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Views of Yosemite by George Fiske, ca. 1880-1890
BANC PIC 19xx.066--ALB  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Views of Yosemite album contains 68 photographic prints taken by George Fiske, likely in the 1880s. The photographs are mainly of Yosemite Valley in the winter. Views include Black Spring, domes from Columbia Rock, Inspiration Point, El Capitan Bridge, and Grizzly Peak. The album also includes a photograph of a burro-drawn sled bearing an advertisement for Fiske's landscape photography business. Many of the photographs in the album are uncaptioned.
Background
George Fiske was born October 22, 1835, in Amherst, New Hampshire, and raised on the family's farm. In 1858, at the age of 22, he moved west to Sacramento, California, where he worked as a banking clerk for his half-brother Thomas Fiske, of Thomas Fiske & Co. Located in the same building as the bank was the Vance & Weed Photographic Gallery, owned by Robert H. Vance and managed by Charles Leander Weed, the first photographer of Yosemite Valley. In the years following his move to California, it is likely that Fiske received a good amount of photographic training --though where and by whom is not certain --for in 1864 he surfaced as a freelance photographer in San Francisco. In 1868, after a brief hiatus from photography spent farming in the Santa Clara Valley, Fiske returned to San Francisco and became an assistant to Carleton E. Watkins. During the next few years he was employed as a photographer for Thomas Houseworth & Co., and worked with Eadweard Muybridge photographing the Yosemite Valley. In a one-year span between 1872 and 1873, Fiske lost his mother, father and half-brother James, and married his first wife, Elmira ("Myra") F. Morrill. In 1874 Fiske returned to work for Watkins. The following year Watkins went bankrupt, causing another hiatus in Fiske's career. In 1879, after resuming his photographic practice in San Francisco, Fiske moved to the Yosemite Valley, becoming its first year-round resident photographer. While at Yosemite, where he lived for nearly the remainder of his life, Fiske became the close friend of Galen Clark, established a long-running though modest photographic concession of landscape views and custom tourist portraits, and ceaselessly photographed the many features of the Valley and its environs.
Extent
1 album (68 photographic prints); 15 x 23 cm. 68 digital objects
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library 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 by the reader.
Availability
Collection stored off-site. Advance notice required for use.