Flowers and Views of the Holy Land

Tom brought back several items he acquired on his travels during WWI. One was a small book containing illustrations and pressed flowers from places in Palestine. Presumably it was a gift for Ethel. The book, with back and front covers made of wood, is called “Flowers of the Holy Land.” More interesting than simply a collection of picture postcards.

Tom was probably in Palestine at the time of the Balfour Declaration, a crucial contribution of the efforts of the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish state.

This is a photo of the front cover of the book.

front-cover

This is the first page

frontspiece

An illustration of Jerusalem.

jerusalem

Pressed flowers gathered in Jerusalem.

jerusalem-flowers

An illustration of Bethlehem

bethlehem

Pressed flowers gathered in Bethlehem

bethlehem-flowers

An illustration of the Mount of Olives

mount-of-olives

Pressed flowers gathered on the Mount of Olives

moo-flowers

An illustration of Jaffa

jaffa

Pressed flowers gathered in Jaffa

jaffa-flowers

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59 Responses to Flowers and Views of the Holy Land

  1. Karen Saunders says:

    I have exactly the same book as you. All the flowers are intact but the binding is a little worse for wear. I am wanting to sell but dont know where to go with it or its value, could you please advise

  2. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Karen.

    I’m afraid I have no idea as to the value of the object. You could look on Ebay to see if anyone else is selling one.

    Do you have any information about when or where they were made?

    Peter Leaver

  3. Jesse says:

    Flowers & Views of the Holy Land dates to approximately the turn of the 20th century. It was published by A. L. Monsohn lithographers, a Jerusalem business dating to 1892. I happen to know this bit of information because I am descended from the Monsohn family.

    There must have been several editions of F&V, as your copy has several lithographs that don’t appear in the copy that I have. I’d love to get higher res scans of your Bethlehem and Jaffa images.

    Cheers,

    Jesse

  4. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Jesse.

    I’d happy to scan them for you. There are also a few others I didn’t include in the blog. Thanks for the background information, very interesting.

    Best regards,

    Peter

  5. Robert Bailey says:

    I have a copy which is sub-titled ‘Souvenir of the British Accupation 9 December 1917, Jeruselem’ edition Isaac Chagrise.
    This I found in my loft together with a leather bound copy of the Bible that has a wooden back page with ‘Jerusalem’ carved into it, identical to the front cover shown above.
    I would welcome any information relating to these books.

  6. donna says:

    hello i have a book similar to this but it has nazareth on the back of the book does anyone know about this it has 12 pages with tracing paper between each page thanks

  7. beth says:

    Thanks for sharing the views of holy land. It looks awesome. Enjoyed it very much.

  8. Heather says:

    Hi. I have the same wood book, with the flowers pressed. I haven’t found any other info. out there. I was wondering if you had gotten any further in your research of the books value? Mine also had a greeting card in it for easter with the same kind of pressed flowers in the card and the hymn “Near the Cross”. Thanks for your time.

  9. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Heather. No, I haven’t been able to find out any more about the book but I suspect it is not worth very much. It seems to have been quite a common tourist item.

  10. enrique yidi says:

    hi, i am a collector of bethlehem post cards and fotos.
    i will love to have scan the picture of bethlehem with the camel and people.
    these books were made for tourist and piligrins that visited the holy land.they were very popular after 1918 when the british ocupy palestine from the otoman empire.
    i have two books with flowers and post card that i bougth in ebay last year.i pay us$80 for one and us$110 for the second one.
    the cover is all made in olive wood and inside are the post cards and dried flowers from all holy land.
    at that time these was an special gift to bring from the holy land.
    best reg.
    enrique yidi

  11. Graeme Smith says:

    I have a similar book titled “Flowers & Views of the Holy Land Fleurs et Vues De La Terre Sainte with 10 postcards and pressed flowers opposite, the final postcard showing 4 Bedouins on horseback. Received as a bequeath many years ago in NZ and would like to get an idea of value. Any ideas?

  12. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Graeme.

    One of the other people who commented below the post said he bought two of the books on Ebay, one for $80 and another for $110. In case you didn’t read them, several of the comments provide interesting information about the books.

    Peter

  13. Jeff vanPage says:

    My flowers of the holyland book is slightly different dated Dec 25th 1893 signed by Geo F D Paine and assembled by Ferdinand Vester. Its Olive wood with Jerusalem on the back but a symbol carved on the cover and in near perfect condition. Flowers are from Gethesmane, Tombs of the prophets, Bethany, Bethleham, Jordan, Salem and others.
    Still wondering, jeffvanpage@yahoo.com

  14. thebarrowboy says:

    Yours seems to be quite a bit older, then. I didn’t realize they had been producing them for so long.

  15. Eleanor Bowen says:

    Hi,
    My “Flowers of the Holy Land’, like many of those previously mentioned, has an olive wood cover but this is inlaid and has Hebrew inscriptions. It is a German/Hebrew version, so is also entitled ‘Blumen des Heiligen Landes’. It reads from right to left, and the date inside is 1879 so I guess may be one of the earliest editions. Someone has lovingly completed the flower designs with plant fronds collected from each place, eg ‘Flowers of the Mount of Olives’. There is a fly leaf (at the ‘back’) with an illustration showing the Hospital Misgab-Ladach, detailed in Hebrew. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has a book of this era.
    Thanks.

  16. Nancy Gould says:

    My book is 10″x13″ with olive wood cover & Jerusalem on back cover under which are markings that may be Hebrew. It has 24 cardboard pages with pressed flowers on them and tissues over them. (one tissue is missing.) Each page is a different holy site with elaborate pictures made of pressed flowers and/or crosses. The first page is blank, second has “Wild Flowers of the Holy Land Boulosmeo Jerusalem”. I went to a classs at our junior college last week called (What’s in your attic.) The teacher found on-line a framed pressed flowers of the holy land picture they were selling for $149.00 but since I’ve gotten home I cannot find the web site. I am having it appraised at our antique center in the near future.

  17. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Nancy. Thanks for the info on your book. It is slightly different from my one. Several editions must have been produced, to judge from the different people who have commented on this post.

  18. Shelley says:

    I also have one of these books i inherited from my mother who inherited from her mother and i believe she got it from her mother. Mine has a picture on front into the wood of 3 camels , the back simply says jerusalem. It doesn’t say publisher but first page says Flowers and views of the holy land in english, there is a title in what looks like hebrew as well as french. All pages are in all three languages pictures are coloured and there are with pressed flowers between each picture. Leather binding has flowers of the holy land embossed on it

  19. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Shelley. Tx for the comment. We are gathering quite a bit of information about these books. They seem to have been very popular.

    Best regards,

    Peter

  20. Marie grant says:

    Hi my name is marie , I also have a similar book , the front cover, has jerusleme at the top right hand corner, and also has on the front , an image of a tree,and treasure below the tree. the prohet on a camel, and camel laying down. inside on the first page is a note that reads. ” to All at home from Clyde. before i go up the line. post cards of jeruslem from mount olives right side is the flowers. 2 page Nazareth- church of the annunciation right flowers .bethlehem the basilica. jeusalem -tombs of the kings . flowers to right. bethlehem- christmas day. flowers to right. post card of tower of david and hippicus ,flowers again three other post cards and pressed flowers. The Album- Souvenir flowers and views of the holy land. holds a gifted vision for myself, that history should never be lost and cerished with the value this little book deserves.

  21. Marie grant says:

    it great to see, that not only do I hold the treasure of the wood book.

  22. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Marie. I agree these books are areal treasure. How did you get yours?

  23. Tandy says:

    Hi to everyone
    I have copy bought by my granfather in 1907
    Flowers and Views of the Holy Land Jeruslalem
    MACHDRUCK VERBOTEN
    VERLAG V. A. L. KAHANE Jeruslalem Palestine.
    Has anyone got a similar copy.

  24. Alberto Gerardo Garcia says:

    Tengo un destos libros de jerusalem em buena conservacion con 12 paginas de inicio del siglo xx me gustaria saber el precio que puede ser vendido y adonde.Fue traido por inmigrantes italianos a Argentina . Desde ya muchas gracias

  25. thebarrowboy says:

    Alberto: creo que podría buscar en Ebay. A lo mejor encontrará libritos de estos a la venta.

  26. David Bunis says:

    Hello,
    I’ve just noticed the correspondence between you and Jesse Aronson re the Flowers of the Holy Land books – two years ago. I wonder if you could send me the same scans you sent him – for the same reason: I too am a descendant of the Monsohn’s.
    Thanks in advance for considering this.
    Best wishes,
    David

  27. Corri Gottesman says:

    Hi I’ve been collecting these books for the last year or so. I’ve gotten pretty far via ebay, abebooks and a couple of other venues. People list these for a wide range of prices $25-$1500! My goal is to buy as many editions as I can (example from each publisher). There were many publishers of this book! Someone above had a Boulos Meo large book that I might be interested in. I find these books to be fascinating, by collecting, I end up asking many questions about the history surrounding these books. I’d like to share my collection with others somehow.. don’t know how, but somehow…

  28. Hi, I too have copy of this book, although the fron cover (if right to left) has a carving of a temple? Dome of the Rock maybe? The publisher was Monsohn. It was brought back by my grandfather who was a private in the 1/4 Northamptonshire Regiment which served in Egypt and Palestine in WW1. He also brought back three small wooden camels, which I still have, although these are the worse for wear. I treasure all these items, and have done since I was a small child.

  29. bjørn hovde says:

    I found a copy of the book, the “Blumen u. Ansichten aus dem Heiligen Lande”-variant mentioned in some of the above posts. The illustrations corresponds with several copies already mentioned, but this one was apparently bought in Turkey (!), in Messina in 1909 (according to an inscription done in ink). Maybe this was an “export copy” of the book. Within the pages was placed a beautiful small japanese woodcut of of two grey geese flying, probably late 18th century. The wood backcover has an inlaid piece of wood, probably because some piece fell out during the binding process. I picked up this copy at a Salvation Army fleamarket in Oslo, Norway in April 2011. A beatiful copy, with all the plants and flowers perfectly preserved. Regrettably, the sellers was not allowed to give me the province of the book, or could tell where it came from. It’s a beautiful little memento from a journey to The Holy Land one hundred yers ago.

  30. thebarrowboy says:

    Sounds like a great idea. Why not scan all the books and create a blog page?

  31. thebarrowboy says:

    Fascinating. What a story there is to these books.

  32. Juanita Hanson says:

    I have a a similar book called Flowers from the Holy land on the front cover is a tree a goat and a person playing a flute a tree and a ink or pencil drawing of Rachels Tomb all the front wooden cover is done in ink or pencil the first 2pages are blank apicture of Serie pompei 18 printed in Italy it may not belong to the book the second oage is Flowers and views of the holy land then in french I thinkthe very first picture is jerusalem, mosque of omar also written in french and hebrew I would like to know if the book came back to Australia from the WW1

  33. Friedrich Tobil says:

    Hi to all on this site !
    Own also a version-dated 1891-and was interested in the history of it.
    Found some hint on the website of the Library of Congress -Exhibition on the
    American Colony in Jerusalem, especially on The American Coloby at work:
    “Colony members also collected specimens of the flowers mentioned in the Bible that they pressed and pasted on cards and in albums and books to sell to tourists and pilgrims.” (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/americancolony/amcolony-atwork.html)
    Another hint (for Jeff vanPage : F. Vester is “Frederick Vester” !) is part of Wadewitz Book Collection (just 1 book !):
    (http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/books/wadewitz/flowers_holy_land/default_wadewitz_flowers.htm)
    Greetings to Eleanor – yours seems to be the eldest exemplar ; that what interests me most of all questions about the history of these “booklets” is/are the movement(s) behind just before WWI or the foundation of IL – especially the social migrations in the last half of 19th century.

  34. thebarrowboy says:

    Thanks for that very interesting information.

  35. Corri Gottesman says:

    @ frederick — I am unfamiliar with the initials IL– do you mean Israel or something else? One thing I like about these little books is that they generate so many different questions of which the books themselves might give a bit of an answer (i.e. your question about social migrations). I have never seen a book older than from 1896– so your book and any other book b/f that date is “old” for me. @ the Barrow Boy– I think your comment about starting a blog page was directed towards me and my collection? If so, I have thought about starting a blog about these little books. It would be a very interesting way to gather and share info about these books and to share questions, ideas etc. A global conversation about these books.

  36. East Paladin says:

    Thanks for this site. I also have a copy of this interesting flower book. Let me show you what I have in my blog. – Jim

    http://playroom.tumblr.com/post/8795128849/flowers-of-the-holy-land-ferdinand-vester-circa

  37. Corri Gottesman says:

    Jim (E Paladin), your book is exquisite. I think I saw it for sale on ebay? I remember thinking it’s out of my range right now. I think books made by the American Colony (Vester) are very rare. I have one (small and simple). The artistry of the flower arrangements in your book is beyond what is typical. It really is a piece of art. thanks for sharing.

  38. Jeanette Oehrlein says:

    I have a very similar book but my pictures are photgraphs in black and white on a page with the dried flowers with tissue paper on the facing page. Leather ornamental binding. No date, Olive wood front and back with only the word Jerusalem on the front. j

  39. thebarrowboy says:

    Sounds very interesting, I’d love to see one like that.

  40. thebarrowboy says:

    Your book is in excellent condition; mine isn’t.

  41. Paul Caffrey says:

    Hi all i have bought a book today from a junk shop,it has a wooden cover with three camels+one
    woman copyright Emanuel Freidman co P.O.B. 324 Jerusalem is printed on the first in side page.
    There are twelve coloured plates Jerusalem from Mount Olives,The Walling Wall,Mosque of Omar
    The Hebrew University on Mont Scopus,The Citadel,Rachels Tomb,Hebron The Great Mosque,
    Tel-Aviv Allenby-Street,View from MT Carmel to Haifa and the Bay,Tiberias and the Lake,Safed,
    + twelve pressed flowers.The back cover is also made of wood with Jerusalem it is from the ww2
    as it has printed inside 24th July 1942 Paul.

  42. Debbie Green says:

    I also have a similar book. It reads from right to left (“backwards”), and has a relief carving of a temple on the front cover as well as the word Jerusalem, which is also in Hebrew. The front plate says Flowers and Views of the Holy Land Jerusalem, with Hebrew above, all inside a beautiful coloured engraving of gold curlycues with roses and blue ribbon. In the bottom left hand corner in tiny print it says lith.A.L.Monsohn, Jerusalem. I can’t find a date anywhere. There are12 pressed flower pages with coloured prints on the back like yours only brighter, interleaved with tissue paper.The captions of the flowers are in German, English, French and Greek, and the captions to the plates are in Greek, Hebrew and German.
    I remember loving this book since childhood. My father is Jewish so I assume it was in his family. He was born in London in 1919 and has never been to Israel . I will ask him to see if he remembers where it came from if he can remember at 92!!
    I have just found a copy on E-bay for 145 pounds sterling.
    Deborah

  43. JC says:

    FLOWERS FROM THE HOLY LAND

    FLEURS DE TERRE SAINTE

    Blumen aus dem Heiligen Lande

    JERUSALEM

    Anyone has this? says “Jerusalem” on the front cover made of polished wood but very aged book.

    Flowers from Jerusalem,Gethsemane,Mount of Olives,Valley of Josaphat,Silioam,Mount Zion,Bethlehem,Bethany,Jericho,St.John and Nazareth.

    Email or reply me I will send the photos!

    Thanks.

  44. Ami Zehavi says:

    I am interested in the different uses of pressed flowers from israel, from the end of the 19th C. to date, including of course these pilgrim souvenir books. I have a nice collection of such booklets, actually 36 of this type, most of which I bought through ebay.
    I had no idea they date back to 1879, as Eleanor Bowen had mentioned above, actually none of those I have has a publishing date, except those “in remembrance of the British occupation of Jerusalem” 1917. Therefore, I’ll be most thankful to have a photo of the front page (and the Misgav Ladach page).
    Interesting: in some of the Jewish editions there is a reminder of the copyrights, in a form of citation from the bible: Deutr. 27, 17.
    I am happy I found this interesting conversation. And guess what, it rains outside!
    Ami Tel Aviv
    Zehavim@netvision.net.il

  45. Tim Smith says:

    Hello, I too have found a copy today at a local yard sale, and when I saw it, I knew it would be something special. Even better that it cost 50 Australian cents! (about 45 cents U.S.). It appears to be the same edition as Debbie Green’s above, and will certainly hold onto it. Would love to know what the date of publication was! What an interesting book, I may start a blog on it where we can post the different editions and the history. Tim.

  46. Martin Perry says:

    I’ve just bought one of these books. The first page has the usual ‘Flowers & Views of the Holy Land’ but only in French and English. Anyone know if this make it earlier or later than the others mentioned here?

  47. Lauren Babus says:

    My copy has Jerusalem in English and Hebrew on the front. There is no date inside. First page says Flowers of the Holy Land in German, French and English. Inside are 12 pressed flower pages with Hebrew on the top of each page indicating a quote from Jewish Scriptures and then the words Flowers from Jerusalem in Hebrew; on the bottom is Flowers from Jerusalem in France, German, and English.The second page shows wildflowers on ferns that are laid out in the shape of a Jewish (six point) star. My family actually had two copies of this and one was donated to The Jewish Museum in NYC.

  48. Linda Brazier says:

    I too have a copy of the wooden book with flowers and views of the Holy Land, Jerusalem on front, 12 pressed flower pages in four languages, no date but it says A.L.Kahane Jerusalem, Palestine on the front (which is the back too it reads backwards). My mum had it and now it is passed on to me. I think my dad;s brother must have bought it back from his travels in the war.
    Trying to find out more about it and how much it is worth as really it has no meaning to me.

  49. Barbara Aster says:

    One of these books were amongst my dear friends effects and I now have this small 5″ x 3 1/2″ pressed flowers from the Holy Land book with the wooden cover. It has Jerusalem on the cover with coloured views of biblical places tissue paper covering the pressed flowers. The inscription under the flowers is in English, French, German and either Hebrew or Greek. The front page in colour says BLUMEN UND ANSICHTEN aus dem Heiligen Lande – FLOWERS and VIEWS of the HOLY LAND, JERSUSALEM. There is no indication of the date but looks quite old. I find it facinating, and previous information submitted has been very useful.

  50. Valerie Potter says:

    I’ve got one that has two camels, with a rider on the first camel, a cactus on the left and a palm tree on the right on the cover. The first page is a woodcut of a woman picking flowers in the foreground left; with a goatherd in middle ground right.
    The languages are Hebrew, English and French on the first page. It’s published by Emanuel Friedman & Co; P.O.B. 323 Jerusalem. This has no date. Each page is headed in Hebrew. Below the picture is a description in English, French, German and Italian. On the back is the synagogue, with Hebrew script below – I can’t read Hebrew.
    I’m thrilled to find this blog. I bought this lovely little book 35 years ago for 20 cents Australian. I’ve always wondered who made them and why. Now it seems they were bought up by soldiers in Palestine in WW1 and sent home.
    If we all have different covers, then could they have been individually painted? I’m not familiar enough with painting to see whether this is likely or not from my own book.

    I love how strong the colours are in the flowers still. 95 years at least!

  51. Ami Zehavi says:

    I have’nt visit this nice blog for a while. There was a question about the age concerning the languages – I dont think so. The booklets I have bear all kinds of language combinations – German, English, French, Hebrew, Russian, Greek, Polish, Arabic…
    I think the picture added could be a key – I guess the earliest were with no pictures (till 1895 maybe), later appeared those with lithographs, mainly by Leib Monsohn (1895 – 1915), afterwards the photographs – 1st the B/W and the the coulored. A few of these books were still produced in the beginning pf the 50’s, saying HK Jordan, which means it’s after 1948 (East Jerusalem and the holy places governed by the Jordanians).
    If you happen to read the book The little daughter of Jerusalem by Myriam Harry 1919 (written in French 1914) you’ll find several mentions of these books that her father used to sell, and their preparation.

  52. Taria Cavell-Chesterman says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Many blessings Barrow Boy for making this posting!!

    I discovered one of these magical books in a charity shop yesterday. Funny enough I had been in the shop a day earlier and heard the words Flowers From Jerusalem. I immediately thought of some pressed flowers that my Nan had given me from Jerusalem which I seem to have lost!! The next day I was guided to a display unit where I found this beautiful wooden treasure which is in superb condition. I am hoping to sell mine, not sure the best way to do it yet. XxX

  53. Beverly Libby says:

    I also have one of these Flowers of the holy land books but one of the things that is different is that on the back instead of Jerusalem it has Betlehem. Not Bethlehem. It is either Betlehem or Bellehem. Can you tell me if that makes it more rare . I have not found another one like that. Thank you Beverly

  54. thebarrowboy says:

    Sounds like it might be but I have no idea, really. I’m surprised the books are as common as they are.

  55. Beryl says:

    I also have a Flowers from the Holy Land book. It is in very fine condition and has only flowers with notations, no lithographs. It was sent by my mother’s cousin to his mother when he journeyed to Australia by ship in 1912. His notation says that he purchased it in Port Said in that year. It would appear to be quite a common souvenir available for purchase in the Middle East during that period. I can imagine that Port Said was full of them! I would doubt that the pressed flowers actually came from Palestine, but to have pressed flowers from over 100 years ago is a miracle in itself 😊

  56. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Beryl. They are a wonderful keepsake.

  57. Sharoin Launer says:

    Hi I have the exact book in the pictures above, the cover that has the words Jerusalem on it when opened is upside down compared to the pictures, wondering if anyone else has the same problem.
    Thankyou Sharon

  58. hi im a collector of holy land illustration , please to all of you if you can scan your photo or books & send it via email to me, with regards.
    fk_he_rd_en_75@hotmail
    whtsup app: 00962799886565

  59. Michelle Dunniece says:

    Hi – I have a book small size with full colour plates of sites – title on the wooden cover is Jerusalem Nazareth – can anyone tell me anything about this one with the colour images and every page interleaved with real flowers with tissue paper interleaving them – copyright EMANUEL FRIEDMAN as mentioned earlier in this thread? Any help or information would be great – thanks

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