Bana Bissat
Last updated: 20 April, 2015

The earliest color photos of Beirut

Lebanese blogger Bana Bissat has found a real treasure in the photography of Mr. Charles Cushman.

You’ve probably already come across Charles Cushman’s photographs; at least every Lebanese Facebook page admin has posted one of his photos at one point or another. 

Cushman (1896-1972) traveled around, photographing the streets of various cities. In total, there are 133 color photographs of Lebanon by Charles Cushman available online.

Though we have plenty of access to photos of early Beirut thanks to networks like Old Beirut and other pages and blogs, Cushman’s photos are of the few that are actually archived, digitized, dated, caption-ed, and protected – in the Indiana University Archives.

Port Area, Beirut; May 2 1965

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Minet el Hosn, Beirut; May 1, 1965

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Arab refugees along Dog River; May 2 1965

Parliament Square, Beirut; May 2 1965

Excelsior Hotel, Beirut; May 1, 1965

Fishers and net, Beirut; May 4 1965


Tram on Parliament Square, Beirut; May 5 1965

Rooftops below high starco building, Beirut; May 7 1965

Balconies, Beirut; May 7 1965

Street scene, shopping, Beirut; May 8 1965

Kalifa Girls Beirut Beach; May 8 1965

Ras Beirut; May 9 1965

Old apartment building, Rue de Paris, Beirut; May 10 1965

Strange hat, Beirut; May 9 1965 

Ras Beirut; May 9 1965

FYI: There’s plenty more archives out there: AUB’s Jafet Library has significant archive collections, but only two are digitized and open to the public, the Moore Collection (mostly old photos of AUB) and the E.W. Blatchford Collection (mostly photos of the Middle East overall).

A version of this photo post appeared on Bana’s blog.