The great majority of photographs in this book have been taken from the archives of the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF), an important research center which set out to record the minutest details of the city and the surrounding area. The PEF was not a political, religious or missionary organization but was instead motivated by the desire to record everything, from archaeological digs to the ordinary people of the city going about their daily business.
Because of its unique position, the PEF was also able to acquire collections from many different sources. As a consequence, this book has a wide variety of material, with photographs taken by local photographers and missionaries, as well as professional photographers for the tourist trade. The Fund's archive is a remarkable compilation of photos of Jerusalem in the 19th and early 20th centuries and reveals the true face of the city and its people.