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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 Overview
 
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Description
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.
Background
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.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.
Extent
1 album (52 photographic prints); albumen ; 21 x 13 cm. 52 digital objects
Restrictions
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.
Availability
Collection is stored off-site. Advance notice required for use.