Frank Scholten collection
Scope and Contents
The collection holds ca. 14.000 negatives, ca. 13.000 photographic prints, 65 albums with photographs, postcards, cut outs and other archival material.
Besides the many photographs with a biblical context, Scholten also captured the country and its people with the utmost precision. As such, the collection contains images of different religious and social milieus, occupations, religious festivals, events, street scenes, monuments, and landscapes. The timespan of Scholten's work encompasses an interesting period in which shifts in the political and demographical arena occurred; from Ottoman reign towards more westerner influences.
- ca. 1896-1942
- Bulk 1921-1923
- Scholten, François, 1881-1942 (Person)
Conditions Governing Use
The photography collection is kept in a vault with special climate control. Because of the acclimatization process photographs will have to be requested 24 hours in advance of a visit to the Reading Room. Other regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.
Biographical / Historical
Frank (François) Scholten (1881-1942) was born in Amsterdam. After his upbringing in Amsterdam and Portsmouth, he moved to Berlin in 1908 where he studied art, music, and philosophy at the conservatory. He moved back to the Netherlands after the outbreak of WWI. He undertook an extensive trip across Europe in 1920. In one postcard, he expressed his desire to travel to Palestine. His initial plan was to go there for a few days. He left for Palestine and travelled via Brindisi, Italy and Athens, Greece to finally enter the country at Jaffa. What was set out to be just a few days turned into a long-term stay of over two years. During this time, Scholten travelled the country, photographing landscapes, peoples and phenomena of it. After returning to Europe, Scholten did his best to get the illustrated Bible he compiled published. In February 1924, he exhibited 2200 photos in London at the “Palestine in Transition” exhibition. This was the first and only time he exhibited part of his work. 1929 marked the year in which he first published La Palestine Illustrée. English, German and Dutch versions would follow in the next years.
Language of Materials
Frank Scholten was een kunstenaar uit Amsterdam, die in de jaren 1921-1923 foto's heeft gemaakt in Palestina om een geïllustreerde Bijbel te kunnen samenstellen. Naast de vele foto's met een Bijbelse context heeft hij ook uiterst secuur het land en de mensen zelf vastgelegd. Zo bevat de collectie afbeeldingen van mensen uit verschillende sociale en religieuze milieus, beroepen, religieuze feesten, gebeurtenissen, straatbeelden, monumenten en landschappen. De tijdsspan van Scholtens werk omvat een interessante periode waarin er politiek en demografisch een grote verschuiving heeft plaatsgevonden, van Ottomaanse cultuur naar meer westerse invloeden.
Frank Scholten was an artist from Amsterdam who travelled to Palestine in the years 1921-1923, taking pictures with the purpose of compiling an illustrated Bible. Besides the many photographs with a biblical context, he also captured the country and its people with the utmost precision. As such, the collection contains images of different religious and social milieus, occupations, religious festivals, events, street scenes, monuments, and landscapes. The timespan of Scholten's work encompasses an interesting period in which shifts in the political and demographical arena occurred; from Ottoman reign towards more western influences.
The collection is organized by type of material: negatives, photo prints, albums, etcetera. Within these categories, the order has been left intact when it has been applied by Scholten himself, as in the case of the negatives. The photo prints are unordered and left in the order they were digitized – a list of concordance matches them to the negatives. The other materials collected by Scholten are ordered by surname of the person who published it at the time (image maker or author/editor of the publication from which the item comes).
Leiden University Library, Special Collections
Other Finding Aids
The photo albums, negatives and photographic prints are made accessible through the Catalogue (tab Special Collections). They have callnumbers that start with ‘NINO-F-….’. See also Existence and location of copies.
The other parts of the Frank Scholten collection, t.i. materials Frank Scholten collected, such as postcards, cuttings, clippings and photographs by other photographers, are accessible through the inventory that goes with this collection guide.
For the photo prints, that are unordered and left in the order they were digitized, a list of concordance is available at the curator that matches them to the negatives.
After the ownership of Frank Scholten himself, the collection became part of the library collection of the NINO (Netherlandish Institute for the Near East) in Leiden by means of his legacy.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was transferred from The Netherlands Institute for the Near East to Leiden University Library in 2007.
No future additions are to be expected.
Existence and Location of Originals
The originals of the Frank Scholten collection are being conserved by the Special Collections of Leiden University Library.
Existence and Location of Copies
The photo albums, negatives and photographic prints of the Frank Scholten Collection are online available in Digital Collections.
- Kwiecień, T.L., ‘Frank Scholten’, in: Fotolexicon, vol. 25, nr. 40.
- Zananiri, S., ‘Frank Scholten. Landschap in het Brits Mandaat Palestina’, in: Fotografisch Geheugen 96 (2018) 3, pp. 26-30.
- Zananiri, S., ‘Documenting the Social: Frank Scholten Taxonomising Identity in British Mandate Palestine', in: Sanchez Summerer, K.S. and S. Zananiri (eds.), Imaging and Imagining Palestine. Leiden 2021, pp. 266-306.
From 2018, a digitization and cataloguing project gave digital access to the photo albums, negatives and photographic prints. They got callnumbers that start with ‘NINO-F-….’.
- Human beings Subject Source: Fast
- Landscapes Subject Source: Fast
- Palestine (historical region) Subject Source: Tgn
- Photographs Subject Source: Fast
- Religions Subject Source: Fast
- Scholten, François, 1881-1942 (Person)
- Collection guide of the Frank Scholten collection (ca. 1896-1942)
- Collectie Frank Scholten
- Maartje van den Heuvel and Lara van der Hammen
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
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