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R. H. Fyfe travel scrapbooks

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 620
The R. H. Fyfe travel scrapbooks consist of two bound scrapbooks. One of the albums is inscribed with "Photographs" and "R. H. Fyfe 1906" on the cover and the other album has "Postal Souvenirs" on the cover, both in a gold color. The album labelled "Photographs" contains what are known as Yokohama photographs.

Yokohama photographs, or tourist photographs, were photos taken for Western tourists as a souvenirs, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. The photos were also sold in Western countries for individuals who could not afford to personally travel there.

The images would be hand-colored and would commonly fit into three themes or categories: customs and types, or Japanese people in traditional settings and clothing, women, and famous views and places.

Many tourists bemoaned the westernization of Japan, which occurred due to the constant exposure of Western culture and people. Thus, many of the photos would be staged with actors in order for the photos to be considered an "authentic" representation of traditional Japan.

The "Postal Souvenirs" album contain postcards, original photographs, and travel ephemera including telegraphs, promotional materials, and social invitations. Images broadly represent Asia, including locations in India, the Philippines, Myanmar/Burma, Singapore, but also include Hawaii, and Italy.


  • 1906 - 1912

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Access The material is stored off site. Please request 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact MSU Libraries Special Collections.


1.1 Linear Feet (1 box)

Biographical / Historical

Richard Henry Fyfe (1839-1931) owned and operated a shoe store and business in Detroit. In 1919, he opened "Temple of Shoes," the largest retail shoe store in the world. The height of the store's success was around 1950.

Custodial History

The collection was donated by Jim Karsina to the Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University around 2003. Later, it was transferred to MSU Special Collections.

Processing Information

Catharine Neely processed this collection in 2018.

Sources consulted include The Detroit Historical Society, "Compendium of History and Biography of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan" eBook, and
Finding Aid for the R. H. Fyfe Travel Scrapbooks
Catharine Neely
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48824 USA