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Gilbert Islanders Photograph

 File — Box: 1, Folder: 19
Identifier: Image Archive-Collection 40-(19)

Scope and Contents

1892.  Unmounted albumen print (6 1/4" x 9") with the hand stamp of Kildare y Valdeavellano photographers on the verso.  The caption accompanying the print reads as follows, "Gilbert Islanders imported by de Sabla to work on the coffee estate. Proved a great failure." An account taken from a newspaper article dated October 15, 1892 reports the following: “San Francisco. An Examiner reporter was on the cruise of the steamship Montserrat which arrived here Thursday from San José de Guatemala, after having loaded in Guatemalan ports 338 natives of the Gilbert Islands, who were delivered to wealthy plantation owners under a five years’ labor contract.” The reporter traveled aboard the ship in the guise of a sailor. He wrote that the ship was a slaver and the natives were sold in Guatemala at $100 a head, the amount being taken in the guise of fares. This is reportedly the only known photograph of Gilbert Island people.


  • c. 1892


Conditions Governing Access

Open to the public. No known restrictions.

Biographical or Historical Information

Alberto G. Valdeavellano Cordero (1861-1928) began his photographic career as an apprentice in the studio of Emilio Herbruger, Senior, who started the first permanent photographic studio in Guatemala. In competition to Herbruger, an American named Walferstein set up shop, but soon sold it to Herbruger’s re-toucher, Edward J. Kildare, an American from San Francisco. Together Kildare and Valdeavellano, opened their own studio, the “Palace of Art,.” circa 1880. Known for their fine portraits of the elite of Guatemala City, they also specialized in portraits of the various Maya peoples in the surrounding countryside. Later Valdeavellano published numerous postcards and illustrated various periodicals in the capital.


1.00 Photographic Prints

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Box 1, Folder 19


Gilbert Islanders Photograph
Photograph Collection 40 (19), Image Archive, The Latin American Library, Tulane University
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the The Latin American Library at Tulane Repository

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