Collection of Photographs by Carleton E. Watkins, ca. 1874-1890
Processed by Lori Reyes and Kathleen Butler.
Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-3712
Collection of Photographs by Carleton E. Watkins, ca. 1874-1890
Accession 578, Catalogue Numbers 13-1302--13-1307, 1318
Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology
University of California
Finding aid and digital representations of archival materials funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the
- Processed and encoded by:
- California Heritage Digital Image Access Project staff in the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, The Bancroft Library and
The Library's Electronic Text Unit
- Digital images processed by:
- The Library Photographic Service
- Finding aid completed:
- September 1996
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California
Collection Title: Collection of Photographs by Carleton E. Watkins
Collection Number: Accession 578, Catalogue Numbers 13-1302--13-1307, 1318
140 photographic prints : albumen ; on 22 x 28 inch mounts
140 digital objects
Carleton E. Watkins
Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California 94720-3712
Information for Researchers
Original prints are restricted and may not be viewed unless permission is granted by the museum's Director. Photographs should
be requested by their catalogue numbers.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. All requests for permission to publish photographs
must be submitted in writing to the museum's Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Phoebe Hearst
Museum of Anthropology 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.
[Identification of item],
Collection of Photographs by Carleton E. Watkins, Accession 578, Catalogue Numbers 13-1302--13-1307, 1318, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.
Digital Representations Available
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley has a large collection of work by Carleton E. Watkins including:
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1905.17175--PIC :
Title: Hearst Mining collection of views by C.E. Watkins.
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 19xx.197--PIC :
Title: Photographic views of the Golden Feather and Golden Gate Mining Claims by Carleton E. Watkins.
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1974.019--PIC :
Title: Photographic Views of El Verano and vicinity, Sonoma Vall ey, California. Photographed by Carleton E. Watkins.
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 19xx.198--PIC :
Title: California Scenes [1860's - 70's] by Carleton E. Watkins.
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 19xx.199--PIC :
Title: Photographs of Yosemite and Oregon by Carleton E. Watkins.
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 19xx.194--PIC :
Title: Photographs of the Mariposa Estate and Environs Taken by Carleton E. Watkins, 1860.
The Collection of Photographs by Carleton E. Watkins held by the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology was donated to the University
of California by Phoebe Apperson Hearst and accessioned by the museum in 1904.
Carleton E. Watkins was born in Oneonta, Oswego county, New York, on November 11, 1829. He was the youngest of five children
of a Scottish innkeeper. During his youth he became acquainted with Collis P. Huntington, who frequented his father's hotel.
Soon after the discovery of gold, both young men went to California, where Huntington later became one of the Big Four who
built the Central Pacific Railroad.
In 1854, while working as a clerk in a store on Montgomery Street, Watkins met R. H. Vance, the daguerreotyper who had studios
in San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento. The employee at Vance's San Jose studio had suddenly quit and Vance asked Watkins
if he would fill in until a permanent replacement could be found. Although he knew nothing of photographic processes, Watkins
agreed. For the first few days he was simply the care-taker of the studio, but when Vance could not find a new operator, he
instructed Watkins in coating the daguerreotype plates and making exposures. With only the briefest instructions, Watkins
was able to make portraits and completely operated the gallery for a short period. In 1857 or 1858 Watkins returned to San
Francisco where he established his own photographic studio for portraits and view photography. Watkins usually spent a large
portion of the summer traveling throughout California, leaving his gallery and studio in the hands of an assistant. In 1858
or 1859 he visited the Mariposa Grove and was the first person to photograph the "Grizzly Giant." In 1861, Watkins visited
the Yosemite Valley and made the first 18" x 22" landscape photographs in California (and possibly the world). He made many
more trips to Yosemite during the 1860's and 1870's.
In 1868 Watkins made his first trip to Oregon, where he made the first photographic reproductions of the Columbia River. Five
years later, Watkins went to Utah with his wagon, team and photographic equipment on railroad cars. Thanks to his friend Collis
P. Huntington, he traveled free. He was accompanied on this trip by close friend and artist William Keith, who made extensive
use of Watkins' photographs for many of his oil paintings.
During the winter of 1871-72, Watkins expanded his San Francisco gallery (the Yosemite Gallery), which put an extra strain
on his finances. When the Bank of California went under in 1874, Watkins lost his Yosemite Art Galley to competitors J.J.
Cook and I.W. Taber. Not only did his competitors take over his Gallery, they took all of his negatives as well. Watkins then
began the task of rebuilding his collection, which meant rephotographing many of the sites he had visited earlier in his career.
"Watkins' New Series" of views replaced those lost in the foreclosure. Watkins did become reassociated with the Yosemite Gallery,
first as a photographer, and later as manager, but never as the owner.
Watkins went to the Comstock Lode, near Virginia City, Nevada, in 1876. Here he made many of the photographs that comprise
The Bancroft Library's Hearst Collection. It was probably during this trip that he met Frances Sneed, who later managed his
Montgomery Street studio and became his wife on November 11, 1880 (Watkins' fiftieth birthday). They had two children : a
daughter, Julia and a son, Collis.
In 1880, Watkins went to Southern California for the first time and traveled along the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Later he went to the "End of the Track" and as far as Tombstone, Arizona. The photographs taken by Watkins on this trip represent
some of the earliest views of San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Pasadena, Los Angeles and San Diego. On the way back to San Francisco,
he followed the old overland stage road, traveling the greater part of the way in his wagon and photographing most of the
Franciscan missions. These pictures constitute the earliest photographic collection of California Missions.
On a second trip to the Northwest in 1890, Watkins made a series of stereoscopic views in Victoria, B. C. He extended this
trip into Montana where he made 18" x 22" views of the Anaconda copper mines and other properties. His last large commercial
job and long country trip was to photograph the development work of the Kern County Land Company near Bakersfield. He made
seven hundred views using 8" x 10" dry plate negatives. In the late 1890's, Watkins began to photograph the Hearst Hacienda
near Pleasanton for Phoebe Apperson Hearst, but ill health prevented him from completing the assignment.
Watkins was in the process of negotiating with Stanford University for the sale of his plates, photographs, etc. when the
1906 earthquake struck San Francisco. By this time, Watkins was partially blind, in poor health and experiencing financial
difficulties. He had been living with his family in his studio on the top floor of a building on the southeast corner of Ninth
and Market Streets. Immediately following the quake, Watkins' wife and daughter went to the refugee camp at the Presidio.
Watkins was led by his son to the home of his old friend, C. B. Turrill, who had assisted Watkins financially in the past.
Watkins' entire collection was destroyed in the fire which followed the quake. He was shocked by the loss of his life's work
and shortly thereafter retired to his small ranch near Capay in Yolo County. The ranch had been deeded to Watkins through
the offices of Collis P. Huntington of the Southern Pacific Railroad for his faithful, but unpaid, service to the railroad.
Watkins never recovered from the shock of losing his entire collection in the San Francisco fire. He managed to live at the
ranch with his family until it became necessary to have him committed to the Napa State Hospital at Imola, California in 1910.
He died on June 23, 1916 at the age of eighty-seven and was buried on the hospital grounds.
The Early Pacific Coast Photographs of Carleton E. Watkins, by J. W. Johnson, Professor of Hydraulic Engineering, University of California Berkeley, and "The Life and Photography of
Carleton E. Watkins," by Peter E. Palmquist.)
Scope and Content
The collection consists of 140 albumen prints on their original 22 x 28 inch mounts. The collection comprises views of the
western United States including Upper Geyser Basin National Park, a rare set of images of Mammoth Hot Springs National Park,
Casa Grande Pre-Historic Ruins in Arizona, scenes along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington including Cape Horn, views
from Mt. Lola and Round Top, Lake Tahoe, scenes along the route of the Central Pacific Railroad, views of San Francisco, and
uncommon images of Monterey county. These are primarily landscape views, but also include scenes of industrial and urban development.
The photographs are undated; however, many of the images are noted on their mounts as being from Watkins's "New Series." Photographs
in his "New Series" were made after 1874. Watkins was active between 1854 and the late 1890s.
"Old Faithful", Upper Geyser Basin, National Park.
:S. 114 (New Series)
Fire-Hole River and Castle Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, National Park.
:S. 113 (New Series)
White Pyramid Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, National Park.
:S. 112 (New Series)
Grotto Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, National Park.
:S. 110 (New Series)
Giant Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, National Park.
:S. 111 (New Series)
Cleopatra Terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs, National Park.
:S. 106 (New Series)
:S. 105 (New Series)
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, from the Minerva National Park.
:S. 104 (New Series)
Minerva Terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs, National Park.
:S. 103 (New Series)
:S. 102 (New Series)
:S. 101 (New Series)
Pulpit Terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs, National Park.
:S. 109 (New Series)
:S. 108 (New Series)
:S. 107 (New Series)
Thompson Falls, Thompson River, Montana Territory.
:S. 68 (New Series)
Spokan Falls, N.P.R.R., Washington Terraces.
:S. 65 (New Series)
Mt. Hood and the Dalles, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 40 (New Series)
The Head of the Dalles, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 47 (New Series)
Mt. Hood from the Dalles, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 45 (New Series)
Passage of the Dalles, Columbia River Scenery, Oregon.
:S. 43 (New Series)
Rock Bluffs, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 39 (New Series)
:S. 37 (New Series)
Mitchell's Point, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 30 (New Series)
Indian Summer on the Columbia, View from the Tunnel No. 3, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 36 (New Series)
Hood River and Mt. Hood, Columbia River Scenery, Oregon.
:S. 33 (New Series)
Upper Cascades and Gov. Locks, Columbia River, Washington Ter.
:S. 59 (New Series)
Indian Block House and Rapids, Washington Ter.
:S. 58 (New Series)
Tooth Bridge and Eagle Creek Crossing, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 17 (New Series)
Salmon Wheel, Cascades, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 12 (New Series)
Salmon Wheel Boat, Cascades, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 13 (New Series)
View of the Columbia, Castle Rock and Lower Landing.
:S. 55 (New Series)
Castle Rock, Columbia River, Washington Ter.
:S. 53 (New Series)
Winter on the Columbia, Relief Train Passing the Needles.
:S. 49 (New Series)
Cape Horn, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 28 (New Series)
:S. 27 (New Series)
Multnomah Falls, Cascades, Columbia River, Oregon.
:S. 26 (New Series)
From Mt. Lola, looking toward Round Top. On farthest ridge near center counting from the left, are Mt. Tallac, Round Top and
Pyramid; to right of center in middle ridge is Castle Mountain.
From Mt. Lola, looking toward Lake Tahoe, Truckee Valley on left. Round Top on distant ridge to right of center. Castle Mountain
on rear ridge.
Lake Edna, looking west from point 400 ft. below station. Lake Edna shows in center.
Mt. Lola, looking east from point 400 ft. below Azimuth. Camp on left; next is Lola, Azimuth, Sphinx Head, Lake Independence.
Mt. Lola, from Sphinx Head looking W.N.W.
Mt. Lola, from Lake Independence, Sphinx Head and North Head to left and right of center, respectively.
Mt. Lola, from Lake Independence, Sphinx Head to left of center, western extremity of the Lake in the foreground, North Head
on extreme left.
Lake Independence, foot of trail to Mt. Lola.
Round Top, 4 miles distant looking from W.S.W. over Lower Twin Lake. Blue Rock shows to left of Round Top in middle distance.
Round Top, 3.5 miles distant looking from W.N.W. over Upper Twin Lake (2800 ft).
Round Top, from Lake Winnemucca (1370 ft.) looking S.W.
Round Top, from Point on road near Carson Pass looking S. S. W. 3 miles.
From Mt. Lola, North Head on left, wide trail along snow. To right of same is Lake Independence. Sphinx Head in middle foreground.
South Head on the right.
Mt. Lola, looking N. E. from under North Head. Lake Independence in Center, Washoe Peak and Valley of Truckee to right of
center in distance. South Head on extreme right in foreground.
From Mt. Lola, looking to N. N. W. from station. Downieville, Buttes and Weber Mountain on extreme left.
From Mt. Lola, looking N. W. Downieville, Buttes and Weber Mountain to right of center in distance.
From Mt. Lola, looking toward Round Top (not visible), South Head on left foreground; Castle Peak to right of center in distance.
Summit of Mt. Lola, 9280 ft. high. Middle left is Heliotropers' Stone Hut; middle background is the North Summit. Picture
shows the effect of wind on the trees.
Round Top, from S.W. (instruments pointing upwards) Debris at angle of 45 degrees. Huts in chasm.
Conglomerate Formations. On road to Jackson's, below Twin Lakes.
Lake Independence. Looking eastward from under Sphinx Head and showing Lake Independence 2100 ft. high.
Conglomerate Formations. Below Twin Lakes. Road to Jackson's in the right foreground.
Conglomerate Formations. On road to Jackson's, below Twin Lakes.
Round Top. From western edge looking east. Trail (blasted out) on extreme left foreground. Station Observations etc. in same.
Summit City in middle of middle distance. To right of middle distance lie [sic] Blue Lake. Mokelumne Canon winding to foreground
View from Round Top. From a point S.S.W. of summit looking east. Summit City in middle of middle distance. Silver Mountain
back of Summit City. Blue Lake to the right of last. Mokelumne Canon in right foreground.
View from Round Top. Looking S.W. Mokelumne Canon winding from middle distance foreground.
View from Round Top. Looking N. W. Red Mountain in extreme middle left distance. Hope Valley, Job's Peak and Carson Pass in
middle distance on left. Lake Collonna in left middle distance. In foreground is Lake Winnemucca and back of it the hill called
the Elephant. Cory's Peak in right background.
View from Round Top. Looking westward. Pyramid, Round Top Proper, Azimuth Mark in left background. Mt. Tallac in middle background.
Woods Lake in foreground under it. Lake Tahoe to right of Mt. Tallac. Red Mountain and Carson Pass on extreme right.
View from Round Top. Looking along south side of ridge. Mokelumne River in left foreground. Trail on face of ridge.
View from Round Top. Looking east, left foreground, vertical walls just east of Azimuth. Cory's Peak left of center in background.
Summit City middle of middle distance. Silver Mountain in background to right of Silver City. Blue Lakes in middle distance
View from Round Top. From a point just below Azimuth. Stanislaus Mountain toward Mt. Dana in left background. Mokelumne Mountain
in distance over the cleft in the foreground. Three Brothers in the distance over the sharp, higher pinnacle to right cleft
in foreground. Mokelumne Canon (2800 ft. high) winding from middle distance to foreground.
View from Round Top. Cloud scene looking east from Azimuth. Vertical wall just west of Azimuth in foreground. Blue Lakes on
View from Round Top. From western ridge looking toward the N.W. The Saddle in left middle distance. Clear Lake in center,
immediately to left of which is the western extremity of Round Top. Twin Lakes in the middle ground.
Round Top. From western part of ridge: Cory's Peak on upper left; Summit City middle right; Lake Winnemucca on lower left;
Azimuth 10,645 ft. elevation.
Round Top. Look from E.N.E.
Round Top. Azimuth from west across chasm. Instruments from left as follows:-Man holding bitimeter rod; Solar Radiador; Plane
Table; Vertical Circle House; Prof. Davidson with large helitrope; Reconnoitering Telescope; The Odolete House, Azimuth; Refraction
station; Astronomical Observatory. In lower right corner are steps leading to bridge over chasm with life lines.
Round Top, 4 miles distant looking E.S.E. from lower end of Twin Lakes. The Elephant in left background, Blue Rock to left
of Round Top in middle distance.
Summit Station With West End of Tunnel. C.P.R.R.
:1120 (New Series)
Mary Hopkin's Cottage, Soda Springs.
Soda Springs, Near the Summit C.P.R.R.
:1104 (New Series)
Summit Valley, Castle Peak and Snow Sheds. C.P.R.R.
:1117 (New Series)
Summit Valley and Donner Peak, C.P.R.R.
:1118 (New Series)
Lake Mary-Summit, C.P.R.R.
Donner Lake. C.P.R.R.
:1122 (New Series)
Reno-View East, C.P.R.R.
Grand Central Hotel- Tahoe City, Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe from Tahoe City.
Cascades at Soda Springs.
Cascades, Emerald Bay. Lake Tahoe.
Emerald Bay from the Island, Lake Tahoe.
Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, view from the Cascade.
:1007 (New Series)
Lake Tahoe, view from Fallen Leaf Lake.
:1012 (New Series)
Fallen Leaf Lake, near Lake Tahoe.
:1014 (New Series)
:1013 (New Series)
Mt. Tallac, Lake Tahoe.
:1011 (New Series)
Larch Grove-Tallac House, Lake Tahoe.
Tallac House, Lake Tahoe.
Rounding Cape Horn. C.P.R.R.
:1112 (New Series)
The Canon of the American River, from Cape Horn, C.P.R.R.
:1114 (New Series)
Lake Tahoe, view from Tahoe City.
:1003 (New Series)
Lake Tahoe, view from Artists' Rocks.
:1004 (New Series)
Warm Springs, Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe, view from Warm Springs.
:1006 (New Series)
A Storm on Lake Tahoe.
:1016 (New Series)
Glenbrook, Lake Tahoe.
Glenbrook Bay, Lake Tahoe.
:1020 (New Series)
Shakespeare Rock-Glenbrook, Lake Tahoe.
Filling in Secret Town Trestle, C.P.R.R.
:1115 (New Series)
Calaveras Mammoth Trees. George Washington and Eagle's Wing.
:996 (New Series)
Calaveras Mammoth Trees. Mammoth Tree Grove Hotel.
:990 (New Series)
Calaveras Mammoth Trees. The Mother of the Forest.
:993 (New Series)
Calaveras Mammoth Trees. The Pavilion.
:991 (New Series)
Cliff House. San Francisco.
Golden Gate, from Telegraph Hill, S.F. [San Francisco]
Monterey, California. Ocean view of Point Lobos and Carmel Bay.
:45 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Whaler's Bay, Point Lobos.
:54 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Cypress, at Point Lobos.
:55 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Cypress Point, at Point Lobos.
:53 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Seal Rocks, at Point Lobos.
:57 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Secret Beach, Point Lobos.
:58 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Down the Coast, from Secret Beach, Point Lobos.
:59 (New Series)
Point Firmin Light-House. Wilmington Harbor.
Pacific Coast S.S. Landing, San Diego.
:1173 (New Series)
Seal Point, Farallone Islands, P. O.
:1378 (New Series)
Coast view, from the Cliff Drive-Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz and Bay, from up the San Lorenzo.
Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, Cal.
:119 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Monterey and Bay, from 18 mile drive.
:50 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Monterey Bay, from Sentinel Rock.
:10 (New Series)
Monterey, California. View North from Cypress Point.
:12 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Point Pedro Light House.
:11 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Cypress Point, Looking North from 18 Mile Drive.
:20 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Cypress Point, from the Hill, 18 Mile Drive.
:15 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Coast View, from 18 Mile Drive, Carmel Bay.
:26 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Pescadero, Chinese Fishing Village, 18 Mile Drive.
:36 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Glimpse from the 18 Mile Drive, Point Lobos in the Distance.
:37 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Coast View from 18 Mile Drive, Carmel Bay and Mountains.
:27 (New Series)
Monterey, California. Lone Cypress, Point Lobos in the Distance 18 Mile Drive.
:31 (New Series)
Old South Shaft Ore Quarry, Tough-nut Mine. Part of Town of Tombstone. Dragoon Mountains, with Cachise Stronghold in back-ground,
:1310 (New Series)
Casa Grande, Pre-Historic Ruins, Arizona
:1332 (New Series)
:1333 (New Series)
:1334 (New Series)
:1331 (New Series)