A Roundup of Notable Acquisitions

A selection of notable acquisitions from 2015 (with a few holdouts from 2014).

Photo Albums, Portfolios, and Photographically Illustrated Books

Roundup-013F. Jay Haynes Yellowstone National Park and Columbia River Photograph Album, ca. 1880s. (C1485)

The album consists of forty-eight albumen prints primarily of various sites in Yellowstone National Park taken by F. Jay Haynes, the park’s first “official” photographer. Included in the album are some of the earliest winter photographs of Yellowstone, which Haynes took during a daring expedition in 1887. A few of the photographs include people, such as the one shown here, “Our Sketch Artist,” which depicts a heavily bundled Henry Bosse, a photographer and artist who accompanied Haynes on the expedition. The album also includes a series of photographic scenes along the Columbia River in Oregon. The last photograph in the album, presumably relating to Haynes’ position as Northern Pacific Railway’s official photographer, captures a train crossing the Bismarck Bridge over the Missouri River.

Roundup-022William Henry Jackson Photograph Album of Colorado and New Mexico, ca. 1880s. (C1488)

This photograph album includes 115 images, primarily of Colorado, though some images are from New Mexico. The photographs capture various frontier towns, railroads, and natural landscapes. Most, if not all, of the prints in the album include the label “W. H. Jackson Photo., Denver, Colo” and also display the titles and numbers from the negatives. The album’s spine reads “Souvenirs of Colorado.”

00000057Edgar Cherry & Co.,  Redwood and Lumbering in California Forests. San Francisco: Edgar Cherry & Co., 1884. (2015-0138Q, View Online)

As noted in the introduction, this illustrated essay on redwood lumbering provided “visitors” the ability “for imparting to others what methods are employed in the felling, logging, and transporting of these monster trees to sawmills, as well as the equally giant proportions of the machinery used in reducing them into building material.” The publication highlights the emerging use of photography in book illustration, and the introduction clearly notes the choice of medium: “The object desired to be attained in presenting views by the photographic process is, to set aside all doubt as to the enormous growth of the Redwood, the number of feet per acre, and the superior qualifications that recommend it to builders and others. Inasmuch as engravers are usually cut from sketches, drawn perhaps by enthused artists, perfect satisfaction is not given; but with photographic views, which cannot lie, argument as to truthfulness is unnecessary.”  No two copies of the publication were issued with identical sets of prints, which “were mounted separately upon heavy cardboard, and liable to be appropriated by ‘admiring friends.'”  The Princeton copy has twenty-four mounted albumen prints, as well as manuscript annotations and two loose notes identifying various people and places in the photographs.

Roundup-002D. C. Herrin “Columbia River Scenery” Photographs, ca. 1892-1897. (C1512)

This collection consists of thirteen albumen card photographs by Oregon photographer David C. Herrin (1863-1909?). The series of photo-graphs, titled “Columbia River Scenery,” were taken via The Dalles, Portland, & Astoria Navigation Company (DP&AN Co.) steamers and the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company (OR&N Co.) line. The photographs vividly document the opening of the Cascade Locks in 1896, as well as the general progress of commercial development along the Columbia River at the end of the nineteenth century.

Roundup-026Frederick Monsen Portfolio of Ethnographic Indian Photographs, ca. 1910. (C1539)

A portfolio of twenty-five sepia-toned silver prints by Norwegian-born photographer, essayist, and lecturer Frederick Monsen (1865-1929).   Prints are of various sizes (approximately 16″ x 20″), each signed by the photographer. Monsen, who immigrated with his parents to Utah Territory in 1868, worked throughout the Southwest, documenting the vanishing culture of the Indians.  He lectured widely on the subject and authored works such as “The Destruction of Our Indians: What Civilization is Doing to Extinguish an Ancient and Highly Intelligent Race by Taking Away its Arts, Industries, and Religion” (The Craftsman, Vol. XI, no. 6, 1907) and With a Kodak in the Land of the Navajo (Eastman Kodak Company, 1909).


Roundup-011Allen & Smith Company Account Book, 1860-1871. (Q-000021)

A 360-page ledger documenting the daily accounts of the mining and mercantile firm of Allen & Smith Co. in Nevada City, California, one of the original gold rush towns settled in 1849. The company started as mining firm in 1860, but, like several other successful ventures, the proprietors soon opened a general store after recognizing the profit to be made in selling goods and mining equipment to those seeking to make their fortune. Along with a detailed account of daily transactions (dates, prices, vendors, cash balance, etc.), the ledger also includes non-business related topics, such as various recipes and cures (“To Build a Shed,” “To Cure Warts on Cows”), as well as entries on the rights of women and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Roundup-010Diary of an Officer on John M. Macomb’s Expedition in Utah, 1859. (C0938 no. 679, View Online)

An unsigned manuscript diary attributed to Lieutenant Milton Cogswell (1825-1882), who led the military escort that accompanied John N. Macomb’s exploring expedition of 1859. As part of the government’s search for a military route into Utah (a consequence of the Utah War), the expedition followed sections of the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fé, New Mexico, into the canyons of southeastern Utah in search of the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Cogswell’s diary offers a fascinating first-hand account of the expedition’s encounters with Native Americans, voices concerns regarding the Mormons, and provides descriptions of landscape and canyons encountered throughout the journey.

Roundup-008New Mexico Civil War Journal, 1862. (C0938 no. 665, View Online)

A manuscript journal kept during the Civil War by “Simon,” a New York Times correspondent in New Mexico. The 124 page journal covers the period from September 25 to December 28, 1862, and records local military affairs, addresses issues regarding the trials of Confederate prisoners from Texas, and notes relations with hostile Apaches and other Indians.

Roundup-005Chester H. King Diaries, 1875-1883. (C1510, View Online)

This collection consists of three diaries, two of which chronicle Chester King’s overland journey to the southwestern frontier from Kansas along the Santa Fe Trail. They include observations about various towns and important landmarks, such as Starvation Rock and the Great Salt Lake, as well as commentary on various groups met along the way, including Native Americans, Scots-Irish immigrants, Mexicans, and Mormons, and the clashes between them. The diaries also include self-described “field notes,” sketches, and illustrations.

Books and Printed Works

Roundup-024Harlequin Cherokee, or, The Indian Chiefs in London. London: Publish’d as the Act directs … by Robt. Sayer, map & printseller, no. 53, in Fleet Street, 1772.  (N-001845)

Number twelve in a series of children’s harlequinades published by English bookseller and printer Robert Sayer, who devised the format in the mid-1760s. Harlequinades, or turn-up books, are arranged as series of four illustrated panels with movable flaps which, when “turned-up,” transform the scene and continue the narrative. The stories, inspired by pantomimes, make frequent use of Harlequin as the main character.  The Harlequin Cherokee, or Indian Chiefs in London, published in 1772, highlights the British public’s fascination with three Cherokee chiefs that arrived in London in 1762. Although the chiefs were not invited by the British government, they successfully gained an audience with King George III, and their visit enthralled Londoners. In 1762 the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane produced The Witches, or Harlequin Cherokee  (online playbill).

RebusJ. Goldsborough Bruff, Rebus Letter Depicting a Miner’s Life during the California Gold Rush.  Washington: August, 1856. (WA Broadside 3, View Online)

A rare and wonderfully bizarre lithographic rebus letter by J. Goldsborough Bruff (1804-1889), adventurer, topographer, architectural draftsman, and “49er” who led a party of sixty-six men in 1849 on an overland journey to California from Washington, D.C. Rebus letters present visual puns through the substitution of symbols or pictograms for conventionally spelled words, as seen in the opening address of this letter which uses an image of a deer and man for “My dear sir.” Kurutz, in his California Gold Rush (1997), describes Bruff’s journey to California “with the intention of writing an overland guidebook.” Bruff’s memoirs were never published during his lifetime, and the letter (Rebus symbols and all) provides some insight into the reasoning: “Manuscript and (papers) R in N. York; the publishers (will) (knot) publish it unless a (sale) is guaranT’d – So for the want of a few hundred names it has been kept (back).”

Life_Among_MinersLife Among the Miners, No. 2. San Francisco: Hutchings & Rosenfeld, [ca. 1858]. (WA Broadside 2, View Online)

A California pictorial letter sheet published by James Mason Hutchings, editor and publisher of Hutchings’ Illustrated California Magazine. The uncommon double-sheet format of this letter sheet allows for the inclusion of thirteen illustrations with accompanying verse describing a Gold Rush miner’s daily life. Like modern-day postcards, pictorial letter sheets provided visual stationary for correspondence with friends and family. On the verso of this sheet is a manuscript letter from E.L. Porter to “Commodore J.B. Porter, Esq.” written on September 3, 1859, from Devil’s Hill mining camp. Poter’s correspondence highlights the usefulness of pictorial stationary:

Last maile [sic] I sent to Major General Captain Esquire Franklin Porter and sent or wrote on a sheet that told all about the way the Californians mined out the Chunks. Now as you survy [sic] how that is done I send the discription [sic] of the gold mining opporations [sic] so you can have an idea of how we live and how we fare.

Oregon Atlas-2Edgar Williams & Co., Historical Atlas Map of Marion & Linn Counties Oregon. Compiled, Drawn, and Published from Personal Examinations and Actual Surveys.  San Francisco: Edgar Williams & Co., 1878. (2014-0018E)

The earliest published Oregon county atlas, Williams’ Historical Atlas Map of Marion & Linn Counties (1878) includes nineteen double-page maps (including a state-wide map of Oregon) and fifty-nine additional illustrations depicting town views, notable households, farms, and various industries, such as flour and saw mills, as well as the state capitol building in Salem. Along with the illustrations, the text provides a detailed history of Marion and Linn counties and biographical sketches of several of the counties’ leading citizens.

Roundup-017Gustaf Nordenskiöld, Ruiner af Klippboningar i Mesa Verde’s Canons [The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde]. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Soners Forlag, 1893. (2014-0242Q)

The Swedish edition of The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde by Gustaf Nordenskiöld (1868-1895). Published in 1893, the work represents the earliest scholarly monograph on Mesa Verde and documents the archaeological sites as well as the controversial excavations by Nordenskiöld that would eventually lead to the founding of Mesa Verde National Park in 1906. With its seventeen full-page plates (such as the double-page photogravure of “The Cliff Palaces” shown here), approximately 160 additional illustrations, and detailed textual account, Nordenskiöld’s publication brought international recognition to the ruins and represents an important historical record of late nineteenth-century archaeological practices.

Looking at the West: Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley!

Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley! : Now Exhibiting for a Short Time Only … this Gorgeous Panorama, with All the Aboriginal Monuments … Painted by the Eminent Artist I. J. Egan…. Newark, N.J.: Printed at the Mercury Office, ca. 1851. Western Americana Collection: (WA) E78.M75 M65e

In the history of the theater there are no productions so nearly incredible as the panoramas of the Mississippi. Five times within the 1840’s the Father of Waters sat—or kept rolling along—for his portrait. Five times artists made lengthy, laborious, and expensive trips sketching river scenery and then spent weeks and months transferring those sketches to canvas. (McDermott, 17)

Painted “panoramas in motion,” a popular touring entertainment in the 19th century, presented a perfect medium in which to capture the expanse of the Western landscape, and in 1846, John Banvard captured the imagination of Boston with an exhibition of his Panorama of the Mississippi River, self-proclaimed as “the largest picture ever executed by man” with its “painted three miles of canvas … exhibiting a view of country 1200 miles in length.” The success of Banvard’s exhibition, which left “the enterprising artist … reaping a golden harvest,” was soon followed by four competing panoramas of the Mississippi River by John Rowson Smith, Samuel B. Stockwell, Henry Lewis, and Leon D. Pomarède. Regretfully, none of these panoramas exist today.

The Western Americana collection holds a printed broadside announcing the exhibition of Professor M. W. Dickson’s and J. J. Egan’s Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley!, “a gorgeous panorama” that covers “over 15,000 feet of canvas.”  The broadside was printed in Newark, NJ, circa 1851.  Unlike the five earlier panoramas of the 1840s, however, John J. Egan’s original canvas panorama still survives.

In the summer of 2011, the Saint Louis Art Museum embarked “on an ambitious conservation project to save a historic treasure of local significance, the only surviving panorama of the Mississippi River.” A team of conservators restored the surviving 348-foot long painting in the museum’s main exhibition gallery, giving visitors an opportunity to view the painting and witness its restoration.  For an interview with Paul Haner, SLAM’s painting conservator, see “Navigating the West.” Images of the of the 25-scene panorama can also be viewed online in the Saint Louis Art Museum Collections, Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley.


Description of Banvard’s Panorama of the Mississippi River, Painted on Three Miles of Canvas: Exhibiting a View of Country 1200 Miles in Length, Extending from the Mouth of the Mississippi River to the City of New Orleans…. Boston: John Putnam, 1847. Internet Archive.

McDermott, John Francis. The Lost Panoramas of the Mississippi. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.

Sandweiss, Martha A. “Of Instruction for Their Faithfulness” in Print the Legend: Photography and the American West (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002), 47-86.

Saint Louis Art Museum. Restoring an American Treasure: The Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley.

Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory, ca. 1887

No. 230, Fort Stanton N.M. from the N.W.

No. 230, Fort Stanton N.M. from the N.W.

The Western Americana Collection recently acquired a set of four 5 x 7 albumen cabinet cards of Fort Stanton, New Mexico.  The photographs are undated and the photographer is unattributed. Three of the photographs, however, include print numbers and titles:

No. 230, Fort Stanton N.M. from the N.W.

No. 231, Fort Stanton N.M. from S.W.

No. 233, Fort Stanton from N.E.


No. 233, Fort Stanton from N.E.

An identical print of no. 233 housed in the University of South Carolina Bonneville Collection is annotated in a contemporary hand with the following inscription:

Photograph taken at Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory, March 1887.  1) launderers’ quarters, 2) garrison, 3) Fort Hospital, and on the north side of the Rio Bonita where tents can be seen, are situated the company gardens.


Grooming Horses at Fort Stanton

The fourth photograph in the collection lacks a print number but is titled “Grooming Horses at Fort Stanton,” and several of the soldiers appear to be African Americans.  Buffalo Soldiers, African American cavalry and infantry troops that served in the Civil War and were later sent to the Western frontier to fight in the Indian wars, began serving in the New Mexico Territory in mid-1860s.  The 9th Cavalry participated in the Colfax County War in 1876 and the Lincoln County War in 1878, where they were stationed at Fort Stanton.  While the 9th Cavalry left New Mexico in 1881, the 10th Cavalry returned to New Mexico in 1887, and one of the final duties of the Buffalo Soldiers stationed in New Mexico was the dismantling of Fort Stanton in 1896. For more about African American troops in New Mexico and additional works on the history of Buffalo Solders, see William H. Wroth’s “Buffalo Soldiers in New Mexico.”


Wroth, William H. “Buffalo Soldiers in New Mexico.” New Mexico Office of the State Historian. http://newmexicohistory.org/people/buffalo-soldiers-in-new-mexico.

Looking at the West: H. H. Bancroft & Co., Booksellers, San Francisco

Plan of the Arrangement of Stock of H.H. Bancroft  & Co, Booksellers, San Francisco.

Plan of the Arrangement of Stock of H.H. Bancroft & Co, Booksellers, San Francisco.

Advertisement leaves from C. Aubrey Angelo’s Idaho: Descriptive Tour and Review of Its Resources and Route (San Francisco: H. H. Bancroft & Company, 1865). Call Number: WA 2005-0245N.


Lost In Translation: Glass Plate Negatives by Charles F. Lummis

Lummis-3   Lummis-2

Photographs of the American West and its inhabitants are a particular strength of the Western Americana Collection, and nearly 7,000 images have been digitized for inclusion in the Princeton University Digital Library. Recently, a box containing twenty 8 x 10 and 5 x 8 glass plate negatives by Charles F. Lummis were digitized for preservation purposes. The library holds over 100 prints by Lummis (available here), and a few of the glass plate negatives are represented in the print collection. The level of detail revealed in the negatives versus the prints is striking. Above are two similar images from a sitting in 1896 (notice the basket in the lower left corner is from a slightly different perspective). In the albumen print, the magazine cover is illegible, while the glass plate negative clearly reveals the title and date: Land of Sunshine: A Southern California Magazine. November, 1895.


The Land of Sunshine: A Southern California Magazine. November, 1895.

The magazine choice was far from arbitrary: Lummis began serving as editor of Land of Sunshine in 1895 (a position he would hold until 1909). While the publication began in 1894 as a promotional magazine for southern California commerce, Lummis quickly expanded the scope to include ethnographic studies of Native Americans. Lummis also refashioned Land of Sunshine after eastern literary magazines, publishing works by Mary Hunter Austin, Robinson Jeffers, Jack London, and John Muir, and he expanded the geographic scope of the publication to include the entire West (the magazine was later titled Out West).

A profile view from the same photo session, titled “A Tigua Maiden,” provides an opportunity for a direct comparison between plate number 691 and a corresponding print.

Lummis-4  Lummis-1

A second direct comparison can be made from plate number 661, titled “Desiderio, The Tigua War-Captain,”  taken in 1895.

Lummis-15  Lummis-War

All of the recently scanned Lummis glass plate negatives are scheduled for inclusion in the digital library after the metadata is compiled. In the meantime, below is a set of select images.

Select Bibliography:

Gale, Robert L. “Lummis, Charles Fletcher.” American National Biography Online, 2000. http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-01033.html

Watts, Jennifer A. “Photography in the Land of Sunshine: Charles Fletcher Lummis and the Regional Ideal.” Southern California Quarterly, Vol. 87, No. 4 (Winter 2005-2006) , pp. 339-376.