SCHRÖDER photography collectiOn (1870-1942)

Johannes Gottfried William Schröder

J.S Schröder, born in Calcutta in 1870 as a wealthy merchant family member. Art lover, he studied at the Academy of Munich, when he discovered his artistic talent was not enough, he decided to follow the family tradition and he established as a businessman in Shanghai where he ran his own company.

Cosmopolite and great passionate for spiritual development of human beings, was a follower of Swami Bhaskarananda in Benares, who introduced him to the spiritual world of East Asia. Years later, he would become an active member in the Anthroposophical Society.

In more than 50 years of travel in Japan, China, Tibet, Ceylon, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Syria, Canada, USA and Europe , he compiled a curiousyin and in large part unpublished photographic collection, composed of copies made by photographers as : Falsari, Baduin, Felice Beato, Ueno Hikoma, Tamamura Kozaburu, Kusakabe Kimbei, Uchida Kuichi Ogawa Kazumasa,, Usui Shuzaburo, Suzuki Shin Chin y Stillfried & Andersen in Japon, Samuel Bourne in India, Alfred Noak in Italy, Scoven & co in Sri Lanka o Zamgaki brothers in Egypt among others.

His personal way was marked by the colonialist and imperialist period and was an eyewitness of two world wars, a time certainly complicated, full of big changes and movements at a global level, this gives an undeniable documentary, anthropological, archaeological and architectural value to this collection.

Colonial period

We have discovered around 350 images with a more personal character taken personally by Schröder or someone close to him. with very interesting portraits and private events, some reflect the lifestyle of the settlers in a more intimate way, others give almost journalistic testimony of the Shanghai revolution of 1911 and others are full of portraits of the main European personalities of the time, main actors of political and military activity Such as Arthur Zimmerman (Zimmerman telegram) strolling in Hangchow village (China), Consul General Dr. Knappe, Admiral Felix von Bendeman, or Commander Schellhas.

Schröder & Steiner

When he returned to Germany definitely and before taking a position in the Ministry of Foreign office in Berlin , he tooke a trip trought Europe with his wife, In the dining car of Orient-Express, on Vienna-Paris route, a man of particular aspect and strongly emanation attracted the attention the Schröders

Some years later his growing passion for anthroposophy led him to arrange an interview with Rudolf Steiner in Berlin, Schröder could recognize him as the unknown man on the train. Since then they were created personal and professional ties coming to establish commercial food company together "Ceres". Later when Schröder took over the Treasury of the Anthroposophical Society Bremen´s branch, couples´s residence in that city became home to Stainer for long periods and in 1910, Steiner and Schröder along with seven other members of anthroposophical Bremen society , began a series of conferences throughout Germany, this was surely one of the most powerful time in the life of the branch.

The Collection

The collection is being inventoried. The photographs are collected in ten albums containing a total of 1475 images and 277 images in loose sheets. Most of them have been stuck to paper of albums, and in some cases the slot corners system is used.

History & Time

The state of conservation is generally good, as can be seen in the rough and ready scans and photos included in this documentation. However it would be very advisable to proceed with conservation efforts to avoid image degradation, in some cases the silver halides begin to show investment signs within the limits of the images.

This file has not yet been expertized. At first glance the photos taken personally by Schröder seems silver chloride copies and photos acquired, albumen prints and hand-colored phototypes,

Hand-colored was a widespread practice especially in Japan. The authorship of some images is proving difficult to determine because some of the negatives were probably made, exchanged or purchased between photographers. We have seen so far, many images appear in albums signed as their on for multiple photographers. Making special albums on demand for foreign customers it seems common practice at the time.

This collection includes an album about the Norddeutsche Missionsgesellschaft (Norddeutsche Missionsgesellschaft) founded in 1819 in Bremen, located in Africa (Togo) and still active despite the strong colonial conflict ocurred. The mission board offered this pictures showing the scope of daily works as a tribute to JS Schröder father´s as president and facilitator of continued economic contributions he helped greatly to build the social an cultural atmosphere in this place.

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Schöeder Collection

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