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Guide to the Northwest Boundary Survey Photographs from the Papers of George Clinton Gardner, 1858-1862 (bulk 1860-1861)
BANC PIC 1963.040--AX  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Northwest Boundary Survey photographs from the papers of George Clinton Gardner
    Date (inclusive): 1858-1862
    Date (bulk): 1860-1861
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 1963.040--AX
    Creator: Great Britain. Army. Royal Engineers. Gardner, G. Clinton (George Clinton) Great Britain. North American Boundary Commission British North American Boundary Commission
    Extent: 45 photographs : albumen prints on mounts ; mounts 26 x 35 cm.
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in

    Information for Researchers

    Access Information

    RESTRICTED ORIGINALS. USE ONLINE DIGITAL IMAGES ONLY. Use of originals only by permission of the appropriate curator. Inquiries concerning these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Northwest Boundary Survey photographs from the papers of George Clinton Gardner, BANC PIC 1963.040--AX, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    Indians of North America -- Northwest, Pacific -- Photographs
    Canada -- Boundaries -- United States -- Surveys
    Canada, Western – Pictorial works
    Northwest boundary of the United States -- Surveys
    Northwest, Pacific – Pictorial works
    United States -- Boundaries -- Canada -- Surveys

    Administrative Information

    Received with the Robert B. Honeyman collection as part of the George Clinton Gardner papers (BANC MSS P-B 221).


    The Northwest Boundary Survey photographs have been arranged and numbered by Bancroft Library staff. No original order was discernable, and items were entirely unidentified. Identifications were made by comparison to online images from collections at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Yale's Beinecke Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Identifications from these collections were then compared to the tables of geographical coordinates in Marcus Baker's "Survey of the Northwestern Boundary of the United States, 1857-1861" (Bulletin of the USGS, no. 174, 1900.)
    The Bancroft Library items have now been arranged as views and landscapes, followed by portraits. Views and landscapes are arranged by approximate geographic area, starting in the west at Point Roberts, on the 49th Parallel (items 1-4), followed by views moving up the Columbia River (items 5-6) to the Fort Colville area (items 7-13). Following the Colville area views, landscapes are arranged progressing from west to east, roughly along the 49th Parallel from the Boundary Commission's depot at Sinyakwateen (item 14) eastward to the summit of the Rocky Mountains near the Akamina Ridge, in what is now Glacier National Park (items 27-30). Viewers should note that this approximate geographic progression is not chronological and does not provide a narrative of the survey's progress. The Commission's photographers are likely to have made photographs while progressing eastward to the Rockies and upon their return journey to the west. Furthermore, the Point Roberts views (items 1-4) are believed to have been taken in 1862, after the other views, when the obelisk was completed.
    Portraits (items 31-45) are grouped based on identification of the individuals depicted and their identified tribes or affiliations, or by similarity of background visible in the photographs. First is a group portrait of Vancouver Island Indians, followed by Kootenai (Kootenay) Indians, Spokane Indians, "Colville Indians", and family members of Angus MacDonald, all of whom were photographed in front of cabins that may be the British survey party's winter quarters near Fort Colville, or may be at the Hudson's Bay Company depot in the same region, or some at each location. Following these is one portrait of a Kalispel couple, whose territory was further to the east, and, finally, two portraits of British survey party members.

    Processing Information

    Arranged, numbered, and described in 2014.

    Biography/Organization History

    Between 1857 and 1862 a joint commission of the United States and Great Britain surveyed and marked the international boundary as established by the Oregon Treaty of 1846. The border ran along the 49th Parallel from Point Roberts, in the west, inland. The survey accomplished during this period extended eastward to the crest of the Rocky Mountains, in current Montana and Alberta, at a longitude of approximately 114 degrees 3' 28.4".
    The extant photographs produced during the survey were made by un-named photographers with the Corps of Royal Engineers of the army of Great Britain. The American team attempted to use photographic equipment, apparently without success.
    Since no official report was published immediately following the survey, the most readily available source of information on the survey and the locations of border monuments and survey camps is the report written by Marcus Baker and published in 1900. It is titled "Survey of the Northwestern Boundary of the United States, 1857-1861," in the Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey, no. 174 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900.) This report enumerates locations noted in survey documentation and gives latitude and longitude as recorded by both the British and American survey parties. This source is invaluable for interpreting manuscript captions found on copies of photographs, which vary from collection to collection and are often barely legible. It also facilitates reasonably accurate, if general, placement of the views.

    Scope and Content Note

    The collection consists of photographs taken chiefly in Washington Territory and along the 49th parallel by British photographers in the Corps of Royal Engineers, as part of the survey to identify and mark the international boundary between British Columbia and the United States. The images include landscapes, survey party members, camps, survey monuments and cairns, outposts (chiefly Fort Colvile [sic] and the British party's winter quarters in the Colville vicinity), and Indians of the Pacific Northwest.


    Forms part of the Robert B. Honeyman, Jr. collection of early Californian and Western American pictorial material.