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The rich history of the Philippines blends deep Asian, European and American influences. The country endured Spanish colonization and U.S. rule in the 19th century and Japanese occupation during the 20th century.

The early 1900s, when the U.S. ruled the Philippines, is reflected in these images captured by a handful of photographers and publishers. This was but a few years after the Spanish were driven out, so the names and architecture still reflect those influences. Cardinell-Vincent Co. of San Francisco and Los Angeles was a popular provider of beautiful vintage prints showing Filipino scenery, roads and its people. Many of the image publishers of the Philippines a century ago were based in California, where American military and business interests were often based.

Edward H. Mitchell, also a San Francisco firm, was one of the most prolific postcard publishers in the United States. Mitchell published many early cards, particularly colored sketches that were printed in Germany. Before the earthquake and fire of 1906 that ravaged a significant part of San Francisco, Mitchell provided undivided back (the entire back of the card could only be used for the address) cards from his Post Street residence. Later, he constructed a plant and warehouse on Army Street on the edge of the city.

From here, he published about thousands of different cards. This consists of many beautiful scenes of San Francisco and the West, series on the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines, comics, real photo views of superior quality, aesthetic designs and a serial of images depicting early images of the fruits and vegetables of California. He printed cards for other publishers too. In fact, Edward H. Mitchell made a significant contribution to the fortunes of 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition.