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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

Scope and Contents

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 copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

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
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1