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Fine Yosemite album

(WATKINS, TABER &c.). An album of 32 photographs of Yosemite and the American West

Various places, c. 1890s

32 albumen prints (sizes vary; see list below) of Yosemite and selected other scenes in the American West, on light gray card mounts. All but four signed in the negative by Taber of San Francisco. Contemporary dark blue morocco (measuring approx. 18 x 12 in.), upper board stamped in gilt “AMERIKA,” rebacked, brass fittings, lacking clasp. Silk patterned endpapers. Mounts foxed, slight staining, occasional foxing or fading to images. An outstanding album with beautiful, rich prints.

Giants of American West photography. This beautiful album contains many splendid views of the scenic wonders of Yosemite including splendid Watkins and Taber views. Subjects include the many magnificent falls, the Mariposa Grove of sequoias, and the great geological formations. At least two, and likely many more, of the views in this collection were taken by Carleton Watkins. Those for which attribution to Watkins has been confirmed are singled out below, but this collection merits further investigation to identify Watkins photographs.

Isaiah Taber was a dominant figure in Western photography after the Civil War. In 1864 he came to San Francisco, founding his gallery in 1871. In the winter of 1875-76, Taber acquired Carleton Watkins’s collection of Pacific Coast Views negatives and Yosemite Gallery in the aftermath of Watkins’s bankruptcy. “Once he had acquired Watkins’s gallery and negatives, Taber began his bid for the exalted position of premier photographer of the west coast.” Many of Watkins’s prints were released with Taber’s imprint. Over the next three decades Taber became the dominant figure in photography in the Far West. In 1906 the San Francisco earthquake ended his career, destroying his premises and an estimated twenty tons of view negatives and eighty tons of portrait negatives.

The collection comprises:

1.    Bridal Veil Falls, 900 feet. Taber Photo., San Francisco B961 (8 x 5 in.)

2.    Sentinel Rock, Taber Photo., San Fran. B970 (8 x 5 in.)

3.    Yosemite Falls, from Union Point. Taber Photo., San Fran. B722 (8 x 5 in.)

4.    The Vernal Fall, 336 feet. Yosemite Valley, Cal. Taber Photo., San Fran.B3052 (8 x 5 in.)

5.    Vernal Fall-350 feet. Taber Photo., San Fran. B728 (8 x 5 in.)

6.    Watkins, Carleton. Vernal Falls, 350 ft. from Lady Franklin Rock. Taber Photo., San Fran. B2637 (8 x 5 in.). This photograph, attributed to Watkins, is in the Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, and in he collection of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

7.    North Dome and Tis-sa-ack Bridge from Merced River. Taber Photo., San Fran.
B3201 (8 x 5 in.)

8.    Bridge at Wawona, A.D. 1890. Taber Photo., San Francisco B5222 (5 x 8 in.)

9.    General View of Yosemite Valley from Artist’s Point. Taber Photo., San Francisco
3960 (8 x 9 ½ in.)

10.    View of Yosemite Valley from Artist’s Point. Taber Photo., San Francisco
B2635 (8 x 9 ½ in.)

11.     “Cathedral Spires,” 2,600 feet. Taber Photo., San Francisco B2653 (9 ½  x 8 in.)

12.    North Dome, 3,633 ft. Royal Arches and Washington Column, 2,200 ft. from Merced River. Taber Photo., San Fran. B2605 (9 ½  x 8 in.)

13.    The Domes from Merced River. Taber Photo., San Francisco B2631 (5 x 8 in.)

14.    Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley Cal.. Taber Photo., San Francisco
B3205 (5 x 8 in.)

15.    El Capitan, Reflected, 3,300 feet. Taber Photo., San Francisco
B815 (8 x 5 in.)`

16.    Castle Rock from Lower Soda Spring, Taber Photo., San Fran
B2117 (8 x 5 in.)

17.    Half Dome, 5,000 ft. and Glacier Point. Taber Photo., San Francisco
B2665 (8 x 5 in.)

18.    “Diamond Group,” 300 feet high. Taber Photo., San Fran.
825. (8 x 5 in.)

19.    Sequoia Group, 270 feet high. Mariposa Grove. Taber Photo., San Francisco
B777 (5 x 8 in.)

20.    “Diamond Group” 300 feet high, Mariposa Grove. Taber Photo., San Francisco
261 (8 ½ x 12 in.)

21.    Sequoia Group, 270 feet high, Mariposa Grove. Taber Photo., San Francisco
A278 (8 ½ x 12 in.)

22.    Big Trees and Cabin, Mariposa Group, Cal. Taber Photo., San Fran
3070 (9 ½ x 8 in.)

23.    “Ohio,” 82 ft. circum. 6 ft. above Ground, 320 ft. high, Mariposa Grove. Taber Photo., San Fran. 2448  (9 ½ x 8 in.)

24.     “Wawona”- 28 feet diameter, 275 feet high – Mariposa Grove. Taber Photo., San Francisco. 2452 (9 ½ x 8 in.)

25.    Watkins, Carleton. The “Grizzly Giant,” 33 feet diameter, nearly 300 feet high, Mariposa Grove, Cal. Taber Photo., San Francisco A 61 (12 x 8 ½ in.). This photograph, which may have been taken at the same time as Naef 1010, is identified as by Watkins by the Smithsonian Institution and dated 1861 in its American Photogaphs: The First Century website.

26.    World’s Fair Big Tree. One solid, half cut. This is the largest piece of timber ever taken from California measuring twenty feet in diameter and weighing 19,728 lbs. Taber Photo., San Francisco 5257 (8 x 9 ½ in.)

27.    Bull team at Coburn’s mill, Mammoth Forest, Cal. hauling section of the World’s Fair Big Trees. Taber Photo., San Francisco 5263  (8 x 9 ½ in.)

28.    Below the Gorge Grand Canon R.G.R.R. [photograph by] WHL & Co.
429 (7 ½ x 4 ½ in.)

29.    Royal Gorge Grand Canon Arkansas River. No photographer
[Number cropped] (7 ½ x 4 ½ in.)

30.    Royal Gorge Grand Canyon Arkansas River. No photographer
600 (7 x 4 ½ in.)

31.    9th Crossing, S.P. Co. Oregon Division Taber Photo., San Francisco
B2069 (5 x 8 in.)

32.    Castle Gate [two words illegible] (4 ½ x 7 in.)