The front cover of the March 1912 National Geographic containing the first mention of Angkor
Rummaging around in second-hand bookshops often produces the odd gem, and my own rummaging back in England a few years ago, came up trumps in the form of a couple of National Geographic Magazines with articles focusing on Cambodia. A search of the Nat Geo articles listings also highlighted three other editions worth searching for and with the help of e-Bay, I now have all 5 in my possession. The earliest is the March 1912 edition (Vol XXIII, No 3) with two-thirds of the edition devoted to a story by Jacob E Conner titled The Forgotten Ruins of Indo-China: The Most Profusely and Richly Carved Group of Buildings in the World. It tells of Conner's visit to an Angkor that was only navigable by boat for two months of the year from Saigon and explains in detail what he found, accompanied by 63 illustrations (pictures) and 2 maps. The majority of the photos were lifted from the photographic collections of Dieulefils and Fournereau, two adventurous gentlemen who documented Angkor around that time. This edition of National Geographic helped to being Angkor to the attention of the public at large, especially in America, where the magazine was produced.
Stairway leading to the central tower of Angkor Wat (Dieulefils)
The 4 other Nat Geo's which any self-respecting Cambodia lover should endeavour to obtain - I would say that because I have mine already - are the following:
September 1928: Vol LIV, No 3. Four Faces of Siva: The Mystery of Angkor by Robert J Casey (with 14 illustrations).
April 1960: Vol 117, No 4. Angkor, Jewel of the Jungle by W Robert Moore & paintings by Maurice Fievet.
May 1982: Vol 161, No 5. The Temples of Angkor by Peter T White & Wilbur E Garrett.
August 2000: The Temples of Angkor by Douglas Preston & photos by Steve McCurry.
One of the few pieces of the ornately carved wooden ceiling from a gallery at Angkor Wat (Fournereau)