Photographs of the California Missions by William Henry Jackson: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Michelle Sanchez.
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
© 2013
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


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.


Collection Contents

Box 1

Photographs

Images from this collection are digitized in the Huntington Digital Library.

 

San Antonio de Padua

Box 1, Item 1

Mission of San Antonio, Cal. [View of church and olive tree]

Box 1, Item 2

Mission of San Antonio, Cal. [View of workshop corridor]

Box 1, Item 3

The Mission of San Antonio, Cal. [View of workshop corridor and church]

Box 1, Item 4

The Garden at San Antonio

 

San Carlos Borroméo de Carmel

Box 1, Item 5

Mission San Carlos, Cal.

 

San Diego de Alcalá

Box 1, Item 6

Mission of San Diego, Cal.

 

San Fernando Rey

Box 1, Item 7

The Mission of San Fernando, Cal. [End of corridor with pigs]

Box 1, Item 8

Mission of San Fernando [View of buggy in corridor]

 

San Francisco de Asís

Box 1, Item 9

Mission Dolores. San Francisco

 

San Gabriel Arcángel

Box 1, Item 10

Mission of San Gabriel. Cal.

 

San Juan Bautista

Box 1, Item 11

The Mission of San Juan [Photographer and his equipment visible on left side of photograph]

Box 1, Item 12

The Corridors at San Juan

Box 1, Item 13

The Corridors at San Juan [Two men standing in corridor]

 

San Juan Capistrano

Box 1, Item 14

Mission of San Juan Capistrano. Cal. [View of courtyard from corridors]

Box 1, Item 15

Mission of San Juan Capistrano, Cal. [View from corridor]

Box 1, Item 16

Mission of San Juan Capistrano. Cal. [Ruins of church]

Box 1, Item 17

Mission of San Juan Capistrano. Cal. [Ruins of church]

Box 1, Item 18

The Bells -- Mission of San Juan Capistrano

 

San Luis Rey

Box 1, Item 19

Mission of San Luis Rey, Cal. [View of church]

Box 1, Item 20

Mission of San Luis Rey, Cal. [View of church]

Box 1, Item 21

Mission of San Luis Rey, Cal. [View of church]

Box 1, Item 22

Mission of San Luis Rey, Cal. [View of church from across courtyard]

Box 1, Item 23

The Cloisters -- San Luis Rey

Box 1, Item 24

Mission of San Luis Rey, Cal. [View of church from across courtyard]

Box 1, Item 25

Mission of San Luis Rey [View of church from across courtyard]

Box 1, Item 26

The Graveyard -- San Luis Rey

 

San Miguel Arcángel

Box 1, Item 27

Mission of San Miguel, Cal. [View of convento]

Box 1, Item 28

Mission of San Miguel, Cal. [View of church and bell]

 

Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 29

Mission of Santa Barbara, Ca. [View from hill]

Box 1, Item 30

Mission of Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 31

North from the Mission Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 32

South from the Mission -- Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 33

East from the Mission -- Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 34

West from the Mission. Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 35

Mission of Santa Barbara [View facing the 1808 fountain]

Box 1, Item 36

Santa Barbara South from Corridor

Box 1, Item 37

The Garden. Mission of Santa Barbara

Box 1, Item 38

Interior. Mission of Santa Barbara

 

Santa Inés

Box 1, Item 39

Mission of Santa Ynez, Cal.