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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Marilyn Blaisdell Photograph Collection
    Dates: 1850-1980
    Collection Number: SFP 84
    Creator/Collector: Blaisdell, Marilyn Muybridge, Eadweard, 1830-1904 Watkins, Carleton E. Taber, I. W. (Isaiah West), 1830-1912
    Extent: 17,000 photographic prints and 8,000 negatives
    Online items available
    Repository: San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco History Center
    San Francisco, California 94102
    Abstract: 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.
    Language of Material: English

    Access

    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center’s Photo Desk hours.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    Marilyn Blaisdell Photograph Collection. San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco History Center

    Acquisition Information

    Gift from Marilyn Blaisdell, 2014.

    Biography/Administrative History

    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.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    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. The collection represents over forty years of collecting on the part of Ms. Blaisdell. The compilation is one of the greatest private collections of historical San Francisco photographs. There are many outstanding photographs in the collection, covering San Francisco locations from various eras. It is strongest in Ms. Blaisdell’s three main areas of interest: The Cliff House, Sutro Baths, and Playland at the Beach. Collection highlights include a comprehensive collection of photographs of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with photographs by the Cardinell-Vincent Company; Gabriel Moulin’s commissioned work for the Whitney Brothers to document Ocean Beach and the Cliff House; and Zan Stark’s real photo postcards of exceptional photography of San Francisco. Twenty percent of the print and negative portions of the collection is derived from the Wyland Stanley Collection which Blaisdell acquired in the 1970s-1980s. Stanley was a respected photographer, collector and dealer. His goal was to build a visual, historical record of the San Francisco as it had been. To this end he made copy negatives of as many photographs of the city as he could find during the 1940s to the 1960s. The originals were not photographs owned by him, but rather from various archives (libraries, historical societies, private collections, etc.). The collection includes images by most of the great San Francisco photographers of the 19th and 20th century (names such as Fardon, Watkins, Muybridge, Worden), as well as many images by unknown photographers.

    Indexing Terms

    Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    California Midwinter International Exposition (1894 : San Francisco, Calif.)
    Golden Gate International Exposition--(1939-1940 :--San Francisco, Calif.)
    San Francisco (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
    Cliff House (San Francisco, Calif.).
    Photographic prints
    Photographic prints -- 19th century
    Stereographs
    Cartes des visite
    Cabinet photographs

    Additional collection guides