THE COPTS IN FRANK G. CARPENTER’S CAIRO TO KISUMU
Figure 1: The writer on the great Aswan Dam “The dam serves also as a bridge over the Nile. I crossed on a car, my motive power being two Arab boys who trotted behind.”
Frank G. Carpenter (1855 – 1924) was an American traveller and photographer who toured the world and wrote several very interesting and popular series of books called Carpenter’s World Travels between 1915 and 1930. One of his much interesting books is Cairo to Kisumu: Egypt-Sudan-Kenya Colony, which was published in 1923 by the Garden City, New York, firm of Doubleday, Page & Company. The book is “not an account of a single journey, but a composite based on the notes Carpenter made on several trips to Africa over many years. Included are chapters on Egypt, Sudan, the Suez Canal, transport on the Red Sea, Aden (in present-day Yemen), the port of Mombasa, the Uganda Railway, Nairobi, big-game hunting, the British role in East Africa, and the African peoples, including the Kikuyu and the Masai.” “Carpenter’s books reflected the prejudices and preconceptions of his day, but they brought knowledge of the wider world to many Americans.” The book has recently been digitalised by the World Digital Library.
Figure 2: Frank G. Carpenter’s book: Cairo to Kisumu: Egypt-Sudan-Kenya Colony.
Cairo to Kisumu, which is all fascinating, has a few chapters which are relevant to the Copts. The reader may find these two chapters interesting:
CHAPTER XIII: The American College at Asyut (pp. 106 – 111).
CHAPTER IXX: The Christian Copts (pp. 112 – 116).
Some of Frank G. Gardner’s account on the Copts is defective and inaccurate but there are a few points which are good.
Here are some relevant photos (the reader may have already seen the photo of the Coptic Cathedral in Khartoum in our previous article “The Coptic Cathedral in Khartoum in 1923”):
Figure 3: The American College at Asyut. Asyut was a great Coptic centre at the time (p. 103).
Figure 4: Some of the students at the American College, most probably Copts. The College had many Copts but there were Muslim students too (p. 102).
Figure 5: More students at the American College (p. 103).