Guide to the Amy White Photograph Album of the American West MSS.PHOTO.0405

Franz Kunst
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Amy White photograph album of the American West
source: Martin, Varick D., Jr.
source: Martin, John L.
creator: Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916
creator: Lawrence & Houseworth
creator: Hart, Alfred A., 1816-1908
creator: Muybridge, Eadweard next hit , 1830-1904
creator: Savage, C. R. (Charles Roscoe), 1832-1909
creator: Russell, Andrew J.
creator: O'Sullivan, Timothy H., 1840-1882
creator: E. & H.T. Anthony (Firm)
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.PHOTO.0405
Physical Description: 1 volume(s) 1 album
Date (inclusive): 1871
Abstract: Photo album from the early 1870s commemorating a trip to California with prints by Carleton Watkins, Alfred Hart, previous hit Eadweard Muybridge next hit , and others.

Conditions Governing Use

These materials are believed to be in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use of public domain materials.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Amy White photograph album of the American West (MSS PHOTO 0405). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This album was given by John L. & Varick D. Martin, Jr. to Stanford University's Hopkins Transportation Library, probably in the late 1930s while the brothers were attending Stanford. After the dissolution of the Hopkins Library, the album was tranferred to Special Collections.

Related Materials

Stanford holds another example of a custom San Francisco photo album made by Martin Behrman: San Francisco early days photograph album, 1849-1908 (MSS PHOTO 0476)

Scope and Contents

While there is little known documentation extant about its creation or provenance beyond the inscription "Amy White, from her brother Howard. Christmas 1871," evidence suggests this scrapbook was compiled to commemorate a trip (probably by Amy and possibly with her brother) through the western United States on the Central Pacific Railroad, traveling through Utah, Nevada, the Sierras and Yosemite, San Francisco and the peninsula, Napa, Mendocino, and southern Oregon. The bulk of the photos are from California.
The album (which has been unbound) consists of 257 albumen photographs glued to 72 leaves, with captions written in ink. A few pages have other items, including a music program and advertisement, yellow lichen from Yosemite, and a program for a ship launch. Although uncredited, all photos appear to be from Western photographers whose work was commercially available in the form of stereoviews, cabinet cards, and as prints such as the ones here. Various firms, including Lawrence & Houseworth, offered catalogs of images that customers could select from in order to create a custom scrapbook, to which the personal mementos were added. Also, it is possible that Howard made the album himself. The trip's itinerary as noted in the captions is dated from April to July, 1871, but other captions imply 1872, after the date in the inscription. However, the photos themselves were taken from approximately 1864 to 1870.
The photographer most represented in the album is Carleton Watkins, but there are also many photos by Alfred Hart, as well several also published by Lawrence & Houseworth (who never credited original photographers, whether they worked for them or not). Others have been determined to be by previous hit Eadweard Muybridge next hit , Charles Savage, Andrew J. Russell, and Timothy O'Sullivan. A few of the images were not identified, and could be rejected or unpublished work by the above. Cropping and developing vary from published versions as well.
The majority of views highlight the West's natural wonders and the railroad; there are also depictions of ships, docks, waterways, mining, San Francisco banks, churches, and hotels, and the Barron, Ralston and Atherton estates on the peninsula. Of the few human figures in the photographs, there are two portraits of Yosemite naturalist Galen Clark, and a possibly unique print by Watkins capturing Clarence King, Frederick Clark and Gilbert Munger at Mt. Shasta Camp in 1870.
Digitized images and more information about the album (including a list matching the prints to published works) is forthcoming. An unpublished spreadsheet is available from the department.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Hopkins Transportation Library.
California -- History -- Photographs
Railroads -- History -- Photographs
Yosemite National Park (Calif.) -- Photographs.
San Francisco (Calif.) -- History -- Photographs
Utah -- History -- Photographs
Nevada -- History -- Photographs
Oregon -- History -- Photographs
West (U.S.) -- Photographs
White, Amy
Martin, Varick D., Jr.
Martin, John L.
Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916
Lawrence & Houseworth
Hart, Alfred A., 1816-1908
previous hit Muybridge, Eadweard , 1830-1904
Savage, C. R. (Charles Roscoe), 1832-1909
Russell, Andrew J.
O'Sullivan, Timothy H., 1840-1882
E. & H.T. Anthony (Firm)
Clark, Galen, 1814-1910
Central Pacific Railroad Company

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Pages 1-21. Union Pacific and Central Pacific railway lines, 1871. Railway construction sites, camps, towns, bridges, tunnels, heavy snow and snowsheds, scenery. Primarily the Sierra Nevada, some from the desert and Salt Lake City, as well as Sacramento and Oakland

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Pages 22-46. San Francisco, 1871-1872. Business and residential areas, major buildings, large homes, churches, etc. Panorama of city and bay from Telegraph and Russian Hills, wharves, sail and steam boats, San Francisco coastlines

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Pages 47-60. Yosemite, 1871. Scenic views of the valley and its major rock formations and waterfalls, hotels, views from Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, Galen Clark (p.48)

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Page 61. Ferry on Tuolumne River

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Pages 62-66. San Jose area and peninsula, 1871-1872

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Page 67. White Sulphur Spring, 1871

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Pages 68-69. Mt. Shasta

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Pages 71-72. Columbia River

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Page 72. Mendocino Coast