Matson Photographs

Up until about the middle of the twentieth century, one of the most popular sources for photographs of places in the Middle East was the Matson Photo Archive. Included in the catalog are numerous photographs of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From an origin in being illustrations of Biblical lands and peoples to the Victorian and Edwardian public which couldn’t get enough of them, the photographs have now become historical data themselves, revealing to us images of a landscape which has since been transformed.

The complete collection of Matson negatives was acquired by the Library of Congress. For several years now, they have had a browsable and searchable subset of the collection available online. Enjoy!


  1. Inquiring if any photos are available of Miss Carey and her place at the mountain. She lived in Ein Karem, Palestine. A saw one picture of her sanctuary on the internet under Matson Photos. I am interested in the history of that period and especialy what ever became of her place. Please provide me any information or pictures available.

    1. Hi John. Your best bet is to go to the site and browse through all the photos for Palestine/the Holy Land. The only information given for each picture comes from an old copy of the Matson Photo Archives catalog, from which one would formerly order prints. So in addition to the titles of the photos being terse, they are also spelled in a variety of ways, so searching for Ein Karem might not bring up everything. Good luck in your photo hunt! Let me know if you find anything, and what the undoubtedly interesting history is of that house. I’m intrigued.

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