[Denver: William H. Jackson Studio, ca. 1882]. Mammoth-plate albumen photograph, 17 x 21 inches, on original printed grey card mount, approximately 20 1/2 x 25 inches. Mounted to larger white card stock and framed. Some fading to image. Closed 1 1/2-inch vertical tear in bottom margin of the print. Closed circular tear and old stain in the lower edge of the white mount. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM55090
A splendid and rare mammoth-plate albumen photograph produced by William Henry Jackson about 1882 after he traveled the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The previous year, General W.J. Palmer of the D&R.G. hired Jackson to take a series of photographs along the rail line for promotional purposes. The railway provided Jackson with a specially-built railway car that included a flat portion which served as a photographic platform. The present photograph captures the silver-mining town of Silverton, Colorado with Sultan Mountain in the background. A title in the lower margin of the photograph (partially faded), printed in the negative, reads SILVERTON SULTAN MOUNTAIN, along with Jackson's imprint. William Henry Jackson's "Denver and Rio Grande R.R. Scenic Line of the World" series stamp appears in the top margin of the original grey mount, along with the generic title THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. SCENES ALONG THE LINE OF THE DENVER AND RIO GRANDE RAILROAD printed in the bottom margin. Jackson's images of Colorado along the D&R.G. Railroad were produced in small numbers as mammoth plate prints, and those that are most often encountered in the market are views of tracks winding through canyons or along rivers. The present image, showing a bird's-eye view of Silverton with its scores of simple wooden buildings (including a handful of two and three- story structures), is most uncommon. It is similar to one held by the State Historical Society of Colorado, showing Baker's Park, Silverton, and Sultan Mountain, pictured as plates 100-101 in Beaumont Newhall and Diana E. Edkins' 1974 study of Jackson. William Henry Jackson began his career in photography in 1858, working as a retouching artist in a studio in Troy, New York. In the 1860s, after serving briefly in the Union Army, he worked at several studios in Vermont before moving to Omaha, Nebraska in 1867, where he established his own studio. He worked on an extensive series of views for the Union Pacific Railroad, which earned him enough notice to be recruited by Ferdinand Hayden for the U.S. Geological Survey team. With the USGS, Jackson explored and photographed vast areas of the West, including Yellowstone and parts of Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Nevada. In 1879, his work with the USGS at an end, he set up a commercial photography studio in Denver, marketing landscape photographs of the West. Jackson stayed in Denver until 1898, when he moved to Detroit. The present photograph was taken during Jackson's Denver era when he did extensive work for the railroads of Colorado, the first of which was the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Beaumont Newhall & Diana E. Edkins, WILLIAM H. JACKSON (Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, ), p.145, plates 100-101.