Natives listening to a phonograph, Joseph Rock, Kan-su China, 1925

by Larissa Glasser, Library Assistant
September 8, 2016

Natives listening to a phonograph

Natives listening to a phonograph, Joseph Rock, Kan-su China, 1925

Natives listening to a phonograph

China, Kan-su (Ch’ing-shui). People of Ch’ing-shui listening to my phonograph in front of my inn. Soldiers of my escort are guarding the entrance to the inn. Photo by J. F. Rock, April 11, 1925. [Information from label on verso of photo mount.] 11.5 x 17 cm. (photo), 24 x 30 cm. (board). Gelatin silver process.

China, Kan-su (Ch’ing-shui). Natives listening to a phonograph.

[Title from recto of photo mount.]
Photograph by Joseph Francis Charles Rock (1884-1962, American, Austrian)
Shixiang, Gansu Sheng, China
April 11, 1925

A larger version of this image is available in HOLLIS, the online catalog of Harvard Library. Another view is available here.

Excerpt from April 11, 1925: “We go to an inn about the second house to the left, where I stop in a room containing the family shrine, grains, etc. I opened the phonograph and gave the people of Ch’ing-shui a concert. They had never seen such a thing as a phonograph and stood in amazement massed around the music box listening to Caruso’s “Celeste Aida,” the Quartet of “Rigoletto,” etc. I took several pictures of the mob while they listened to the phonograph. I then took the phonograph to the top of the roof and photographed the throng that gathered on the roofs of the houses across the narrow dirty street.” (111)
–Rock, Joseph Francis Charles, Diary, 1924-1927, vol. 2, Archives, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh Library.

Many thousands more Botanical and Cultural Images of Eastern Asia, details on the life and travels of Joseph Rock, and of other plant explorers are available in our Visual Archives.

Photographs by Joseph Francis Charles Rock in the Joseph Francis Charles Rock Papers: Copyright © 1924-2003, President and Fellows of Harvard College; all rights reserved. Photographs and images from the collection may be reproduced only with written permission. Contact the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library of Harvard University, Jamaica Plain for permissions and fees.

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