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Portrait of Walter Montagu Kerr

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3052K

Scope and Contents

A woodburytype print measuring 103 x 166 mm. mounted as the frontispiece to Walter Montagu Kerr, 'The Far Interior' (2 vols. London 1886). The half length studio portrait shows Kerr in an open necked shirt and a bush hat standing in front of a backdrop of vegetation.

Kerr (1852-1888), an explorer of central Africa in Livingstone's footsteps started life as an engineer, working for a period on the old Tay Bridge. In 1873 he went to California in an engineering capacity, eventually rising to the position of acting chief Engineer at the Spring Valley Waterworks. For a period after this he worked on the New York Stock Exchange, leaving there to go to South Africa in 1883.

His one major feat of exploration, described in ‘The Far Interior’, was his expedition from the Cape to the Central African lakes in 1883-85. After a period spent in Southern Mexico investigating sites suitable for colonisation he conceived the idea of an expedition to Khartoum to recover Gordon’s journals. Failing to get permission to enter the Sudan, Kerr decided instead to trek inland from the coast to visit Emin Pasha at Wadelei. He fell ill from fever at the very start of the expedition at the end of 1887 and left Africa to recuperate in the South of France where he died the following year.


  • Creation: 1886


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Hayman Selig Mendelssohn was a naturalised British subject. He was originally from Poland, but fled after taking part in an uprising. He is thought to have been a relative of Albert Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn initially worked for the Downey Studio before establishing his own business. He practised as a photographer in Newcastle and opened in a studio in South Kensington, London in 1882. He was based at 27 Cathcart Road, South Kensington, from 1883 to 1888 and had a partner studio in Oxford Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. He established another studio at 14 Pembridge Crescent, Bayswater, London, in 1886. In 1887 he was in business with Herman E. Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was still in business in 1908. As well as producing cabinet and carte-de-visite photographs, he was a publisher and importer of photographs and chromos, and a printseller.


1 item(s) (1 image)

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche number 144.


This collection level description was entered by WS using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Mendelssohn, Hayman Selig, b c 1849, photographer

2006-09-12 15:19:45+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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