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Photographs of the California Missions by William Henry Jackson: Finding Aid
photCL 444  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Photographs of the California Missions by William Henry Jackson
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1885-1890
    Collection Number: photCL 444
    Creator: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942
    Extent: 39 albumen photographs 17.8 x 23.5 cm. (7 x 9 ¼ in.), on mounts measuring 20 x 25.5 cm. (8 x 10 in.)
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: rarebooks@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: A collection of albumen photographs of 12 California Missions, taken by nineteenth-century photographer William Henry Jackson sometime between 1885 and 1890. One or more images of the following missions are included: San Antonio de Padua, San Carlos Borroméo de Carmel, San Diego de Alcalá, San Fernando Rey, San Francisco de Asís, San Gabriel Arcángel, San Juan Bautista, San Juan Capistrano, San Luis Rey, San Miguel Arcángel, Santa Barbara and Santa Ines. The photographs primarily show the missions’ front façades or courtyards, both in ruins and with slight repair work.
    Language: English.

    Access

    The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Photographs of the California Missions by William Henry Jackson. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Kenneth Hill in April 2001.

    Biographical Note

    William Henry Jackson was born April 4, 1843, in Keeseville, New York. While growing up, Jackson taught himself how to paint and draw; at the age of 15, he was first exposed to photography through a job he took at a local photographer's studio. After serving in the Civil War, he went to Omaha, Nebraska, to help run a photography studio with his brothers. In 1869, Jackson was approached by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, the head of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories, who asked Jackson to join his team. Jackson did so, and for the next seven years took photographs of hot springs, geysers, and mineral formations in the territory that is now Yellowstone National Park. After this project, Jackson began to take photographs of landmarks along the Union Pacific Railroad to sell to tourists. At some point between 1885 and 1890, Jackson traveled to California and took photographs of the California missions, which were then in ruins and being viewed in a romantic light as part of California's mythic past. To cater to tourists, Jackson photographed most, if not all, of the missions and sold them to the steady stream of sightseers. At the age of 81, Jackson swapped photography for painting, focusing on the development of the American West as his subjects. He died on June 30, 1942, in New York City at the age of 99.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    A collection of 39 albumen photographs of 12 California Missions, taken by nineteenth-century photographer William Henry Jackson sometime between 1885 and 1890. All of the photographs are titled and signed, "W.H.J. & Co." One or more images of the following missions are included: San Antonio de Padua, San Carlos Borroméo de Carmel, San Diego de Alcalá, San Fernando Rey, San Francisco de Asís, San Gabriel Arcángel, San Juan Bautista, San Juan Capistrano, San Luis Rey, San Miguel Arcángel, Santa Barbara and Santa Ines. The photographs primarily show the missions' front façades or courtyards, both in ruins and with slight repair work.
    The California Missions were a favored subject for photographers at the turn of the nineteenth century. Jackson, like many of his contemporaries, capitalized on the romantic interest in the ruins, and took photographs to sell to tourists. While the photographs are primarily artistic works of the architecture alone, a few photographs have people in them. Of note is (11), taken at San Juan Bautista, where a photographer can be seen on the left with his large-format camera, setting up his own shot.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  
    California missions -- Photographs.
    Mission San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mission San Gabriel Arcangel (San Gabriel, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Mission San Juan Capistrano -- Photographs.
    Mission San Miguel Arcangel (San Miguel, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Antonio de Pádua (Mission) -- Photographs.
    San Diego Mission -- Photographs.
    San Fernando, Rey de España (Mission : San Fernando, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Francisco de Asís Mission (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Juan Bautista (Mission : San Juan Bautista, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    San Luis Rey Mission (Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Santa Barbara Mission -- Photographs.
    Santa Inés Mission (Solvang, Calif.) -- Photographs.
    Albumen prints.
    Architectural photographs.
    Photographs.