Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal. THOMAS HOUSEWORTH, CO.
Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal.
Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal.
Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal.
Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal.
Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal.

Sun pictures of the Yo Semite Valley, Cal. Chicago: Published by Coyne & Relyea, 105-9 Madison Street ... Knight & Leonard, Printers, 105, 107 & 109 Madison Street, 1874. 26.5 x 35 cm, title leaf and 44 leaves with mounted photographic prints averaging 16.5 x 21.5 cm, with identifying letter press, title leaf printed in red and black, original three-quarter morocco and bevel-edged green cloth, titled in gold on the front panel: Sun Pictures / of The Yo-Semite Valley / California," rules stamped in gold on front and rear panels, lavender endpapers. The photographs are labeled "Thomas Houseworth & Co., Photos 9 & 12 Montgomery Street, San Francisco." The photographer is not identified, but many of these images now are attributed to Charles Leander Weed (1824-1903), the first Yosemite photographer. In 1857, Weed was at work as a daguerrian artist in Sacramento and by 1858 was the junior partner of Robert H. Vance, San Francisco's leading photographer. Weed arrived in Yosemite Valley on June 17, 1859 with a party led by James M. Hutchings. His first subject was probably Yosemite Falls in a view from the base taken during the morning on June 18th. Weed returned to San Francisco with at least twenty large plates, 10 x 14 inches, and approximately forty stereos, which Vance quickly advertised for sale. Hutchings provided a detailed account of the 1858 trip in his article, "The Great Yo-Semite Valley," Hutchings' California Magazine, 4 (October 1859), 145-60, 193-208, 241-52, 285-95, which included several of Weed's photographic images rendered as wood engravings. In 1864, Weed was back in Yosemite, probably as a member of a photographic excursion sponsored by the firm of Lawrence and Houseworth. This time, following the lead of Carleton E. Watkins, Weed took glass plate negatives 17 x 22 inches (the New York Public Library possesses an album containing thirty of Weed's mammoth views). In 1867, Lawrence and Houseworth submitted twenty-six of Weed's 1864 mammoth views of Yosemite, together with other photographs, to the Paris International Exposition and came away with the bronze medal, the highest award for photography. The 1864 visit may have been Weed's last trip to Yosemite, though it is possible that he accompanied Edweard Muybridge on a trip to the valley in 1872. By 1880 Weed had become a photoengraver, a profession he practiced until his death in 1903. For an analysis of Weed's work in Yosemite Valley in 1859, see Mary V. Jessup Hood, "Charles L. Weed, Yosemite's First Photographer," Yosemite Nature Notes, 38 (June 1959), 76-87. An account of Weed's career is in Peter E. Palmquist, "California's Peripatetic Photographer: Charles Leander Weed," California History: The Magazine of the California Historical Society, 58 (Fall 1979), 194-219. Leather rubbed, rebacked with original spine strip laid on, corners repaired, cloth a bit soiled and scuffed. A few of the stiff card mounting boards are a bit spotted or tanned. Several of the photographs exhibit just a bit of fading to backgrounds, but most are in excellent condition with rich tones and sharp contrast. Provenance: The following is written in brown ink on rear paste-down: "This BOOK / Belongs to the / Cook Family / R. Cook & / D. Cook 251-6015 / B. Cook - 229-6163 / Rosie Cook - 834-5196." A desirable copy with the full compliment of 44 photographs, and certainly one of the best extant examples of this portfolio. (#165088).

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