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First Photographs

Further to the AUC pictures below, a pre-dating has occurred, at the Galaa club in Heliopolis, of 1957 and Ain Al Sokina in Suez, of 6 April 1967. More details to follow.


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Of interest historically as regards to establishing the chronology of the instigation of the paving is to the first photographs of the paving. As alluded to in the first page, prior to these investigations, I believe that a purposeful picture i.e. ‘here is a picture of the world-famous Cairo paving’ had yet to be taken in any book or article; the paving, when it did indeed appear on a few rare occasions, was shown incidentally in the background, such as outside a mosque, a hotel, and exhibits in grounds, as detailed below. However, these incidental occurrences still serve a purpose, and indeed are invaluable for historical documentation. Indeed, any photograph at all is at a premium here; I have been able to find only six instances, one in a university archive, and five in books, all incidentals, at:
  • American University in Cairo (AUC): in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives, with many instances of the 1960s to 1970s (and onwards), of the Campus grounds
  • Murphy, Lawrence, R. The American University in Cairo, 1919-1987, 1987, page 254 
  • Egypt, Berlitz Pocket Guide, 2ndedition, 1995/1996, page 26, featuring students outside Al-Azhar University
  • Passport’s Illustrated Travel Guide to Egypt. 1997 second edition, page 73, El Alamein War Museum, El Alamein, featuring relics of World War II
  • Fodor’s Exploring Egypt, 2ndedition, 1998, page 47,Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan, featuring a terrace of the Hotel
  • Insight Guides Egypt, 2002, page 171, by APA Publishing, City of Dead, featuring a mosque

The AUC pictures are by far the earliest, and the more important, being clearly older than the other instances, these dating from ‘late 1960s’ and 1970s onwards. Also, I have now strong anecdotal evidence of 1966, at least, from Margaret Shabka, who studied at the AUC from 1966, and seemed to recall the pavings back then. Possibly, these may be even earlier; investigations are on-going. By far, the AUC pictures are the most significant, in both chronology and substance.

The travel guide books are all of a much later period, of single instances, in the 1990s and 2000s and so are of less interest as to matters of chronology. Likely there are other ‘travel guide’ books where this situation has occurred, and if any reader would care to draw my attention to these I would be most grateful. The Old Cataract paving could be decidedly old, the exact age is open to speculation; possibly predating the AUC (the hotel opened in 1904). I contacted the hotel, but unfortunately they couldn’t find any picture in their archives.

 

With thanks to Gregg De Young for archive detail, Steven Urgola and Nada Yassen of the archive for initial photographs, and Pam Garnett for a visit to the archive, and further photographs, and Margaret Shabka for her recollections.

 

AUC
 
 
Figure 1. AUC 1960s-1970s
© Courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
This is possibly the oldest photograph; and indeed the clearest; observe the striking contrast between the tiles, appearing new.

 

Figure 2. AUC Bartlett Fountain Area, 1970s. This area is named after Thomas A. Bartlett, a past president of the AUC (1963-1969). The paving, unfortunately, is not of the greatest clarity here

© Courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

 

 Figure 3. AUC Main Campus, 1978
© Courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
 
Figure 4. AUC Bartlett Fountain Area, 1975
© Courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
 

 Figure 5. AUC Bartlett Fountain Area, 1970s, as seen from balcony of

© Courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
 
With thanks to Gregg De Young for archive detail, Steven Urgola and Nada Yassen of the archive for initial photographs, and Pam Garnett for a visit to the archive and further photographs, and Margaret Shabka for her recollections concerning the paving. 
 
Created 4 July 2012. Updated 14 December 2012, with Margaret Shabka account.
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