Box with Relief Map of Jerusalem

This olive wood box with painted plaster relief map of Jerusalem inside was made for the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem

Fr. Vester & Co.

Marketing nationality is not a post-1948 trend, but in fact continues the historical legacies of travel and colonialism in the region. A telling example of the Christian Zionist tourist trade is the box with relief map of Jerusalem. The olive wood box contains a relief map of Jerusalem with numbered important locations. Pasted to the top of the lid is a printed key to the map. The box was manufactured by Fr. Vester & Co., which was later renamed the American Colony. This group, an independent, utopian, Christian sect, was formed by religious pilgrims who emigrated from Chicago and Sweden to Jerusalem in 1881. The Overcomers, as they called themselves, were followers of the charismatic Horatio Gates Spafford and his Norwegian-born, American-raised wife, Anna. These Christians shared a belief in the Second Coming of Christ at the Millennium. Hoping to ensure their redemption through charitable work, the roughly one hundred members of the Colony devoted themselves to the people of Jerusalem, regardless of religion or nationality. After the turn of the century, the Colonists became involved in tourism. They produced souvenirs and also opened a store and a hostel for travelers. It continues to operate today as the American Colony Hotel/Store.

Name: Box with Relief Map of Jerusalem
Artist: Fr. Vester & Co.
Origin: Jerusalem, Palestine, Early 20th Century
Medium: Paint, Wood
Dimensions: 7 1/4 x 6 3/4 x 2 1/4 in.
Credit: Gift of Georgette Grosz Spertus from the Maurice Spertus Collection
Catalog Number: 69.1.417