January 11, 2016

7 rare images of Philippine life in the early 1900s

Words by Mags Ocampo

The New York Public Library releases a handful of images depicting Philippine life among its digital collection of over 180,000 photographs now available for public use.


“Greetings from the Philippines.” Issued 1911 – 1921.


“Family in front of Nipa hut.” Issued 1901-1907.

Last week, the New York Public Library (NYPL) made over 180,000 public domain images available for download in high resolution. The availability of this digital collection makes life much easier for researchers and designers alike as it helps them bypass request forms as well as the process of physically visiting the NYPL just to pullout books and scans. With these pictures up as public domain images, the possibilities of using them are endless – no permission required, no restrictions on use.


“The patient carabau, Philippine Islands.” Issued 1921.


“Peasant girl crossing village bridge, Philippines.” Issued 1922.


“Wash day, Philippine Islands.” Issued 1923.

The images are sorted into different collections for the sake of convenience and perhaps entertainment. From obvious categories such as “Children’s book illustrations” and “Maps of north America” to rarer albums such as “Walt Whitman papers, 1854 – 1892” and “Illustrations of Indian zoology,” the NYPL Digital Collections website is a treasure trove of unexpected finds. If you’re looking for something in particular instead of just casually browsing the wide range of collections, you can always search keywords and terms.


“Carretelas, Manila, P.I.” Issued 1923.

Here we’ve gathered some of the postcards of Philippine life that the NYPL has up on its server. Most images come from the 1920’s but a few picks date back to the early 1900’s.


“The Escolta. Manila, P.I.”


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