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Recording Travel in the Early Twentieth Century

Western adventurers, archaeologists, and scholars, such as Ernst Herzfeld and Charles Lang Freer, have long been traversing the globe to conduct research and explore foreign lands. In the early twentieth century, leisure travel among Europeans and North Americans also became increasingly common. Fascinated by the cultural heritage of Asia and the Middle East, tourists began to expand their horizons by venturing East.

The advent of commercial travel networks was accompanied by a flood of photographs, drawings, postcards, mementos, and other means of recording scientific and sentimental experiences abroad. This gallery presents a variety of materials compiled by travelers in Asia and the Middle East, and offers insight into how these artifacts transmitted ideas, emotional responses, and technical information about locations and landscapes.

Above: detail, Taj Mahal, Agra. From a painting by Vasily Vereshchagin (1842–1904); India, 1927; Color photomechanical printed postcard; unknown publisher; Myron Bement Smith Collection; Freer|Sackler Archives FSA A.04 pc170