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Sutro Heights, San Francisco, California, photographed by I. W. Taber, 1886
BANC PIC 1983.117--ALB  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Biographies
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Sutro Heights, San Francisco, California, photographed by I. W. Taber,
    Date: 1886
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 1983.117--ALB
    Extent: 1 album (52 photographic prints); albumen ; 21 x 13 cm. 52 digital objects
    Photographer: Isaiah West Taber
    Repository: The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is stored off-site. Advance notice required for use.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
    Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item] Sutro Heights, San Francisco, California, photographed by I. W. Taber, 1886 , BANC PIC 1983.117--ALB, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Digital Representations Available

    Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

    Related Collections

    Sutro, Adolph.
    Title: Adolph Sutro Papers, 1853-1915.
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 465
    Sutro, Adolph.
    Title: Adolph Sutro Papers, 1874-1892 (bulk 1888-1892).
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 91/195 c


    Isaiah West Taber

    Isaiah West Taber was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts August 17, 1830. Taber went to sea at the age of fifteen and spent several years working on whaling ships in the North Pacific. He came to California in 1850, where he spent four years working first as a miner, then a farmer. Taber returned to New Bedford in 1854 where he studied dentistry and began a dental practice. An interest in amateur photography eventually became his life-work. He settled in Syracuse, New York, where he opened his first studio. In 1864 he returned to California at the inducement of the photographers Bradley and Rulofson, whom he worked for until 1871. Taber established the "Taber Gallery" at No. 12 Montgomery Street in 1871. His highly successful business was well-known for portraiture and a vast stock of California and Western views -many of which were the unacknowledged works of other photographers. Taber's success and stature in California and abroad are evident in his being awarded the photographic concession of the Midwinter Fair of 1893-94 in San Francisco, his being sent to London in 1897 to photograph the pageant of the Queen Victoria Jubilee, and his commission to photograph King Edward VII. Taber's career ended in 1906 when his entire collection of glass plates, view negatives and portraits on glass were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire. He died February 22, 1912.
    (Sources: Hart, James D. A Companion to California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, p.439; Murray, W. H. The Builders of a Great City: San Francisco's Representative Men. San Francisco: The Journal, 1891, p.329-330; and Burdette, Robert J. American Biography and Genealogy. California edition. (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., [191-]), p. 756-761.)

    Adolph Sutro

    Adolph Sutro was born in 1830 in Prussia. He moved to San Francisco from Baltimore in 1851 and ran a tobacco store before going to Nevada, attracted by mining prospects. After making some money in mining, he built a tunnel under the Comstock Lode to allow better access to the mines and improve ventilation and drainage. The tunnel made a fortune for Sutro, and after selling it in 1879 he moved to San Francisco once again to invest in real estate, eventually owning one-twelfth of the city's property. He acquired 1,000 acres of land, known as Sutro Heights, on a spot facing the ocean beyond the Golden Gate. The acres housed his own mansion, the Cliff House restaurant, and the Sutro Baths (salt water swimming pools). Sutro was a Populist mayor of San Francisco from 1894-1896. Upon his death in 1898 Sutro Heights was willed to the city of San Francisco.
    (Source: Hart, James D. A Companion to California. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, pp. 434-5.)

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of an album of 52 photographs of Sutro Heights, Adolph Sutro's estate above the Cliff House in San Francisco. The photographs were taken in 1886 by Isaiah West Taber. Included are images of the statuary and gardens at Sutro Heights, exterior and interior views of the Sutro residence, outdoor scenes, dwellings, rock walls, groves, vases, and one group portrait of employees seated on the lawn.
    The inside front cover of the album contains a portrait of Adolph Sutro. Next to the portrait is a note which reads, "Few copies made up for family and friends." The first three pages of the album contain a poem by Madge Morris entitled, "Sutro Heights: A Legend."
    Typewritten captions found on the bottom of the photographs are reprinted in the container listing. Each caption is followed by "Taber Photo., San Francisco," but this note is not reprinted in the container listing since it is found after each photograph.