wrote over 50 books, mostly fiction for teenagers, including The Man Without a Face (1972). She died in 2002.

Acquisition information:
The Philip Holland family photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2009.
Processing information:

Processed by Meghan Lyon, March 2010

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, March 2010

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2009-0256

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.

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[Identification of item], Philip Holland family photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University