Belgium: 1938. Small album (4" by 5.5"), containing 12 unnumbered black (blank) leaves, with seven (7) original photographs affixed to the leaves within paper corner mounts; each photo is captioned in MS in white ink in French in the margins. Album: contemporary "faux crocodile skin" embossed paper boards, fastened with brown cord (minor surface rubbing and wear to extremities). Very good. Item #4003
AN UNSETTLING AND VISCERAL EXAMPLE OF 1938 COLONIALISM AND MISSIONARY WORK INFUSED BY ADULTS INTO CHILD'S PLAY.
In this small photo album are seven (7) photos of very yound Belgian girls, three of whom are being groomed to become missionaries in Africa, and four have been painted in blackface and adorned in shawls, pretending to be Africans ready for conversion to Christianity. The captions and photos are arranged sequentially, and tell the story of three missionary nuns who went “chez les n___rillons.” NB: then, as now, this word is derogatory and diminutive; it could be translated as "pickaninny" or "little n____rs."
The handwritten captions of the photos are as follows:
1. Vocation précoce! avril 1939. ("Early calling! April 1938").
2. Il est 3 missionaires... ("There are 3 missionaries...")
3. Qui vont partir chez les n___rillons... ("Who are going to go to the home of the little n____rs...")
4. avant de nous envoler vers le soleil ("before we fly towards the sun")
5. d'afrique, goûtons le soleil de Belgique. ("of Africa, let's taste the Belgian sun")
6. Missionnaire d'un jour ("Missionary for a day")
7. La plus jeune missionnaire des Dames de Marie Soeur Marie Simonne 7 ans 1/2 ("The youngest
missionary of the Ladies of Mary [is] Sister Marie Simonne 7 1/2 years old).
MUST BE SEEN TO BE FULLY APPRECIATED.