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Collection Overview

Sébah & Joaillier
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Sebah & Joaillier Photographs Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 1.5 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1
French German


The Sebah & Joaillier Photographs Collection consists entirely of 19th-century photographs of Constantinople and the surrounding area.

Collection Description & Creator Information


This is an open collection of photographs of Constantinople and its surroundings by Sebah & Joaillier and Pascal Sebah, currently numbering over 45 items. Included is a three-part panorama of the harbor, likely taken from the Galata Tower. The majority of the images are credited on the negative to Sebah & Joaillier, but two are credited to P[ascal] Sebah,and there are four stereographs ("Vues de Constantinople") and an 8-part panorama by him. The other photographs measure approximately 10 x 8 inches, and are mounted on cards (15.5 x 12 inches). Also included four prints of classical sites in Athens (The Erechtheum, the temple of Athēna Nikē, the arch of Hadrian) and one of Mycenae (the Treasury of Atreus); and one black-and-white print of a general view of the monuments of Acropolis (Vue générale des monuments de l'Acropole) bearing the signature of P. Sebah and mounded on card.


This is a growing collection. Currently, the photographs are arranged by accession number, then by photograph number.

Collection Creator Biography:

Sébah & Joaillier

Pascal Sebah (1823-1886) was a leading photographer in Constantinople, selling images of the city, ancient ruins in the surrounding area, portraits, and local people in traditional costumes to tourists. Sebah rose to prominence because of his well-organized compositions, careful lighting, effective posing, attractive models, great attention to detail, and for the excellent print quality produced by his technician, A. Laroche. In 1857, Sebah opened a studio in Constantinople and later opened another branch in Cairo. After Sebah's death, his brother Cosimi ran the studio for a few years. Sebah's son, Johannes (Jean) (1872-1947) then became involved in the business when he was only 16 years old. Jean grew up to become a talented photographer in his own right, but to profit from his father's fame, he signed his photographs J. Pascal Sebah. In 1888, Jean formed a partnership with a Frenchman, Policarpe Joaillier, and thereafter the studio was known as Sebah & Joaillier. The firm of Sebah & Joaillier was named the official photographer of the Sultan, and at his command took photographers all over his empire.

Collection History


Collection was purchased from Krul Antiquarian Books, Petros Vergos, Bernard J. Shapero in 2005-2010 and acquired with matching funds provided by the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic fund (AM2005-60, 2006-75, 2008-81, 2009-136, 2010-115).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karla J. Vecchia in 2003 and 2005. Finding aid written by Karla J. Vecchia in 2003 and 2005.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Sebah & Joaillier Photographs Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184