New York Public Library Publishes Unique Photo Archive of Georgia

The New York Public Library released more than 180,000 digitalized free images; among them are unseen and unique photo archives of the Caucasus, which is available for free download.

The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.

A collection of about 400 photo copies by late American diplomat and photographer George Kennan (1845-1924) was published by the Library.

Kennan provided ethnographies, histories and descriptions of many native peoples of the Caucasus region, which had been annexed by the Russian Empire. There he became the first American to explore its highlands, a remote Muslim region of herders, silversmiths, carpet-weavers and other craftsmen.

In 1936 he paid a visit to Georgia, jotting down his perceptions into his journal that he had kept throughout his long career.

"The Georgians are a lazy, dirty, tricky, fiercely proud, and recklessly brave people. They never seem to work unless they have to. The Transcaucasus is the spiritual home of the drug store cowboy. The streets are packed with loafers at all hours of the day. Transcaucasian filth is the filth of the Orient. Compared to it, Russian filths seems earthy and wholesome," Kennan wrote.

"The pride of the Georgian is well known. He looks down on all the neighboring races, with the possible exception of the Turk, for whom he has a certain respect as a fighter. The Armenian he hates virulently, and the Russian he holds in contempt," he marked in his journal.

The Library acquired the majority of the albums in this digital presentation during the early 1930s. Many were originally part of the Romanov palace libraries nationalized by the Soviet government and sold abroad for hard currency.

Click here to see the full collections about Georgia and Caucasus by the New York Public Library.

09 January 2016 19:32