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Thomas Houseworth and Co. stereograph collection
PC RM Houseworth  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Thomas Houseworth and Co. is the company continued by Thomas Houseworth after his partner George Lawrence retired in 1869. Houseworth was an optometrist and stereograph merchant located in San Francisco, Calif. The images in this collection contain reprints of Lawrence and Houseworth images, as well as newly created images. Houseworth was a major player in the stereograph market until the early 1870s, and he took numerous measures to make sure his work remained viable, including introducing new formats and competing with rival stereograph publishers.
Background
Lawrence retired from Lawrence and Houseworth between 1867 and 1868, and Houseworth took over the business, renaming it Thomas Houseworth and Co., while still also offering optometry services. He introduced many new categories of views at this time, and was still offering views once sold by Lawrence and Houseworth. New images were also produced, likely between 1868 and 1869, and Houseworth hired a number of new employees. The stereoscopic market was lucrative and quite competitive, and Houseworth wanted to maintain his dominance of the market. He even moved his business to a more tourist-friendly location, at No. 9 Montgomery Street, underneath the Lick House (a lavish hotel). However, business began to decline after losing a bid to competitor Bradley and Rulofson to publish Eadweard Muybridge's new series of views. The stereoscopic market in general was also on the decline. In 1874, he moved his business again – opening a "photographic parlor" across the street from his old location. He offered a new series of nearly 3,000 cabinet cards, which he called "Houseworth's Celebrities" and which depicted famous theater actors and actresses, as well as athletes and politicians, and which were quite popular. Houseworth continued working at this location until 1886, and retired from photography in 1894.
Extent
.5 box 1 photo box, half of which is Houseworth and Co., and half of which is Lawrence and Houseworth.
Restrictions
Materials in this collection are in the public domain in the United States. Permission to publish or reproduce is not required.
Availability
Collection is open for research.