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Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916
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Carleton E. Watkins photographs, 1861-1885

  • Org. Lot 93
  • Collection
  • 1861 - 1885

This collection contains stereographs, cartes de visite, cabinet and boudoir cards, photograph albums, mammoth plates, and other loose prints taken by landscape photographer Carleton E. Watkins, 1861-1885. Watkins photographs that were taken before he lost his Yosemite Art Gallery studio in 1876 to Isaiah W. Taber are known as his "Old Series." Watkins photographs taken after 1876 are referred to as his "New Series." The collection contains both Old Series and New Series images and includes some of Watkins' photographs printed under Taber's imprint..

The bulk of the stereographs and mammoth plate photographs in this collection were taken during Watkins' trips to Oregon to photograph Portland, the Willamette River, and the Columbia River in 1867 (Old Series), as well as in 1882, 1883, and the winter of 1884-1885 (New Series). There are also some stereographs that were taken by Watkins on his 1882 voyage to photograph Puget Sound in the Washington Territory and Victoria in British Columbia. Other mammoth plates, cartes de visite, and stereographs depict views of places in California, including Yosemite and Mariposa County, the Farallon Islands and other scenes of the California coast, San Francisco, Round Top, Mount Lola, and Mount Shasta, as well as views of Utah taken for the Union Pacific Railroad. There are also cabinet card portraits taken by Watkins of various people, including Oregon railroad financier Simeon Gannett Reed and members of the family of Cornelius C. Beekman (1828-1915), banker from Jacksonville, Or.

The collection also contains two photograph albums assembled by Watkins and originally owned by Charles H. Prescott (b. 1839), manager of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Co. from 1881-1887. One album, "Sun Sketches of Columbia River Scenery," contains images taken by Watkins during his trips to the Columbia River Gorge circa 1882-1883, and the second album, ""Great Storm of the Winter of 1884-5. Columbia River, Or.," contains images that he took during a winter blizzard in December and January of 1884-1885 that snowed in an Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. train on its tracks along the Columbia River. The collection also contains one group of stereographs entitled "Watkins' Pacific Railroad" that were originally taken by Alfred A. Hart, official photographer for the Central Pacific Railroad, between 1862-1869 and reprinted by Watkins under his own imprint after 1870.

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

Watkins' New Series stereographs

This subseries contains stereographs produced by Carleton Watkins that were taken after his bankruptcy in 1875 and are known as his "New Series." Some of these stereographs were taken before 1875 but published later in the New Series.

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

Watkins' Pacific Railroad stereographs

Photographs originally taken by Alfred A. Hart (1816-1908), official photographer for the Central Pacific Railroad, between 1862-1869 during the Central Pacific Railroad's race to complete the first transcontinental railroad with the Union Pacific Railroad. Watkins acquired Hart's negatives in 1869 and published them under the imprint, "Watkins' Pacific Railroad."

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

"Great Storm of the Winter of 1884-5. Columbia River, Or."

This album was originally owned in 1886 by Charles H. Prescott (b. 1839), manager of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Co. from 1881-1887, and is inscribed with his signature and the date. Five of the photographic plates have been removed from this album and matted; these loose plates are stored apart from the album in Box 7 (noted below).

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

Portland, Willamette River, and Columbia River

All but one of the mammoth plates in this subseries were taken by Carleton E. Watkins during his 1867 voyage to Portland, the Willamette River, and the Columbia River and are now known as his "Old Series." The last mammoth plate in this subseries was taken by Watkins on his 1883 trip tore-photograph the Columbia River. Many of the captions on these mammoth plates are hand-written. Most of the mammoth plates are stored loose in mats; other duplicate and unmatted mammoths are stored in oversize folders.

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

"Sun Sketches of Columbia River Scenery"

Arranged numerically by Watkins number. Note that some of the photos appear out of numerical sequence within the album.
This album was originally owned in 1884 by Charles H. Prescott (b. 1839), manager of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Co. from 1881-1887, and is inscribed with his signature and the date. It also bears an inscription from John Neilson Barry (b. 1870), an Episcopal clergyman and historian from Portland, Or., to Julius L. Meier (1874-1937), governor of Oregon from 1931-1935. The album contains photographs taken during Watkins' trips to Portland and the Columbia River in 1882-1883, as well as two cropped reprints (noted below) of mammoth plates that he took during his original 1867 trip to the area. The images in this album were published separately as "Watkins' New Series Columbia River Scenery." There are loose duplicate plates of twenty-nine of these images that are housed in Boxes 5 and 7 (folder numbers noted below).

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

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