Introduction to the photographs of the Coronation of HIM Haile Selassie November 1930:
The photographs were all found in a collection of photographs and scrapbooks
that once belonged to Mrs Agnes Willoughby Bancroft, an American missionary
nurse at the George Memorial Hospital in Addis Ababa, who traveled to Ethiopia
in June 1929. She was a keen photographer and took many photographs of her life
at the hospital. More details can be found in her article From the Red Sea Coast to Ethiopia's Imperial City that was reproduced in the Winter 2004 edition of News File.
Some of the photographs of the Coronation may have been taken by her but it is thought that the majority were probably bought as souvenirs at the time. Most of the photographs are uncredited - where the photographer is known it has been noted. None have any text relating to the events other than ink inscriptions written by Mrs Willoughby Bancroft.
The photographs cover a wide range of events leading up to and after Coronation day, November 2nd. One or two of the photographs of the build up to the Coronation may in fact be photographs of crowds going to the New Year or Meskel celebrations which both take place in September. The photographs of the arrival at the railway station of the representatives that were sent by many countries are clearly Coronation related. The other station views appear to be taken at the time of the Coronation but it is possible that some may actually be from the official opening of the station. The photographs of the drive to the Cathedral, the scenes outside the Cathedral, the Emperor and his family leaving the Cathedral and the Emperor at a race meeting in the post Coronation celebrations all appear to be taken during the Coronation week.
Navigating the photos:
The side menu gives access to five pages of photographs, each page having between 7 and 9 photographs listed. Brief descriptions and thumbnails of the photographs are presented on each page. Clicking on the thumbnail causes a larger version of the photograph to be loaded in a separate window.
Quotations used in the descriptions:
Most of the short quotations used in the descriptions of the photographs (quotations
marked EW) are taken from the new Pocket Penguin paperback 'The Coronation
of Haile Selassie' by Evelyn Waugh ISBN 0-141-02244-2. The paperback is an extract
from his book 'Remote People' first published in 1931.
The other quotation used (quotation marked NG) is from a report by Addison E. Southard in the National Geographic of June 1931.
Web sites with more information:
There are some brief descriptions of the Coronation on the web.
Time magazine has links to many articles on Haile Selassie in their archives, including two on the Coronation. Unfortunately most of these are only accessible to subscribers.
Other information on the Coronation can be found on the Imperial Ethiopia and Rasta Ites web pages.
The photographs vary greatly in condition. Most suffer from being glued into an album at one time and many have glue and paper remnants attached to the back. Some are starting to fade but the majority are still very clear and bright. They vary in size from about 75mm x 55mm to about 138mm x 88 mm.
Request for more information:
Please let us know if you spot any errors or can supply additional details on any of the photographs.
If anyone has more information on the Coronation, similar photographs, or knows of books or web sites that may be of interest then please contact us.
Attempts to track down information on the three photographers who are known to have taken some of the photographs has been unsuccessful. If anyone has any information on the photographers Chante of Addis Ababa, Jos Steinlehner of Addis-Abeba (and Munich) or D. Kalaidjian then please let us know.