These 10 views of Havana are from a collection of 40 photochrom prints acquired in 1984. Developed in Switzerland in the 1880s, the Photochrom process was used exclusively by the Detroit Photographic Company in the United States for the large-scale production of color postcards, prints, and albums in the early 1900s. Although the prints look deceptively like color photographs, they were actually made by converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography.
The photochrom prints in the CHC collection depict views of town and country life in Cuba from 1900 to 1904. Interest in the 1898 Spanish-American War prompted the Detroit Photographic Company to increase its inventory of photographs of Cuba. The best known photographer affiliated with the Detroit Publishing Company was William Henry Jackson (1843-1942). Prior to joining the Detroit Photographic Company in 1897, his work as a landscape photographer was credited in part for influencing the establishment of Yellowstone and other national parks. Jackson also served as president of the Detroit Photographic Company from 1898 to 1924. His skills are evident in the following selection of photochroms that were taken in Havana at the birth of the Republic.