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Collection Overview
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The Marilyn Blaisdell Photograph Collection includes over 17,000 prints and over 8,000 negatives (both glass and film) dating from the early 1850s to the 1980s. The collection contains a variety of visual formats including vintage photographs, stereographs, real photo postcards, cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite and glass plate negatives. Over 700 photographers and studios are represented in this collection – including, and to name only a few – J.R. & W.C. Billington, Thomas Houseworth, A.J. McDonald, Edweard Muybridge, Isaiah West Taber, Carleton Watkins and Willard Worden.
Beginning in 1972 to 1984, Ms. Blaisdell operated San Francisciana – a gift shop at the Cliff House – selling San Francisco memorabilia and photographs. Additionally, Ms. Blaisdell published six books which a range of these rare historical photographs.
17,000 photographic prints and 8,000 negatives
All requests for permission to publish from photographs must be submitted in writing to the Photo Curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.
The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center’s Photo Desk hours.