Thomas Family Photograph Album: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Brooke M. Black, September 11, 2012, and updated by Diann Benti in September 2017.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
© 2017
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Thomas Family Photograph Album
Dates (inclusive): 1892-1898
Collection Number: photCL 144
Extent: 104 photographs in 1 album : chiefly cyanotype prints ; images chiefly 12.5 x 16.5 cm, volume 21 x 17 cm
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: A personal photograph album chiefly depicting mining engineer Chester A. Thomas (1874-1920) and Thomas family members between 1892 and 1898 in mining camps in Virginia City and Sutro, Nevada; at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; visiting Harvard University and Cambridge, Massachusetts; and at Camp Merritt at the Presidio, San Francisco, in 1898.
Language: English.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Thomas Family Photograph Album, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alan M. Robertson, August 1964.

Cataloging Note

This collection was previously known as the "Nevada Mining Photograph Collection, 1892-1893."

Biographical Note

Mining engineer Chester Ashley Thomas (1874-1920), known as "Chet," was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1874. Thomas's father, Colonel Charles Cotesworth Thomas, was a mining engineer and became superintendent of the Sutro tunnel of the Comstock Lode, Nevada in 1871. Chester Thomas graduated from Stanford University in 1898 and became a member of the First California Volunteers at Manila, 1898-99, during the Spanish American War. Thomas became a mining engineer and later manager of American Smelters Securities Co. He died in 1920 while in Dawson, Alaska.

Scope and Content

A personal photograph album of 104 images with handwritten captions chiefly depicting Chester A. Thomas (1874-1920) and Thomas family members between 1892 and 1898 in mining camps in Nevada (pages 1-29); at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California (pages 30-33); visiting Harvard University and Cambridge, Massachusetts (pages 38-49); and at Camp Merritt at the Presidio, San Francisco, in 1898 (pages 33-37 and 50-65). The album includes 20 cyanotype photographs (12.5 x 16.5 cm) of the mining camps in Virginia City and Sutro, Nevada (where Thomas's father, Charles Thomas, was superintendent of the Sutro tunnel), including: mining equipment, miners, locomotive cars, interior views of the mine shaft, buildings and mules. Some of the images are of Camp Merritt, at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, where California volunteers assembled in May-June 1898 for transport to the Philippines during the Spanish American War. Thomas, a member of Company K of the United States Cavalry Volunteers, is depicted as well as other soldiers, including members of the 51st Iowa Volunteers.

Related Materials in the Huntington Library

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Thomas, Chester A., 1874-1920 -- Photographs.
Harvard University -- Photographs.
Stanford University -- Photographs.
Military camps -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs.
Mines and mineral resources -- Nevada -- Sutro -- Photographs.
Mines and mineral resources -- Nevada -- Virginia City -- Photographs.
Mining camps -- Photographs.
Mining engineers -- Photographs.
Soldiers -- Photographs.
Spanish-American War, 1898 -- Military personnel -- Photographs.
Cambridge (Mass.) -- Photographs.
Presidio of San Francisco (Calif.) -- Photographs.
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Photographs.
Sutro (Nev.) -- Photographs.
Virginia City (Nev.) -- Photographs.



Collection Contents



Page 1

Locomotive used in tunnel, Sutro, Nevada [locomotive reads "Comstock Tunnel Co., "Theodore"].

Page 2

The big cylinder at Union Mine, Virginia City.

Page 3

Gould and Curry mine building Virginia City, D. St.

Page 4

Hale and Norcross mine buildings Virginia City.

Page 5

Ophir mine buildings Virginia City.

Page 6

Inside cage and shaft.

Page 7

[Machine inside Union Mine].

Page 8

Big wheel at Union Mine.

Page 9

Cage ready to descend at C & C. Pres C. Fish, Supt Lyman and Foreman of C & C. Supt Thomas of Sutro Tunnel.

Page 10

C and C mining building Virginia City.

Page 11

Hully’s Mill. 6 Mile Cañon.

Page 12

Mining, one pan, 6 Mile Cañon. Water power.

Page 13

Shift car ready to start in tunnel.

Page 14

Car with shift just out.

Page 15

Pat with his mule, Sutro.

Page 16

Shift car with men just out, Sutro.

Page 17

End of Sutro dump.

Page 18

Dumping cars at Sutro.

Page 19

John Hancock switchman and his mule, Sutro.

Page 20

Indian camp. Indian woman, very old in center, Sutro. 1893

Page 21

Chester Lissa, Max Grill, Beauty [man on porch with three dogs].

Page 22

Roy Bancroft and Winnie Kain [two children], Sutro, Nevada.

Page 23

Carrie Hancock, Chester, Jennie Hancock.

Page 24

Mrs. T. and Henry.

Page 25

Henry has lost his head [partially blurry photograph obscuring head of subject].

Page 26

Mrs. T. and Chester.

Page 27

Flash light [portrait of men and women].

Page 28

Beauty on a post [portrait of dog].

Page 29

Charlie Sing, not an angel [portrait of Chinese man on porch].

Page 30

Belmont Boys, 1891. Charlie Bull. Now in June 1898, one of Roosevelts Rough Riders at Cuba, Harvard Student.

Page 31

[View of a pond and mill].

Page 32

Chet at Stanford 1897 ; Chet ; Quad ; Ned, Harry, and Little Dick ; Some of the gang ; Stanford ; Quad [7 photographs].

Page 33

Encina Hall from the West, Leland Stanford Jr. University, Palo Alto, Calif. ; Zeta Psi Lodge, Stanford [2 photographs].

Page 34

May 1898, San Francisco, Cal., Chester, Rob Campbell, Ben Whitlock ; [photograph of man in military uniform] [2 photographs].

Page 35

Sergt. Chester A. Thomas, Co. K., Reg. U.S. Cal. Vol. Manila, Philippine Islands. ; Presidio, S.F., May 98. [2 photographs].

Page 36

Andrew Wood ; Carrie Wood.

Page 37

[Photograph of three men and woman] ; [2 photographs at wheel of ship] [2 photographs],

Page 38

The Washington Elm of Cambridge, Mass. ; The Home of James Russell Lowell, Cambridge, Mass. [2 photographs].

Page 39

[Desk in corner of room] ; Cambridge Public Library [2 photographs].

Page 40

Cottage gate and Harvard Hall ; The oldest house in Cambridge, built in 1657 [2 photographs].

Page 41

Memorial Hall, Saunders Theater, Cambridge ; Christ Church over 120 years old [2 photographs].

Page 42

Part of Storey St. and Mt. Auburn St., Uncle Philip's garden. ; Commonwealth Ave, Boston [2 photographs].

Page 43

Corner of our house showing Club House at left ; [Man standing in street] [2 photographs].

Page 44

Longfellow's House. Cambridge, Mass.

Page 45

Lowell Willows, Cambridge, Mass.

Page 46

Wadsworth House, the first President's House.

Page 47

Harvard Library

Page 48

No. 6, Holyoke Place, Cousin Louise Home ; Her Son [2 photographs].

Page 49

[Cabinet of china] ; [Side of porch and yard] [2 photographs].

Page 50

Post box, Cal. 7th also Cavalry of Regulars [2 photographs].

Page 51

San Francisco, May 1898 ; July 98 In Camp of 51st Iowa [2 photographs].

Page 52

Mr. B Rees, His tent, 7th Cal. ; Band 7th Reg. Cal. V ; Mr. B. Rus, His Squad, 7th Regt Cal. [3 photographs].

Page 53

L. Col. Schriber 7th Cal. Regt. ; Squad of Co. C. 7 Regt U.S.C.V. [2 photographs].

Page 54

Capt. Keating 51st Iowa Vol. ; [Soldiers at attention] [2 photographs].

Page 55

[Woman pinning something on a man's lapel] ; [View of military camp] [2 photographs].

Page 56

[Woman pinning something on a man's lapel] ; Col. Jno. A. Loper, 51st Iowa [2 photographs].

Page 57

A group on board the City of Puebla (Freddie's Steamer) ; Waiting for Dress Parade [2 photographs].

Page 58

Company A Street, 51st Iowa ; [men amid military camp tents] [2 photographs].

Page 59

Ladies Catholic Truth Society's Tent, Camp Merritt, S.F., Cal. '98 ; [Men amid military camp tents] [2 photographs].

Page 60

[3 unidentified portraits] ; [View of unidentified houses] ; [Woman standing next to military camp tent] [5 photographs].

Page 61

Tug of war ; Idaho Inspection ; Packing up before breaking camp [3 photographs].

Page 62

Iowa band escorting one of the transports ; [women and soldier amid military camp tents] [2 photographs].

Page 63

L.M. Johnson 51st Iowa Inft. ; [Soldiers marching in camp] [2 photographs].

Page 64

[Woman on horse] ; [Dog] [2 photographs].

Page 65

[Soldiers in formation in military camp] ; [Soldiers in camp with rifles] [2 photographs].