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Amy White photograph album of the American West, 1871White, Amy
While there is little known documentation extant about its creation or provenance beyond the inscription "Amy White, from her brother Howard. Christmas 1871," this album was likely compiled to commemorate a trip (probably by Amy and perhaps with her brother) through the western United States on the Central Pacific Railroad, with the bulk of the photographs from California. The album consists of 257 albumen photographs (probably derived from stereo-halves) glued to 72 leaves, with captions and borders in ink. A few pages have other items, including a music program and advertisement, lichen from Yosemite, and a program for a ship launch. Although uncredited, nearly all photos appear to be from pioneer Western photographers whose work was commercially available in the form of stereoviews, cabinet cards, and as prints such as the ones here. Various firms, including San Francisco's Lawrence & Houseworth (Thomas Houseworth & Co. after 1868), offered catalogs of images that customers could select from in order to create a custom scrapbook, to which the personal mementos were added. This album may have been produced by Houseworth. The trip's itinerary as noted in the captions is dated from April to July, 1871, but other captions imply 1872, after the date in the inscription. However, the photos themselves were taken from approximately 1864 to 1870. The photographer most represented in the album is Carleton Watkins, but there are also many photos by Alfred Hart, as well several also published by Houseworth. Others have been determined to be by Eadweard Muybridge, Charles Savage, Andrew J. Russell, and Timothy O'Sullivan. A few of the images were not identified, and could be rejected or unpublished work by the above. Cropping and developing vary from published versions as well. The majority of views highlight the West's natural wonders and the railroad; there are also depictions of ships, docks, waterways, mining, San Francisco banks, churches, & hotels, and the Barron, Ralston and Atherton estates on the peninsula. Of the few human figures in the photographs, there are two portraits of Yosemite naturalist Galen Clark in the redwoods, and a possibly unique print by Watkins capturing Clarence King, Frederick Clark and Gilbert Munger at Mt. Shasta Camp in 1870.