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Canon James (John) Edward Hanauer, 1850-1938

J.E. Hanauer, from 'Jewish Missionary Intelligence' 1935-37.J.E. Hanauer was born in Jaffa, and raised and educated in Jerusalem. His first link with the PEF was in 1867 when, as a seventeen year old, he participated in Charles Warren’s excavations in Jerusalem in a temporary position in charge of the stores of the expedition. Later, Warren, who referred to him in his publications as “Edward Hanour”, took him along on a trip to central Transjordan during July-August 1867, as interpreter and also as assistant-photographer to Sergeant Henry Phillips (see below). Hanauer is clearly visible in a number of Phillip’s photographs taken at the Hellenistic site of Araq al-Amir. Later, Hanauer recalled his work with Phillips, in a letter from December 1929 to William Watkins, the biographer of Charles Warren: “In those days there were neither dry-plates nor films available, but only ‘wet-plate’ photography, which was connected with a great deal of trouble, loss of time and uncertainty. Not only had the dark tent to be pitched, taken down, and repitched in different places, but the blank glass plates had to be prepared before exposure, and then developed and dried on the spot, before being moved on.” (Watkins 1941: 51-52).

Above: Image of J.E. Hanauer late in his life, courtesy of the Church's Ministry among the Jewish people (CMJ). Reproduced from Christian Missionary Intelligence (1935-1937).

The knowledge acquired by Hanauer from Phillips later served him very well and he became an avid photographer in his own right, taking numerous photographs, especially of Jerusalem and its antiquities. In 1902 the PEF acquired a camera for Hanauer (n.1). Macalister wrote that until then Hanauer had taken pictures with “a small boy’s camera, belonging to one of his children, and it is impossible to get good scientific results with it. A more expensive camera is beyond his means, he says, but he feels it necessary for any work that he might want to do for the Society”(n.2). Prints of many of his photographs were sent to the Fund with his letters and reports, among them photographs of antiquities uncovered in the area of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Muristan, of sections of the ancient aqueduct which brought water to Jerusalem, and of a series of ‘racial type’ portraits showing the local inhabitants of the city, Jews, Moslems, Christians, Bedouin and Gypsies.  

Hanauer wrote to the PEF: “you will see from all this that I have been using the camera diligently – I am not satisfied with the portraits I send, but hope in time, and with practice, to be more successful”(n.3). Many of his photographs were used to illustrate his book Walks about Jerusalem, which was published in 1910 and went into a number of editions. Hanauer’s brother also took photographs in 1891 (n.4), as well as his eldest son in 1902 (n.5). A very large archive of Hanauer’s letters, reports, sketches, transcriptions of inscriptions, dating from the years 1889 to 1911, exist in the PEF (n.6). His letters are particularly interesting as they are an extremely informative record of daily events in Jerusalem.

Hanauer who was born of mixed Swiss and Jewish parentage, entered the church early on in his life and later became Canon of St. George’s Cathedral at Jerusalem. Well-known in European circles in Jerusalem, Hanauer began contributing articles on a regular basis to the Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement from as early as 1881, dealing particularly with explorations in the vicinity of Jerusalem and with matters of local folklore (see also Hanauer 1907), The PEF also published Hanauer’s booklet Table of the Christian and Mohammedan Eras (1904). Hanauer’s contributions were substantially reduced in number with the outbreak of the First World War.  Hanauer died at the age of eighty-eight at his home in Jerusalem on 15th June 1938. His memoirs entitled Rambles in My Fatherland 1867-1874 remain unpublished and are kept in the archives of the Church's Ministry among the Jewish people (CMJ) (on the discovery of this memoir, see Megron 1996). 


Hanauer, J.E. 1904.  Table of the Christian and Mohammedan Eras.  London: Palestine Exploration Fund.

 ---------1907. Folk-lore of the Holy Land: Moslem, Christian and Jewish.  London: Duckworth & Co.

----------1910. Walks about Jerusalem.  London: London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.

Megron, Y. 1996 ‘Youthful memoirs from Jaffa and Jerusalem: Chapters from the diary of Rev. James Edward Hanauer, 1850–1938)’, Ariel 112–113, 89–119 (Hebrew).

Watkins, W.W. 1941. The life of General Sir Charles Warren: G.C.M.G., K.C.B., F.R.S., colonel commandant, Royal Engineers. Oxford: Blackwell.

Notes: PEF archival references

1. PEF/DA/Hanauer/2/5; 2/7; 2/31
2. PEF/DA/Macalister/56PEF/DA/Macalister/56
3. PEF/DA/Hanauer/2/55
4. PEF/DA/Schick/28
5. PEF/DA/Jer/Wil/28
6. PEF/DA/Hanauer



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