Africa in historical photographs from German colonial times

Image Collection of the German Colonial Society

During the second half of the 19th century numerous societies arose that concerned themselves with caring for German emigrants, and spreading of colonial ideas. The most important was the “German Colonial Society” (Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft, DKG) founded in 1887. For their propaganda activities its members collected not only books (ca. 18,000) and journals, but also many photographs, which were used to illustrate their publicity lectures in Germany. Together with some smaller archive, more than 50,000 historical photographs have been digitized by Frankfurt University Library and can be accessed onlinewithout charge:


A search interface and a thesaurus in English are available.

The pictures from Africa are also accessible via ilissAfrica in English or French.

More information about the archive you will find here and some pictures from the collection are available on Flickr.

Terms of Use / Image Order (Note: fees changed from 1st April 2013 on)

It is possible to use the pictures for academic publications under the following conditions:

We can supply a TIF-file in a resolution which is high enough for reproducing it in a book. We can deliver a CD-ROM or the pictures are put on a special server, where they can be downloaded. According to the order regulating our fees (§10, §11) we charge

  • 5 EUR for the production (includes a maximum of 5 pictures)
  • further pictures will be 1 EUR per picture extra
  • 2 EUR for a CD-ROM (if desired)
  • 2 EUR (in Germany), 4 EUR (in Europe), 8 EUR (everywhere else) for postage (if desired)
  • 15 EUR for the permission to print the pictures in commercial publications

We make it a condition that our institution is quoted in a proper way ( “Koloniales Bildarchiv, Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main” or “Colonial Picture Archive, University Library of Frankfurt/Main”) and we expect a voucher copy of the publication.

Please send us the special “CD-Code” of the pictures needed and a proper postal address.

We do not accept Cheques, or IFLA-Vouchers or International Postal Coupons. Convenient will be a normal bank transfer to the bank account which will be on the invoice.  There might be additional fees to cover bank charges in case of orders from a non-EU country.

For further questions, for the regulations for online publications, and for orders please contact Aïsha Othman ( or Christina Sokol (

About ilissafrica
This is the blog of the internet library sub-saharan Africa (ilissAfrica).

One Response to Africa in historical photographs from German colonial times

  1. Pingback: New in ilissAfrica’s cross search: Colonial photographs from Africa « ilissafrica's Blog

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