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Category: Black + white

527. historic photo 10

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Arturo W. Boote

Photo by Arturo W. Boote, exact date unknown but sometime around the end of the 19th century. From the angle, this photo was likely taken from the adjacent Iglesia de Pilar, perhaps from the bell tower.

Samuel Boote (1844-1921) y Arturo Woods Boote (1861-1936) were brothers, both first generation Argentines of a large English immigrant family. Raised on ranches in the Provincia de Buenos Aires, they eventually moved to the capital & became the most famous photographers of the 1880s. A decade later they had traveled through much of Argentina, leaving a valuable photographic record for us today. By 1900 both brothers left the photography business to pursue other ventures, but at least they left a reminder of what they experienced at Recoleta Cemetery over 100 years ago.

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516. keeping up appearances

Recoleta Cemetery, Carroza or carriage for funeral services

The show must go on… even if you aren’t around to see it. Important funeral homes like Lazaro Costa offered rental carriages for grand processions to Recoleta Cemetery. The above photo appeared as an advertisement in the society magazine “Caras & Caretas” with the following text:

For 200 pesos, a good funeral service with four horses & a footman, including an imitation mahogany coffin, open casket service, liveried carriages, notices placed in newspapers, etc.

Although a friend sent me this photo & did not record the publication date, surely this is from the early 20th century. Assuming this could be from 1915, 200 pesos would be the equivalent of $83 USD, or $1,930 USD in today’s currency!

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479. historic photo 8

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, entrance gate, Samuel Boote, 1885

Photo taken by Samuel Boote, circa 1885, & part of the Colección Carlos Sánchez Idiart. The entrance gate had just been remodeled by Juan Antonio Buschiazzo four years earlier, so it looks practically new in this photograph. Grottos were all the rage in late 19th century Buenos Aires, so naturally Recoleta had a few for rest & relaxation. A gem of a photo.

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455. historic photo 7

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, historic photo, Witcomb

Photo #358 from the Colección Witcomb, date unknown. This capture shows the same perspective as another historic photo but much later… judging from the increasingly urban character of Buenos Aires visible towards Calle Azcuénaga in the background.

Update (10 Apr 2013): Something always bothered me about this photo. The single landmark I could find for orientation is facing the wrong way. How can that be? And the height from which the photo was taken means the photographer shot from the bell tower of the Iglesia del Pilar… there’s absolutely no other possibility, past or present.

Remembering that original images were from glass plate negatives, perhaps flipping the image horizontally in Photoshop would fix things. It did; everything fell into place. Below is how the image should look:

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Colección Witcomb

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445. historic photo 6

Recoleta Cemetery, H.G. Olds, historic photo

Harry Grant Olds (1869-1943) was one of the most successful early photographers of Buenos Aires, coming to Argentina in 1900 after a brief stint in Valparaiso, Chile. This photo was taken in 1900 in the northwest corner of Recoleta Cemetery. Of note are the large mausoleum for the Familia del Carril, the monument to federal judge Virgilio M. Tedín &—although blending into the trees a bit—the memorial to Luis Viale.

Source: postcard sale on Mercado Libre… a great online source for finding old photographs. More incredible photos by Olds can be found in a collection titled “H.G. Olds, Fotografías 1900-1943, Un norteamericano retrata la Argentina (Ediciones de la Antorcha, 2011).

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