The photographic essays below are meant to enhance the North African Jewish Manuscript Collection at the Yale University Library. We recently purchased a collection of postcards recording Jewish life in Morocco in the early 20th century. This period overlaps with that of a large majority of manuscripts in Yale’s collection. The postcards thus present a graphic image of the society from which the documents emerge. They present cityscapes, rabbinic figures, commercial life, women in the various modes of attire and more. We have chosen to present two subjects that stand out in the collection: depictions of women and depictions of the market place and commercial life.
Photo essay of Jewish women of North Africa at the beginning of the 20th century. Almost all of the women are from Morocco. The images are taken from a recently acquired collection of picture postcards of Jewish life in Morocco. Most of the photographs appear to have been posed portraits. Please find a selection of photographs from the collection here: North African Women (Powerpoint) North African Women (PDF)
The Jews depicted in this set of postcards made their living primarily as merchants and craftsmen. They either did business on the street or in small store fronts in the market places of the cities and villages in which they lived. The men who appear in the photos seem to have made a meager living which allowed them to barely get by. Those women who worked outside the home, were laundresses which kept them out of the marketplace and thus out of sight of strange men. Find the collection here: North African Professions (PDF), North African Professions (PowerPoint)