Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Postcards and Small Prints

Panoramas

Southern Methodist University

Giesecke family collection of photographs and panoramas of Mexico

A Guide to the Collection



Overview

Creator: Giesecke family
Title: Giesecke family collection of photographs and panoramas of Mexico
Inclusive Dates: 1895-1938
Abstract: Members of the Giesecke family, German-Texans who were originally from Texas, lived in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, ca. 1904-1911. This collection consists of photographs, real photographic postcards and panoramas including views of markets, tourist sites, homes, people in native dress, dignitaries, parades, bullfights, General Porfirio Diaz, villages, agriculture, mining, ships and railroad lines in Torreon and other cities in Mexico. The collection includes 31 panoramic photographs made with a Cirkut Camera, many by Eugenio. B. Downing often working with Kurt P. Giesecke. The family left Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.
Accession No: Ag1999.1261sx, Ag1999.1261x
Extent: 6 boxes
Language: Material is in English
Repository DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Several members of the Giesecke family emigrated from Goslar, Germany and settled in Texas in the 1840s. Finding it difficult to make a good living there, members of the family moved to Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Kurt P. Giesecke was the oldest child and had graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1895. In 1904, Kurt moved with his wife, Ella and daughter, Lynette, to Mexico to run the Botica Central, a pharmacy in Torreon. The drug store also sold photographic equipment and supplies, paints and office supplies. Kurt’s brother Leo was a sheet metal worker, machinist and artist who moved around Mexico living in Torreon, Gomez Palacio and Mexico City. By the spring of 1909, Kurt had become disenchanted with the pharmacy business in Torreon and began working with Eugenio B. Downing, a photographer from Oakland, California who specialized in large panoramas and was operating in Torreon and Mexico City. They traveled to various cities photographing haciendas, mining communities and smelters. By 1911, Kurt had decided to leave the photography business, and, with the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution, the family moved back to Texas.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Giesecke collection consists of 31 large panoramas and 220 photographic prints and postcards, mostly of Mexico and a few of Nicaragua. The smaller photographs and postcards are of home interiors (some decorated for Christmas), markets, people in native dress, bullfights, the inauguration of Giuseppe Garibaldi II, General Porfirio Diaz, the Casino in Saltillo, the Mexican Centennial celebration, September, 1910, mine sites, and the cities of Guanajuato, Aguas Calientes, Mexico City, and Durango. The panoramas are of haciendas, mining, and smelting operations. Some images dating came from Xerox copies of letters from Kurt P. Giesecke to his mother, provided by the family in 2010.

Return to the Table of Contents


 

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 2 series:
Series 1: Postcards and small photographs
Series 2: Panorama photographs

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Return to the Table of Contents


Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Giesecke family.
Photography -- Equipment and supplies.
Mexico -- Description and travel.
Photographs.
Panoramic photographs.
Photographic postcards.
Giesecke, Kurt P.
Downing, Eugenio B.

Return to the Table of Contents


Related Material

Manning Texas and Mexico collection, Ag1981.0004

Collection of photographs of Mexico, Ag1998.1231

Photographs from Wilbur E. Henry (taken while in Mexico), Ag2002.1411

James L. Price photographs, Ag2006.0008

Lawrence T. Jones III Texas photography collection, Ag2008.0005

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Giesecke family collection of photographs of Mexico, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Acquisition Information

Gift, James Giesecke, 1999.

Processing information

Housed previously by library employees, the collection was reorganized, sorted by location and described by Anne E. Peterson, 2009.

Processed by

Anne E. Peterson, 2009.

Finding aid written by

Anne E. Peterson, 2011.

Encoded by

Ada Negraru, 2011.

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series 1:
Postcards and Small Prints
1 Box

Box
1 Folders 1 and 2. Photographs and postcards
Included are 230 photographic prints and postcards relating to the Giesecke family while living in Mexico 1904-1911. The photographs are of home interiors, some decorated for Christmas, markets, people in native dress, bullfights, the Mexican Centennial celebration, September, 1910, mine sites, and the cities of Guanajuato, Aguas Calientes, Mexico City, and Durango. Most are views of Mexico, but some images are identified as in Nicaragua. There are also portraits of a wedding couple (possibly Kurt Giesecke and his wife), and President Porfirio Diaz. Many of the photographs are 5 x 7;” also included are real photographic postcards. Most photographs are probably by Kurt P. Giesecke, and some postcards are commercially made.
Folder 3. Box parts for Cirkut Camera film
A folder of five small box parts related to Cirkut Camera film which was used to make the panoramas in the Giesecke collection.

Return to the Table of Contents




 

Series 2:
Panoramas
5 Boxes

This series consists of 5 boxes with 26 rolled panoramas and 5 flattened panoramas stored flat in oversize. Included are panoramas of Centennial celebrations, and people by Eugenio B. Downing, some made with Kurt P. Giesecke.
Box
2
Panorama 1: Groups, Military Review
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, 19 Cinco de Mayo, Mexico, D.F., Photographer’s # 242.
Description: Centennial celebration review of troops, crowd gathered at reviewing stands, cars and horse-drawn carriages far right, ca. 1910.Height: 16 inches. Length: 67 inches.
Panorama 2: Groups of People
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 240.
Description: Large group of formally dresses people, military men, men in top hats, women with large hats in city probably on Reforma Avenue for the Centennial celebration taken at same place and with similar people as Panorama 5, ca. 1910. Height: 15 inches. Length: 80 inches.
Box
3
Included are panoramas of groups of people by Eugenio B. Downing.
Panorama 3: Groups, Men and Women
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 233.
Description: Formal group portrait taken outside, perhaps in a park, approximately 138 men and women, ca. 1910-11. Height: 15 inches . Length: 90 inches.
Panorma 5: Reforma Avenue, Mexico City, with Groups of People
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 241.
Description: Formal portrait taken at same place and with similar people as in Panorama 2, probably on Reforma Avenue for the Centennial celebration ca. 1910. Height: 16 inches, untrimmed, image 10”. Length: 81 inches.
Box
4
Included are panoramas of Monterrey, Chapultepec Castle, landscapes, mining operations, Zacatecas, Saltillo, San Luis Potosi by Eugenio B. Downing and Kurt P.Giesecke.
Panorama 6: Monterrey
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 102-D-99.
Description: Panoramic bird’s-eye view of Monterrey, Mexico, May, 1909. Height: 12 1/4 inches. Length: 116 inches.
Panorama 7: Chapultepec Castle and Park
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 217?
Description: Chapultepec Castle, a large building at top center of photograph and a water feature at bottom right with a road and carriages. Lower left, people are digging holes and planting in the surrounding Chapultepec Park, Mexico City, ca. 1910-11. Height: 15 1/4 inches. Length: 78 inches.
Panorama 8: Group Portrait, Residence
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 18-C-154.
Description: Informal group portrait of five women, one man, and a child on the balcony of interior courtyard of a residence, plants on the balustrade, March 1910. Possibly the house Giesecke and Downing and families were living in while in Guanajuato. Height: 11.5 inches. Length: 18.5 inches.
Panorama 9: Panorama, Central Mexico (Zacatecas or Durango?)
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing but probably also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 30-B-137.
Description: Panoramic photograph in rural location of dam system, bridge, and buildings taken from same location as Panorama 10. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 30 inches.
Panorama 10: Panorama, Landscape
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 30-B-137.
Description: Panorama of dam system, bridge, and buildings taken from same location as Panorama 9. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 30 inches.
Panorama 12: La Luz (Northern Zacatecas or Durango?) (Inscribed verso: "La Luz")
Photographer: Photographer not noted, made by E.B. Downing with Kurt P. Giesecke, Photographer’s #, none.
Description: Panoramic landscape photograph of town, church, surrounding mountains, and cultivated fields, La Luz, Guanajuato, central Mexico, March, 1910. Height: 7 1/2 inches. Length: 32 inches.
Panorama 15: Panorama, Cityscape of Guanajuato
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 48-B-146.
Description: Panorama, close-up cityscape of intersection, showing shop with sign, Cuidad Londres, sculpture and streetcar. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 43 inches.
Box
5
Included are panoramas of San Luis Potosi, landscapes, mining operations, a garden, Zacatecas, a wedding group, group in costume and Camp Allen, Texas most by Eugenio B. Downing.
Panorama 16: San Luis Potosí
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 96-D-74.
Description: Panorama of San Luis Potosí, North Central Mexico taken from the governor’s mansion, facing the south (?) side of the cathedral. Height: 12 1/2 inches . Length: 100 inches.
Panorama 17: Panorama, Landscape, Mining (Northern Zacatecas or Durango?)
Photographer: Photographer not noted, probably E.B. Downing and Kurt P. Giesecke, Photographer’s #, none.
Description: Panorama of a mining operation includes operations buildings right and what appear to be approximately two hundred miner’s dwellings on a hillside. Height: 8 inches. Length: 72 inches.
Panorama 18: Garden
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 69-B-73.
Description: Panorama of a garden and buildings, view of both formal flower garden and vegetable garden. Height: 8 inches . Length: 66 inches.
Panorama 19: Panorama, Mining, Concepcíon del Oro, Zacatecas (Inscribed verso: "Concepcíon del Oro, Zac.")
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke) Photographer’s # 511-B-6-26.
Description: Panoramic photograph of smelting and mining operation, the Mazapil Copper Company, Zacatecas, May 1909. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 55 inches.
Panorama 20: Panorama, Landscape, Mountain Village
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 36-B-144.
Description: Panorama of a village in the mountains, possibly same location as Panoramas 9 and 19. Height: 7 1/2 inches. Length: 35 inches.
Panorama 21: Panorama, Landscape
Photographer: Photographer not noted, probably E.B. Downing and Kurt P. Giesecke, Photographer’s #, none.
Description: Panorama of a hillside complex, possibly mining. Photograph marked with eight number indicators in white. Height: 8 inches. Length: 20 inches.
Panorama 22: Panorama, Mining Operations
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but probably also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 48-B-94.
Description: Panorama of a mining operation crudely hand-colored with pink and blue watercolor applied to the sky areas of the photograph, green applied to the mountains. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 49 inches.
Panorama 24: Panorama, Column of Independence, Monument
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 36-B-144.
Description: Panorama of the inauguration of the Columna de la Independenzia or “Column of Independence” monument, review stand, and some military, for the Mexican Centennial, September 16, 1910. Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma? Height: 7 3/4 inches . Length: 45 inches.
Panorama 25: Zacatecas
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 24-B-211.
Description: Panorama of a Zacatecas street with cathedral, "La Bufa," behind. Height: 8 inches, Length: 26 inches.
Panorama 26: Panorama, Landscape, Mining Village
Photographer: Photographer not noted; probably E.B. Downing with Kurt P. Giesecke, Photographer’s #, none.
Description: Panorama of a small hillside mining village. Height: 7 1/2 inches. Length: 33 inches.
Box
6
Panorama 27: Panorama, Landscape, Mining
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 50-B-37.
Description: Panoramic photograph of a hillside mining village. Height: 7 3/4 inches . Length: 52 inches.
Panorama 28: Costumed Group, Casino de Aguascalientes
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 36-B-119.
Description: Thirty costumed men and women inside Casino de Aguascalientes, December 1909. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 38 inches.
Panorama 29: Groups, Hacienda Wedding Party
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 48-B-76.
Description: Group portrait of a wedding party of 46 formally attired men and women, bride and groom center. Same location as Panorama 30 in oversize. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 45 inches.
Panorama 31: Panorama, Camp Allen, Texas
Photographer: East Texas Engraving Co. Inc.
Title in negative: "Camp Allen. Council of Young Churchmen. Diocese of Texas. Nov. 4-5-6, 1938." Inscribed verso: "Linette Giesecke." Photographer’s #, none.
Description: Panorama of a group of young men and women and priests. Height: 7 inches. Length: 26 inches.
Shelf
Oversize
Includes flattened panoramas.
Panorama 4: Groups, Military Men including President Porfirio Diaz
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 239.
Description: Formal portrait, mostly of military men with President Porfirio Diaz, perhaps for the Centennial celebration (possibly with Minister of Foreign Affairs Enrique Creel). Height: 10 inches . Length: 56 inches.
Panorama 11: Zacatecas
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 27-78-210.
Description: Panorama of plaza with people sitting on park benches, Zacatecas, Mexico. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 27 inches.
Panorama 13: Landscape, Hacienda San Diego, San Luis Potosi (Inscribed verso, "Hacienda San Diego, Rio Verde, S.L.P.")
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 40-B-87.
Description: Panorama, landscape of Hacienda San Diego, Rio Verde, San Luis de Potosi and small village, November, 1909. Height: 8 inches. Length: 39 inches.
Panorama 14: Zacatecas (Inscribed verso, "Zacatecas.")
Photographer: No photographer noted, probably E.B. Downing and Kurt P. Giesecke. Photographer’s #, none.
Description: Panorama of Zacatecas, Zacatecas, North Central Mexico, December, 1909 (probably taken from the NE side of town, with view of observatory and church on La Bufa ridge). Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 42 inches.
Panorama 23: Group, Miners
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia (imprinted Downing, but also made with Kurt P. Giesecke), Photographer’s # 26-B-9-52.
Description: Several hundred men and boys in work attire, probably mine site, adobe buildings in background. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 28 inches.
Panorama 30: Hacienda Wedding Procession
Photographer: E.B. Downing y Cia, Photographer’s # 28-B-78.
Description: Panoramic photograph of a hacienda wedding procession with approximately fifty people, many onlookers, possibly in Rio Verde. Same location as Panorama 29. Height: 7 3/4 inches. Length: 49 inches.

Return to the Table of Contents