In many states, photographers produced extensive lists of titles of stereographs on the reverse of their published cards. Many of these lists include dozens of titles, which are extremely helpful in compiling title lists. Unfortunately, in Arizona, the largest number of titles identified on an Arizona stereograph to date is just three titles.
Some photographers, including several active Arizona photographers such as George Rothrock, indicated that they produced catalogs of titles, but copies of those catalogs have yet to be discovered. Other photographers that produced a portion of their work in Arizona such as Carleton Watkins, Lawrence & Houseworth, and the Continent Stereograph Company, produced catalogs that included a number of Arizona views that are still available.
This list of stereograph titles has been compiled in a relatively inefficient manner, using the only option that has been available. Over several decades of visits to private and public collections, and scouring auction catalogs and sales lists I have noted captions and mount information. Additions to the listings have been transcribed from individual stereographs and dating information has been added as it has become available.
Many of the views are titled in period manuscript, using “creative” spellings and titles. I have tried to retain these, as opposed to trying to correct them, so you will find a number of variant spellings and terms throughout.
Many photographers used different mounts throughout their careers. Sometimes this was a matter of convenience, other times the new mounts marked transitions in editions, ownership or collaborations. This list has attempted to retain mount information based on the examples that were located. The information embedded in the mount – style and color, type of imprint, changes in font or series over time and other information can provide essential information about dates and photographer.
My hypothesis is that analysis of the patterns of where views were taken; which photographers made the views; whether they are original or copies; and on which mount they appear, provide important clues to better understanding the images and their historic context.
Years of visiting private and public collections has allowed identification of many thousands of individual titles, but by its nature, the list can never be comprehensive. Publication of the list is a first step in ferreting out titles of additional views, and hopefully copies of the missing catalogs will someday provide verification of existing titles and ideally, significant additions to the list.
This listing is presented by photographer and mount series, and includes:
PUBLISHER [where known]
PHOTOGRAPHER [where known]
LOCATION [where known]
MOUNT COLOR of the recto (front) and verso (reverse) of the mount
DATE: [approximate date where known]
SERIES: [series title or other information if available
Included are image numbers and any title information which appears to be contemporary to the image, such as printed captions on the mount or image, or manuscript, etc. Numbered images appear first in descending order, followed by unnumbered images in alphabetical order. Occasionally, additional information is presented in brackets.
Unfortunately, these listings have been compiled over several decades and only the first instance of a given view was noted.
In addition many of these listings came from auction or sale listings, or from visits to private collections where images may be traded, sold or exchanged and may no longer be in a given collection. As a result, in most cases it is not possible to identify specific locations for any given view. When possible, I have acquired copies of as many historic Arizona stereographs as is possible for my own collection.
The intent of this list is not to tantalize future researchers with unobtainable titles, but to convey the scope and depth of Arizona stereographs as a historic resource, and to demonstrate the value of analyzing the work of individual photographers, and to indicate the number of views made of a single location by multiple photographers as historic resources.
Though little known and rarely credited, stereographs provide some of the best documentation of cultural and historic information pertaining to Arizona during the second half of the 19th century. Hopefully my research and this reference list will help gain appropriate recognition for the pioneering photographers who produced these views, and for their importance in documenting the early history of Arizona.
Due to the combination of private and public sources, and the inability to account for changes from trades, sales or loss over the 30+ years of my research, the images have not been coded to particular sources other than my own collection and those items borrowed from other collections for this work. This unfortunately provides only an aspirational reference list, as oposed to a functional catalog, my apologies. Hopefully at least knowing the existence of an image will provide a helpful reference and generate targets for other researchers.
This list is a work in process and has been developed by viewing thousands of stereographs in numerous private and public collecitons. Some images exist only in a single or few copies, where there may be many copies of others. Serendipity has played a large role in which images still exist, which have been seen, and which might be yet discovered.
Please send any additions or corrections to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeremy.Rowe@Asu.edu, they will be greatly appreciated.
Please feel free to use this information but please credit this source and reproduce only with full credit information.
Note: New Listings in Bold
©Jeremy Rowe 2017
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