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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Martinique: vues & types
    Date (inclusive): 1870s-1880s
    Number: 95.R.97
    Physical Description: 1.5 Linear Feet (69 photographs in 1 album)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The album of 69 photographs taken by an unidentified photographer(s) contains views of Martinique and studio portraits of the island's inhabitants.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in French .

    Biographical Note

    The album was likely produced by one of the early photographers working in Martinique.
    Sources consulted:
    Garcia, Claire Oberon. "My first visit to 'Le Pays des Revenants': Color, Caste, and Class in Martinque: Then and…?" https://sites.coloradocollege.edu/martinique/2011/07/21/79/
    Northrup, David. "Indentured Indians in the French Antilles. Les immigrants indiens engagés aux Antilles françaises," Outre-Mers: Revue d'histoire, Année 2000: 245-271.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Martinique: vues & types, 1870s-1880s, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 95.R.97.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Acquired in 1995.

    Processing Information

    Beth Ann Guynn wrote the finding aid in 2021.

    Digitized Material

    The collection was digitized by the repository in 2021 and the images are available online:

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The album contains 69 albumen photographs of Martinique by an unidentified maker(s) including 24 large format and 25 carte-de-visite size views of Fort-de-France, Balata, St. Pierre, and environs; three large format portraits; and 17 carte-de-visite size studio portraits. One of the large photographs depicts a group of East Indian immigrants, likely recruited to the island as indentured laborers; the other two are studio portraits of a multiracial woman and a Congolese man respectively. Slavery was abolished in Martinique in 1848. Lacking a labor force French coffee and sugar planters first looked to coastal western Africa where they purchased enslaved persons, emancipated them, and then signed them into long-term contracts to work in Martinique. This practice was quickly viewed as enslavement in another guise, and the planters then looked to East India for laborers.
    The album is half bound in dark red leather with pebbled boards. The title is debossed on the front cover.
    Titles for most of the individual photographs are from the French captions written on the mounts below the images. Consequently, some of the language used to describe Black persons in the titles, such as négresses and mulâtresses (negro women and mulatto women), are now considered to be outdated, racist, or offensive. Fifteen of the carte-de-visite size portraits depict women of color. Grouped on two pages and collectively captioned as representing racial types, these images extend the 1860s and 1870s craze of collecting cartes-de-visite of one's friends, family, heads of state, and other celebrities to the collecting of exoticized and objectified unnamed women. Since the names of the sitters are unknown descriptive titles for their portraits were devised by the archivist.


    Arranged in a single series: Series I. Martinique: vues & types, 1870s-1880s.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Indentured servants -- Martinique
    Blacks -- Martinique -- Portraits

    Subjects - Places

    Martinique -- Description and travel
    France -- Colonies -- America

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Albumen prints -- Martinique -- 19th century
    Photograph albums -- Martinique -- 19th century
    Group portraits -- Martinique -- 19th century
    Studio portraits -- Martinique -- 19th century
    Photographs, Original.