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Gather 'Round the Family Album

When most people think of photo albums, they conjure up images of birthday parties, vacations, family reunions, weddings and, of course, the ever-present embarrassing photos that Mom likes to take out and show her children's friends and other guests. Konstantin Petrovich Von Kaufman, the first governor-general of Russian Turkistan, had a different concept in mind when he put together an album for his country. The military leader had made a name for himself through his efforts in expanding the Russian empire in Central Asia during the 1850s and 1860s. To satisfy "the common interest and for the rapid familiarization of the reading public" to these newly acquired lands, he commissioned a series of photo albums to acquaint his fellow Russians and Westerners alike to the region.

Kokand Khanate—Gate of the Kokand Palace to the city of Kokand. 1872. Cover of the 1964 Nukus telephone directory. 1964.

The Turkestanskii Al'Bom (Turkistan Album) took more than two years to compile and consists of some 1,200 photographs arranged in four parts. In 1934, the Library's Prints and Photographs Division acquired a copy of the complete album.

Highlighted are archaeological findings, ethnography, industrial crafts and trades, and military history.

Perhaps this acquisition set the stage for the Library's interest in Central Asian books and anthologies. In 1937, the institution began collecting residential and organizational phone directories from many parts of the world, including Central Asia. The European Division has put together a list of indexes, as many of these directories are uncataloged.

A. Kokand Khanate—Gate of the Kokand Palace to the city of Kokand. 1872. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Call No.: DK854 .T87 1872, part 2 DK855.4 (Case Z) [P&P]

B. Cover of the 1964 Nukus telephone directory. 1964. European Division. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.