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Isaiah West Taber Family Photographs, ca.1880-1895
BANC PIC 1992.001--PIC  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Isaiah West Taber Family Photographs
    Date: ca.1880-1895
    Collection Number: BANC PIC 1992.001--PIC
    Photographer: Isaiah West Taber
    Extent: 44 photographic prints, various sizes, most mounted; 1 platinum bas-relief print, framed, 22 x 22 cm.; 1 newsprint clipping, mounted, 26 x 21 cm; 3 porcelain dishes, 10 x 17 cm. or smaller. 46 digital objects
    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 English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is available 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], Isaiah West Taber Family Photographs, ca. 1880-1895, BANC PIC 1992.001--PIC, 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 Material

    The Bancroft Library has extensive holdings of Taber photographs. See the on-line catalog for other collections.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Taber Family Photographs were received as a gift from Ruth M. Cuneo, via Doris Maslach, in 1992.


    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.)

    Scope and Content

    The Taber Family Photographs collection contains 45 photographic prints taken mostly by Isaiah W. Taber circa 1880-1895. The bulk of the collection features individual and group portraits of Taber, his wife, and his two daughters, Daisy and Louise --including a "bas-relief" portrait of the photographer. Other photographs include views of Taber's Oakland residence, interior views of Taber's photographic parlors, a portrait of Sumner Bugbee and his wife posing before their Oakland residence, portraits of unidentified persons, and a Chinese vegetable peddler in San Francisco. Also included are photographic reproductions of C.A.M. Taber's 1848 sketches of Sacramento and San Francisco, and a photographic reproduction of a print of the Taber Family coat of arms. Non-photographic material includes a newsprint clipping advertising San Francisco's Taber Gallery, and three porcelain dishes illustrated with views derived from photographs of Yosemite Valley.
    The collection also includes two portraits of Taber by "Suski", and an unidentified group portrait by John Koch.