The Duprees’ Collection
Dr. Louis and Nancy Dupree, husband and wife, spent over fifty years capturing photos of the evolution of physical structures and social life of Afghanistan, documenting the country’s transition from the pre-war era to post-conflict. The late Nancy Dupree gifted the ACKU with this collection of approximately five thousand photographic slides. The ACKU’s project with MEAP preserves this historically essential content through digitization and cataloguing materials.
The Duprees captured images across Afghanistan throughout the second half of the twentieth century-- a time when the country was a key location for the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War (1947-1991). The photo collection records the destruction and cultural consequences of the war through rare visual materials of Afghan cultural heritage, Kabul architecture, landscapes, archaeological materials, art, and even objects from the Kabul Museum.
In addition to the cultural and historical significance of this collection, the materials are also important for scholarly research, as they provide a different perspective from conventional texts on societal development in the country during the time. The Duprees’ collection represents Afghanistan in different key eras revolving around conflict and includes the intricacies of how conflict affected the country. With this archive, users will be able to study Afghanistan’s developments in politics, culture, history, and geography over a span of fifty years.
The Afghanistan Center at Kabul University (ACKU) is a renowned professional research organization with extensive experience in digitization and cataloguing archives, and is known to be the most efficient with this work in the region. The ACKU’s project with MEAP to digitize the Duprees’ photographic archive will be part of their larger digitization efforts implemented in their center.
Since 2007, the ACKU library has digitized collections in order to preserve materials and to provide access to content. The archive holds over 160,000 physical collections, including newspapers, books, images, and audio recordings-- the center had digitized nearly 50% of these materials by the start of this project.