Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950 – Book Review

 

Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950 By Joel G. Montague
Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950 By Joel G. Montague

This beautiful new edition from White Lotus Press is a true historical masterpiece that captures the adventure, diversity and visual excitement of early 20th century Cambodia in a medium familiar to everyone: the picture postcard.

While French and Cambodian archives are filled with books, manuscripts and government records, the photographic history of the nation is more limited. As author Joel Montague discovered

“it is a happy coincidence that the era of French expansion to Southeast Asia…coincided with another era, one that came to be known by aficionados of ephemera as ‘the golden years’ of the picture postcard!”

Indeed, postcards became a powerful way to share the adventure of Asian life. Economical and readily available, literally millions were sent to friends and relatives around the world, forming important impressions of Cambodia, inspiring dreams and undoubtedly many journeys.

"Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950" includes hundreds of clear, black & white postcard photos.
“Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950” includes hundreds of clear, black & white postcard photos and a special section featuring rare color postcards.

Over the decades, postcards captured the rapidly changing landscape of this nation under French influence, often presenting a contrived, romantic image of the Cambodian Protectorate. Today, however, the fraction of postcards that survived are scattered among dealers, obscure archives and private collectors around the world. And so M. Montague began collecting these snapshots of the exotic life in this Eastern land with the dream of one day sharing this treasure trove of rarely-seen images of Cambodia.

The result of his passion is this splendid 327-page volume. In addition to including hundreds of his best and rarest postcard discoveries, the author organized this presentation into 16 categories, each supplemented with detailed historical information (see below for the full Table of Contents).

Postcards of Cambodia is now an essential resource for colonial scholars (e.g. as an ideal companion to Penny Edwards’ book, Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation, 1860-1945). Naturally, Montague’s book will be indispensible for other collectors, but with the difficult work so pleasantly accomplished, why collect? The opportunity is here for all curious travelers to instantly enjoy these fascinating glimpses of Cambodian history.

Review by Kent Davis – www.devata.org

 

From "Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950" By Joel G. Montague
One of the earliest postcards from the 1900 Exposition Universelle in “Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950” By Joel G. Montague. The book also includes a special section of color postcards.

BOOK DETAILS

  • Title: Picture Postcards of Cambodia 1900-1950
  • Author: Joel G. Montague
  • ISBN: 9789744801197
  • Publisher: White Lotus Co., Bangkok
  • Contents: 327 pp., illus., 19 pp. in color
  • Size: 210×300 mm, pbk. Weight: 1.400 Kg
From "Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950" By Joel G. Montague
From “Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950” By Joel G. Montague

PURCHASE INFO for Picture Postcards of Cambodia

Publisher and International Distributor – White Lotus Press

Founder Diethard Ande established the Bangkok-based White Lotus Press in 1972. Since then he has produced important new books about Southeast Asia and reissued classic titles that have long been out of print. White Lotus offers fast, reliable shipping worldwide. PICTURE POSTCARDS OF CAMBODIA: 1900-1950 is readily available at bookstores in Thailand.

CambodiaMonument Books

Australia – Old Asia Bookroom

United States – Dalley Book Service

From "Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950" By Joel G. Montague
From “Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950” By Joel G. Montague

COMPLETE TABLE OF CONTENTS

PICTURE POSTCARDS OF CAMBODIA: 1900-1950
By Joel G. Montague

1 – FRENCH INDOCHINA: THE GEOPOLITICAL CONTEXT

  • An Introduction to the History of the Protectorate of Cambodia within Indochina
  • Colonial Cambodia
  • The Question of “non-History”
  • The Picture Postcard: An Ephemeral Record of Early Twentieth Century Cambodia
  • Colonial Administration in the Five States of the French Indochinese Union
  • A New World: Picture Postcard Maps of Indochina

2 – PICTURE POSTCARDS OF CAMBODIA: 1900 TO MID-CENTURY

  • The History of the Picture Postcard
  • Categorization of Postcards of Cambodia
  • The Messages on Picture Postcards with Images of Cambodia Sent from Indochina
  • Photographers, Editors, Printers and the Dating of Postcards
  • Identification of Some Key Elements of Picture Postcards Used to Illustrate this Book
  • The Postal Service for Indochina Picture

3 – THE MONARCHY

  • Images of the Cambodian Royal Family

4 – THE PALACE, THOSE SERVING THE MONARCHY, AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

  • The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
  • The Palace Staff and Those Serving the Government

5 – CAMBODIA’S CAPITAL, THE GREAT CITY OF PHNOM PENH

  • French Colonial Structures
  • The Phnom and its Surroundings

 

6 – CAMBODIA’S LIFELINE -THE MEKONG RIVER

  • The Port and Canal of Phnom Penh
  • The Great River and the Boats on it

7 – THE KHMER AND OTHER INHABITANTS OF CAMBODIA

  • The Khmer
  • Other Inhabitants

8 – KHMER DANCE AND MUSIC

  • Dance
  • Music

9 – INSTITUTIONS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST

  • Indigenous and French Troops
  • The Prison System
  • Educational Institutions
  • Foreign and Local Hunters

10 – THE RELIGIONS OF CAMBODIA

  • Buddhism
  • Catholicism
  • Islam (the Cham-Malay)

11 – SCENES FROM PROVINCIAL AND RURAL CAMBODIA

  • Major Towns
  • Villages and Dwellings

12 – THE CAMBODIAN ECONOMY

  • Animal Husbandry and Agriculture
  • Fisheries and Forestry
  • Commerce and Handicrafts

13 – IMPORTANT EVENTS AND RITES OF PASSAGE

  • Festivals and Ceremonies
  • The Water Festival

14 – ARCHAEOLOGICAL WONDERS OF CAMBODIA

  • Angkor Wat and its Neighbors
  • Nokor (Kampong Cham)

15 – CAMBODIA AND THE KHMER ABROAD

  • International Expositions and Fairs Featuring Indochina and Cambodia
  • Tiny Glimpse of the Khmer Presence in Neighboring Countries

16 – COLOR PICTURE POSTCARDS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ENDNOTES

BIBLIOGRAPHY

LIST OF POSTCARD EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS

 

Cambodian palace pavilion at the 1906 Colonial Expo in Marseilles - From "Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950"
Cambodian palace pavilion from “Picture Postcards of Cambodia: 1900-1950”

 

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