CH: Correspondence Switzerland-Algeria online

A very special Topotheque deals with correspondence between Switzerland and French Algeria. Envelopes, stamps and postcards from 1840 to 1962 form the basis of this private Swiss Topotheque. The interest in this unusual collection was awakened in topotheque curator Ulrike Klauser as early as 1975, when she learned about the Swiss abroad in Algeria during her commercial apprenticeship. Later she studied general history at the University of Zurich and wrote her thesis on the Swiss in Algeria. In her foreword, Ulrike Klauser explains in more detail: “The first Swiss emigrants came from the canton of Valais and settled near Alger and in the Mitidja. Later, professionals from Ticino, French-speaking Switzerland and German-speaking Switzerland emigrated. They wrote home, of which few envelopes survive from the 19th century. On the other hand, there are surviving envelopes between watchmakers, cheese merchants, St. Gallen embroidery sellers and cotton printing factories in Glarus and commercial agents in Algeria. The transport of mail by horse-drawn carriage, train, ship and later by air is also worth a look. Of course, there were also picture postcards sent home by Swiss tourists during their stay in North Africa, there were pen pals between Swiss residents in Algeria and people from home, and Swiss foreign legionnaires writing. One finds censored envelopes from the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The collection is completed with maps from travel guides, engravings, wine labels, collector’s cards from chocolate factories, photo reproductions from books and journals as well as texts that contribute to the understanding of colonial history in North Africa”. Let yourself be surprised by this special Topotheque!