Coil-oil Johnny, Beirut; May 6 1965
© Charles Cushman
Coil-oil Johnny, Beirut; May 6 1965
Last updated: May 26, 2015

The earliest color photos of Beirut

Banner Icon Photo Essay Lebanese blogger Bana Bissat has found a real treasure in the photography of Mr. Charles Cushman.

You've probably already come across Charles Cushman's photographs; at least every Lebanese Facebook page admin has posted one of his photos at one point or another. 

Cushman (1896-1972) traveled around, photographing the streets of various cities. In total, there are 133 color photographs of Lebanon by Charles Cushman available online.

Though we have plenty of access to photos of early Beirut thanks to networks like Old Beirut and other pages and blogs, Cushman's photos are of the few that are actually archived, digitized, dated, caption-ed, and protected - in the Indiana University Archives.

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Port Area, Beirut; May 2 1965

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Minet el Hosn, Beirut; May 1, 1965

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Arab refugees along Dog River; May 2 1965

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Parliament Square, Beirut; May 2 1965

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Excelsior Hotel, Beirut; May 1, 1965

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Fishers and net, Beirut; May 4 1965

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Tram on Parliament Square, Beirut; May 5 1965

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Rooftops below high starco building, Beirut; May 7 1965

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Balconies, Beirut; May 7 1965

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Street scene, shopping, Beirut; May 8 1965

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Kalifa Girls Beirut Beach; May 8 1965

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Ras Beirut; May 9 1965

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Old apartment building, Rue de Paris, Beirut; May 10 1965

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Strange hat, Beirut; May 9 1965 

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Ras Beirut; May 9 1965


FYI: There's plenty more archives out there: AUB's Jafet Library has significant archive collections, but only two are digitized and open to the public, the Moore Collection (mostly old photos of AUB) and the E.W. Blatchford Collection (mostly photos of the Middle East overall).

A version of this photo post appeared on Bana's blog.

Bana Bissat
Bana is a Beirut-based regular contributor to Your Middle East. Visit Bana's website www.bananapook.com.
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