Marilyn Blaisdell Photograph Collection

Finding aid created by San Francisco History Center staff using RecordEXPRESS
San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco History Center
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 557-4567
sfhistory@sfpl.org
http://sfpl.org/sfhistory
2021


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

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