The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

The Orphan, the Donor and the Photograph: Humanitarianism and Photography in Mandatory Jerusalem, Two Cases

The paper uncovers the short history of the American Colony Christian Herald Orphanage, operating in Jerusalem following World War I. Hosting around 36 Christians and Muslims girls, the orphanage relied on the financial support of the American-based Christian Herald newspaper. Through the close analysis of this institution, and the comparison with the Tzadok Bassan orphanage, a Jewish orphanage in Jerusalem, the paper will critically discuss the links between humanitarianism and photography. Using visual materials from both orphanages, the article addresses the ways photographs were used as part of fund-raising, missionary work and relief efforts in the context of Mandatory Jerusalem, and discusses the complex relationship between the orphan girl, the donor who supports her, and the way this relationship is constructed in the photograph.