Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Union Pacific Photograph Car


I'm researching the photographers Baker and Johnston of Evanston, circa 1881.  A 1924 Uninta County History by Elizabeth Arnold Stone says "With a photographer named Johnson he [Charles Baker] established the Union Pacific Photograph Car, well-known for years throughout the West."  This Johnson could be Eli Johnson of Evanston or W.J. Johnston of Green River.  They’re pretty illusive fellows.  Any ideas how I might learn more about the photographers or the UP Photograph Car? 

Thank you,

Chavawn Kelley


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The U.P.R.R. Photograph Car was associated with photographer John B. Silvis.

5/11/2005 7:25 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

You might want to check "Biographies of Western Photographers 1840-1900" by Carl Mautz.

5/11/2005 7:31 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Thank you very much. Though I'd hoped I was on to something, your reply was very helpful. Both accounts I have of Baker suggest that he was a great story teller... Mautz was my source for for the Johnson/Johnston names. Thank you again for your quick and helpful response.
Chavawn Kelley

5/11/2005 7:50 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The Union Pacific Photograph Car certainly predates 1881, although it is possible Baker and Johnson took over the car on that date, or maybe rented it. There was an article by Barry Swackhammer in the Journal of the West, Vol. 33, No. 2; April 1994, on J. B. Silvas, the first photographer to have the Union Pacific Photograph Car in the early 1870s. See

According to the article, Silvas retired form the car at the end of 1882, and Charles Tate took it over, soon succeeded by W. A. Bradley. Bradley continued using it until at least 1889.

Kyle K. Wyatt
Curator of History & Technology
California State Railroad Museum
111 "I" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

My work address is:
My personal address is:

5/11/2005 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a photo by Baker and Johnston. It is of a group of Indians near a railroad. I would say cira 1880s or so ... does anyone know anything about this photo?

10/22/2005 10:58 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Please e-mail to a high quality scan of your Baker & Johnston photo of a group of Indians near a railroad that you are asking about.

10/22/2005 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a tintype photo of a gentleman (identity unknown) which has a stamped frame on the back with the words "S.P. Sanders' Photograph Car" inside the frame. My family originated in southern Ontario, Canada. Were there Photograph Cars in Canada and, if so, where would I find more information? Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

12/02/2005 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a photo of a gentlemen on a card. The back is stamped with a frame. It says "Union Pacific Photo Car, running between Ogden, Utah, Butte, Mont, and Omaha, Neb. W.A. bradley, Propietor. Duplicates may be had at any time, at $3.00 a dozen, By addressing 1108 Farnam Street, Omaha, Neb."
The gentleman wears a suit, holds a violin and wears cowboy boots.
Can you help me date this Photo?

1/08/2008 4:35 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

You might want to check Biographies of Western Photographers 1840-1900 by Carl Mautz to see if it has any information about W.A. Bradley.

1/08/2008 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Meh Too"
Subject: W.A.Bradley Photo

I found your site after researching the above fellow trying to locate information. This is a recent addition to my post mortem collection and it was so interesting. Sorry if it's a bit raw in regards to the subject. But figured you might like to see this.


See, W.A. Bradley CDV of deceased infant

W.A. Bradley CDV verso, UPRR Photo Car

CDV detail, showing dead baby [Such postmortem photography was common in the 19th century.]

3/28/2016 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Patricia Howe said...

Joining an old conversation which I found by searching for SP Sanders Photograph Car, associated with an old photograph of a young boy. My family is from San Jose CA and from Austin Texas. I think this boy is the San Jose side, but knowing more about the SP SAnders photograph car might help... advice welcome
Patricia Howe

8/27/2020 12:50 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Recent Messages