These images are from the Library of Congress website. Most of the images were stereo view cards that were popular from the late 1800’s until the 1930’s. They were the predecessors of view masters. Stereo cards were comprised of two images that when viewed through the viewer gave a sense of seeing the images in 3D. These images were edited to only show one of the sides so they can be seen clearer.
One thing to keep in mind as you are browsing through the images is that these were the views that were being presented to the world of Puerto Rico, some of the captions (that for the most part I kept as they were, with a couple of commentaries added), were quite disturbing. In particular is the photo of the two poor children in Aibonito, the caption was “Porto Rican boys in their Sunday dress.” The other image that threw me was the one with the image of the 4 naked children on the beach. The caption was “Waiting for Uncle Sam – on the beach.”
The feeling that I get from looking at these images is that they were, for the most part, intentionally portraying Puerto Ricans as savages in need of the United States to civilize them.
On a personal note, the first image is from Cayey, Puerto Rico, where I was born.
Please leave your comments regarding these photos.