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Stereograph collection
PC 037  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Identifier/Call Number: PC 037
    Title: Stereograph collection
    Date (inclusive): 1846-1940
    Physical Description: 2 Linear Feet
    Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: California Historical Society
    Abstract: This is a collection documenting the history and production of stereographs by various publishers and photographers throughout the United States, but especially in California. The items in the collection date from approximately 1846-1940, when stereograph technology began to be replaced by moving images, and depict a variety of extremely wide-ranging subjects, from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to the building of the Panama Canal. The West, as a landscape and a subject of interest, is well documented here, as are views of California and Yosemite in particular. Reflected here, too, are innovations in stereograph production technology, from door-to-door salesmanship to the automated production techniques invented by H.C. White.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Collection is comprised of multiple donations from various donors. Please see collection files for more information.


    The collection is arranged alphabetically into series according to the name of the publisher or photographer. Individual biographies of each publisher or company appear at the series level, in addition to relevant subject headings. Some publishers, such as L.M. Barney and Andrew Price, do not have biographies, as there is little or no available information about them. Within each series, views are organized according to the original photographer's number, usually printed in the lower right corner on the front of each card. Any additional information printed on the front or back of card has been recorded, except in the case of very long subject descriptions. At the end of the alphabetical listing of publishers names are two miscellaneous categories – "Single stereographs by known publishers" and "Publisher unknown."

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item, date]; Stereograph collection, PC-37; [box number]; California Historical Society.

    Processing Information

    The collection was processed by Erin Hurley in 2019. The M.M. Hazeltine, John P. Soule, and J.J. Reilly stereograph collections were previously processed by Wendy Welker in 2009.

    Scope and Content

    This stereograph collection is comprised of 513 stereographs that date from approximately 1846-1940. There are stereoviews from 24 different publishers and photographers, made up of donations from a many different donors, many unknown. Additionally, there are 21 images with no identifying information at the end of the finding aid. Stereograph publishers often bought other photographers' negatives, and there was much sharing and republishing of the work of certain photographers, sometimes making it difficult to identify the original creator.
    The collection is comprised of smaller, Bay Area-based photographers like M.M. Hazeltine and O.V. Lange, as well as larger, more established East coast-based stereograph publishers like Keystone View Company and Underwood and Underwood. Thus, the views represented vary widely and include views as far ranging as Alaska, Panama, and Seoul, Korea. The predominance of Bay Area and West coast photographers in the collection means that the majority of images are of California and related subjects such as Yosemite and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and its aftermath. There are numerous views of San Francisco and its notable features, including the Cliff House, the Baldwin Hotel, Woodward's Gardens, and Golden Gate Park. There are also views of other California cities, such as Sonora, Eureka, and Mendocino, and views that document the growth of railroads and of industries such as mining and lumbering. There is a series of views by M. Rieder documenting Southern California locations such as Long Beach, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Catalina Island. Additionally, there are some whimsical, difficult-to-categorize stereographs of President and Mrs. McKinley, a "skeleton leaves" arrangement, and a playful series depicting a wedding.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Materials in this collection are in the public domain in the United States. Permission to publish or reproduce is not required.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Landscapes -- California -- Pictorial works