Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Photographer Patrons


It's interesting to note how different photographers picked up patrons among the owners of the Central Pacific.

Hart's patron was E. B. Crocker, and Hart's work came to an end not long after E. B.'s stroke took him out of active management.

Somewhat later Muybridge found a patron in Stanford.

But the best patronage was received by Watkins from C. P. Huntington. Huntington and Watkins had traveled from Oneonta, New York, to California in the same Gold Rush immigrant party, and Watkins received periodic support throughout his life from Huntington, including the gift of a ranch in Capay Valley around the turn of the century. With the departure of Hart, Huntington saw to it that Watkins received the Hart negatives that the CP had purchased. (Watkins reprinted them regularly, retaining the Hart image numbers and captions.) This also explains why when in 1874 Watkins lost all his negatives to creditors, he did not loose the CP negatives - they still belonged to the railroad. Ultimately they were destroyed with the rest of Watkins' negatives (including his early negatives acquired by Taber in 1874) in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

—Kyle Wyatt


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Most interesting. And your comments provoke several questions:

When was E. B. Crockers stroke? I have the date of 1871. And how soon after E. B.'s stroke did Hart fall out of favor? I have found nothing that I could attribute to him after 1873, Shop photographs or otherwise, associated with Central Pacific.

When did Muybridge start taking CP photographs, and for how long? Do you have recall of any Shops shots he made?

Thanks for the info.


7/16/2006 11:45 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Researching further, it appears that EB Crocker suffered his major stroke in June 1869. He had suffered a minor stroke a little over a year earlier in 1868. Apparently in 1870 Charles Crocker asked that his and EB's interests be purchased out by the other Associates, with an agreement to do this concluded in 1871, but the depression of 1873 necessitated that Charles Crocker return to active involvement in the Central Pacific.

Others may have a better idea of timing, but it appears to me that Hart's involvement in Central Pacific photography largely ended by the Fall of 1869. I'm not certain at all, but my guess is that the CP Hart negatives went to Wakins in 1870. He may have sold his remaining negatives to Houseworth, but that is only speculation.

Muybridge appears to become active in Central Pacific photography about 1870, and remained so for a couple of years – but that doesn't necessarily mean patronage. Any commercial photographer of the time would have wanted a selection of Central Pacific images. I'm not real firm on Muybridge's evolving relationship. I'm not aware of any Muybridge photos of the CP Shops in Sacramento – but I certainly don't have a complete set.


7/16/2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Glenn Willumson"

Regarding E.B. Crocker, he complains about all the work that has fallen on his shoulders and of "a slight attack of paralysis" in a letter to Huntington in May 1868. He continues, however, to be very active in the affairs of the CPRR, though, until June 1869, and continues to buy photographs from Hart (for the CP) until the fall.

Hart's last sale of negatives is june 4 (sorry my june 2 guess was incorrect). His last sale of photographs was in early October of 1869. Then there is a very strange voucher to "A. Hart" for "19 lbs of cast iron" and "labor" ($2.93 total) at the end of October 1869. That's the last record I can find of a connection between Hart and the railroad. Research makes it very clear that Hart's relationship with the railroad was through E.B. Crocker. When Crocker suffered his stroke, Hart lost his patronage. By October 1870, Watkins is the new CPRR photographer. But by then the railroad appears to have been largely out of the photography business. Watkins made some new photos of the railroad and may have sold some prints to the CP, but there was not the great rush of purchases that were made under E.B. Crocker from 1866-1869.

There is one other interesting tangent, however, in the CPRR photo-archive story. Somewhere during or right after Hart (but before Watkins), Frank Durgan printed Hart's negatives of the CPRR under his name, with Hart's address (65 J street) and for sale at E.S. Denison, (CPRR general agent, I believe), No. 3 Front Street, Sacramento. Later (presumably), Durgan sells Hart stereographs with a Lewiston, Maine address.

Lastly, Peter Palmquist told me of a letter that he had seen that talked about Huntington finding someone printing the CPRR negatives in a railroad building and that he was furious and kicked them out, had them fired, and turned the negatives over to Watkins. Sadly, as many of you know, Peter died a couple of years ago in a car accident and I do not know where that letter is located. Even if it is found (and my memory of our conversation is accurate), it is still just an anecdote to the fact that Hart was out by late 1869 (perhaps by his choice. He wanted to paint) and Watkins was in by late 1870.

Muybridge and the railroad. Muybridge took an extensive series of stereographic views all along the railroad fairly early. I would guess 1869-1870, but I'm sure someone with a better knowledge of construction changes and equipment after 1869 could give a more accurate dating. An album of half steros of many (all?) of these photos was given to Lone Mountain College in San Francisco in the 19th century and then was transferred to the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley (now closed for rennovation). I think, however, that the California State Railroad museum has made copy prints from the album. Interestingly, many of these are the same locations as are seen in the Hart photographs. That's always made me wonder about a relationship between Hart and Muybridge – but that's a whole other topic. As kyle says, just about everyone was taking photos of the railroad in late 1869-70 (Jackson, Reilly, Houseworth, Muybridge, Savage, Russell, Silvas, etc.) hoping to cash in on the expected passenger traffic. I also think Kyle is right about a relationship between Stanford and Muybridge that predates the famous trotting horse photographs. Muybridge, for example, made a series of photographs of Stanford's home in Sacramento in the early 1870s.

—Glenn Willumson

7/17/2006 7:20 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Randy Hees"

Returning to our earlier discussion on photographers and their relationships with the railroad and the Associates. ...

Sometime in 1869/1870 Lawrence and Houseworth did a 103 stereo card series on the Western Pacific (numbers 1466 to 1568) included are photos of the line over Altamont Pass under construction, photos of the Oakland mole after operations start, and a number of photos of mostly Pullman car interiors.

Based on what I see; the earliest photos date to July or August 1869 (one of three photos of the Altamont Pass tunnel lacks track, the other two show track, un-ballasted.) while another photo showing the end of a coach on a newly double tracked line in the Hayward area couldn’t have been taken before mid December 1869, probably later, as the 2nd track was added as a response to the Simpson’s wreck of mid November.

With this in mid, how does Lawrence and Houseworth fit into the CP photographer chronology?

—Randy Hees

7/27/2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Glenn Willumson"

I don't recall seeing any of stereographs from the Western Pacific, but I would imagine that they were published by Thomas Houseworth, not Lawrence and Houseworth. Lawrence and Houseworth dissolved their partnership around 1867. In terms of the question you asked, this is only important because some people believe that Thomas Houseworth began making some of his own negatives after 1867. Before that time, the firm purchased negatives from several photographers. One of their primary sources for CPRR views was CPRR photographer Alfred Hart. Given the fact that Hart lost his patronage after the completion of the transcontinental (and [E.B.] Crocker's stroke), he could have made the views along the Western Pacific but there are no Hart views of this railroad (that I know of) and so it would be impossible to know for sure. Also, Hart was busy traveling and producing illustrated guidebooks in 1869-1870.

—Glenn Willumson

7/27/2006 9:13 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Lynn Farrar"

Randy – Your answer on photographs is okay except your mention of Oakland Mole. In 1870 CP constructed the so-called Long Wharf extending from the existing wharf at West Oakland west toward Goat Island, now Yerba Buena. Oakland Mole was started by CP in 1878 or 1879 and was opened for traffic January 22, 1882. Nice reporting.


7/30/2006 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me where I might obtain digital photo files of ferries, wharves or buildings that were used for train/ferry crossings between Oakland and San Francisco in 1895? Also, though the CPRR had been merged into SPRR by then, did passenger train service from Ogden to S.F. formally operate as "Southern Pacific"? I'm working on a family history project... Thanks, Bruce

10/20/2006 10:13 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...



San Francisco Ferry Terminal

10/20/2006 11:16 PM  
Blogger Dave Anderson said...

Does any one out there have a good photo,diagram or plan of a CP rail laying cart? I am writing a short piece on laying rail in the 1860s and would like one for an illistration.

6/22/2007 10:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Recent Messages