Roxane Debuisson Collection Fellowship

Amanda Zhang

The Debuisson Collection has brought me closer to the history of Paris than I have ever been. Over the past quarter I have cataloged the stereoviews, chromolithographs, as well as a section of Roland Liot’s photographs. Each category has given me distinct impressions of Paris. The stereoviews, organized by the landmarks of Paris, have better acquainted me to the various architectural styles and also brought the scenes of Parisian streets and parks to life. What amazed me the most was the collection of chromolithographs. These colorful, humorous business cards give fascinating clues to the daily lives of Parisians at the turn of the century. The collection covers nearly every aspect of everyday life, including consumer culture, fashion, leisure, cuisine, animals, means of transportation, among many others. Though capturing Parisian life from different perspectives, both materials have allowed me to reconstruct visually the everyday life of people. They have also inspired me to reflect on how interconnected history and material culture could be. As I started to work with Roland Liot’s photographs, I am faced with the more difficult task of identifying specific structures, but it is also through doing research that I learned much more about the architectural styles, both modern and archaic, found in different areas in Paris. Moreover, it is an invaluable opportunity to see the old buildings of Paris captured in the photographs prior to their demolition. I have also thoroughly enjoyed the archival aspect of the work in the special collections, which allowed me to see how an archive is constructed and organized at first hand.


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