Stereo Views of the West by Carleton E. Watkins, ca. 1865-ca. 1880

Processed by James Ryan.
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
1997

Stereo Views of the West by Carleton E. Watkins, ca. 1865-ca. 1880

BANC PIC 19xx.106--STER

The Bancroft Library



University of California

Berkeley, California 1997
Finding aid and digital representations of archival materials funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    Processed and encoded by:
    California Heritage Digital Image Access Project staff in The Bancroft Library and The Library's Electronic Text Unit
    Digital images processed by:
    The Library Photographic Service
    Finding aid completed:
    February 1997
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Stereo Views of the West by Carleton E. Watkins,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1865-ca. 1880
Collection Number: BANC PIC 19xx.106--STER
Extent: 75 stereographs; 9 x 18 cm. 76 digital objects
Photographer: Carleton E. Watkins
Repository: The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers

Access

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], Stereo Views of the West by Carleton E. Watkins, ca. 1865-ca. 1880 , BANC PIC 19xx.106--STER, 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.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Stereo Views of the West photographs are of unknown provenance.

Biography

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 daguerreotypist 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 1860s and 1870s.
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 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.
(From : 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 Stereo Views of the West photograph collection consists of 75 stereographs taken by Carleton E. Watkins from circa 1865 to circa 1880. The photographs are arranged by and numbered with Watkins' series number. The collection includes views from the following series: "Watkins' New Series," "Watkins' Pacific Coast" views and "Watkins Central Pacific Railroad" views. Miscellaneous scenes of California and the West include views of San Francisco, Yosemite, San Mateo, Santa Monica, Mount Shasta and the Farallone Islands.
Printed captions are reprinted in the container listing. Captions in parentheses appear in manuscript on the stereographs. Captions in brackets have been supplied.

Container Listing

 

:6 [Yo-Semite Falls, 2630 ft] ["North Bloomfield" on verso]

Photographer's number: 6

Photographer's series: [Watkins Yo-Semite]

 

:42 Long Ravine Bridge from below, 120 feet high.

Photographer's number: 42

Photographer's series: Watkins New Series, Central and Union Pacific R.R.'s.

 

:67 The foot of the Vernal Fall.

Photographer's number: 67

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:68 The Lake

Photographer's number: 68

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:75 River View below the Vernal Fall.

Photographer's number: 75

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:113 Castle Peak from Grant's Butte, Western Summit.

Photographer's number: 113

Photographer's series: Central Pacific Railroad

 

:127 At the Hacienda, New Almaden.

Photographer's number: 127

Photographer's series: C. E. Watkins, Pacific Coast.

 

:180 Meadow Lake, 6,800 elevation. Knickerbocker Hill and Old Man Mountain.

Photographer's number: 180

Photographer's series: Central Pacific Railroad

 

:187 Summits of Sierras, 8,000 to 10,000 feet altitude

Photographer's number: 187

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Railroad

 

:218 Tunnel No. 3, above Cisco.

Photographer's number: 218

Photographer's series: Central Pacific Railroad

 

:282 Piute Squaws and Children, at Reno.

Photographer's number: 282

Photographer's series: Central Pacific Railroad

 

:319 Winnemucca Depot, 334 miles from Sacramento.

Photographer's number: 319

Photographer's series: Central Pacific Railroad

 

:322 Advance of Civilization, Scene on the Humboldt Desert.

Photographer's number: 322

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Railroad

 

:342 Shoshone Indians, Ten Mile Canyon

Photographer's number: 342

Photographer's series: Central Pacific Railroad

 

:512 At Mr. Hartshorn's, San Francisco.

Photographer's number: 512

Photographer's series: C. E. Watkins, Pacific Coast.

 

:521 [City from Rincon Hill]

Photographer's number: 521

Photographer's series: [Watkins San Francisco]

 

:946 Fort Point, from Black Point, San Francisco.

Photographer's number: 946

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:1016 Mirror View, Three Brothers, Yosemite Vallley, Mariposa County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1016

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1083 Cascade between the Vernal and Nevada Falls, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1083

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast.

 

:1091 Tutocanula Pass, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1091

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1116 Mount Starr King, Yosemite Valey, Mariposa County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1116

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1168 Galen's Hospice, Mariposa Grove, Mariposa County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1168

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast.

 

:1536 Pullman's Palace Comissary Car

Photographer's number: 1536

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Railroad

 

:1539 Mt. Shasta, view from the North-East, Siskiyou Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1539

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:1543 Mt. Shasta, view from the North. Siskiyou Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1543

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1546 Shasta Peak from near the Summit, Siskiyou Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1546

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1546 Shasta Peak from near the Summit. Siskiyou County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1546

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1549 Shasta Peak from near the Summit, Siskiyou Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1549

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1550 Shasta Peak and Glacier, Siskiyou Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1550

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1551 Glacier on Mt. Shasta. Siskiyou County, Cal.

Photographer's number: 1551

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1552 Glacier on Mt. Shasta. Siskiyou Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1552

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1564 Hot Spring on Lassen's Butte Siskiyou County, Cal

Photographer's number: 1564

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:1570 The Geyser Canon, from near the Hotel, Sonoma Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 1570

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1712 Calvary Church, Geary and Powell Sts.

Photographer's number: 1712

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:1873 The Plaza, Mare Island.

Photographer's number: 1873

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:2034 Shubric Point, Farallone Islands, Pacific Ocean.

Photographer's number: 2034

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:2063 Shags on their nests, Farallone Isl's, Pacific Ocean

Photographer's number: 2063

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series, Yosemite and Pacific Coast.

 

:2064 Shags on their Nests, Farallone Islands, P. C.

Photographer's number: 2064

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast.

 

:2068 Running the Rookeries, Farallone Islands, Pacific Ocean,

Photographer's number: 2068

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:2129 At the Residence of W. C. Ralston, Belmont, San Mateo Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 2129

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:2183 At the Residence of Mrs. Eastman, Millbrae, San Mateo Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 2183

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:2185 At the Residence of Mrs. Eastman, Millbrae, San Mateo Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 2185

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:2189 At the Residence of Mrs. Eastman, Millbrae, San Mateo Co., Cal.

Photographer's number: 2189

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:2309 "Foss" at the Geysers.

Photographer's number: 2309

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:2313 View of Pluton's Creek, Geysers.

Photographer's number: 2313

Photographer's series: Watkins Pacific Coast

 

:2522 View of Shasta Valley and Mount Shasta, looking South-east.

Photographer's number: 2522

Photographer's series: Watkins' Pacific Coast

 

:3307 View from the Grand Central Hotel, Oakland.

Photographer's number: 3307

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3553 Palace Hotel, S. F. Interior View.

Photographer's number: 3553

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3556 Palace Hotel, S.F. Interior View.

Photographer's number: 3556

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3557 Palace Hotel, S. F. Interior View.

Photographer's number: 3557

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3621 The Cliff House from the sea, S. F.

Photographer's number: 3621

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3638 View from the Residence of Chas. Crocker, Esq., S. F.

Photographer's number: 3638

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3645 View from the grounds of Gov. Stanford, Cal. St., S. F.

Photographer's number: 3645

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:3696 Baldwin's Hotel, Market and Powell Sts., S. F.

Photographer's number: 3696

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4043 Cascades at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe.

Photographer's number: 4043

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4116 Panorama of Virginia City. No.5.

Photographer's number: 4116

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4117 Panorama of Virginia City. No.6.

Photographer's number: 4117

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4122 Panorama of Virginia City from the North End. No. 3.

Photographer's number: 4122

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4124 Panorama of Virginia City from the North End. No. 5.

Photographer's number: 4124

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4165 Gold Hill. View down the Canon.

Photographer's number: 4165

Photographer's series: Pacific Coast Views

 

:4202 Cape Horn, C. P. R. R., Cal.

Photographer's number: 4202

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4309 Yucca Paper Mill, Ravena Station, S. P. R. R.

Photographer's number: 4309

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4310 Loading the Yucca Pulp, Ravena Station, S. P. R. R.

Photographer's number: 4310

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4315 San Fernando Tunnel, from the north end, S. P. R. R.

Photographer's number: 4315

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4360 Pico House, Los Angeles.

Photographer's number: 4360

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4375 The Cathedral, Los Angeles.

Photographer's number: 4375

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4506 Santa Monica Hotel and Bathing Houses.

Photographer's number: 4506

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4508 Santa Monica Bathing Houses.

Photographer's number: 4508

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4532 Cassiano Indian at San Antonio Mission, 136 years old.

Photographer's number: 4532

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4753 Sea Bathing, Santa Monica.

Photographer's number: 4753

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4754 Sea Bathing, Santa Monica.

Photographer's number: 4754

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4759 Baker Block, Los Angeles.

Photographer's number: 4759

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4772 View from Lake Vineyard House, Pasadena.

Photographer's number: 4772

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:4914 Street in Tombstone, Arizona.

Photographer's number: 4914

Photographer's series: Watkins New Series

 

:5012 Powder Works from the S. P. C. R. R. Santa Cruz, Cal.

Photographer's number: 5012

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series

 

:5228 Seattle, Puget Sound (W. T.) View from South Ridge.

Photographer's number: 5228

Photographer's series: Watkins' New Series