Freezing Time

The Klondike Photographs of Clarke and Clarence Kinsey

In the words of historian William Bronson, it was “the last grand adventure,” and there is no denying the dimensions of the event: in 1897 and 1898, at least one hundred thousand people took passage to the scruffy little towns of Dyea and Skagway in the Alaskan Panhandle, inched over the mountains through Chilkoot or White passes, then floated, walked, and dogsledded the remaining five hundred miles to a new Golconda called Dawson in the heart of the Klondike gold fields. Read more »

The Mystic Vision Of Everett Scholfield

A Connecticut photographer’s record of life in a shipbuilding town

In the mid-nineteenth century, Mystic, Connecticut, was at once identical to all the small seafaring communities that stood on the Eastern seaboard and unique in that it turned out a greater tonnage of sturdy ships than any town of its size in America. It also bred more than its share of great seamen: Dick Brown, who sailed the America when she took the Queen’s cup; Henry Holdredge, who skippered the Black Ball Packets; Joseph Warren Holmes, who rounded the Horn eighty-three times. Read more »

Stringing Along With H. H. Bennett

The Winnebago Indians called him 0Ke-wah-gah-kah (“Man Who Takes the Pictures”) and he certainly did that, over a career that spanned more than four decades. His name was Henry Hamilton Bennett, and the landscape he spent most of his life recording was that of the Wisconsin Dells, a region of ancient sandstone through which the Wisconsin River had carved a witchery of caves and palisades and curious rock formations. Read more »

Mirror Of Zion

The Utah Photographs of George Edward Anderson

When George Edward Anderson was born at Salt Lake City in 1860, Brigham Young’s desert kingdom—“the resting place of Israel for the last days”—still stood defiantly apart from the rest of America, embattled and alone. By the time Anderson died in 1928, Utah had been a loyal and contented state of the American Union for more than three decades. Anderson chronicled that peaceful transformation with his camera. Read more »

The Wilder West Of George Lawton

By the 1890’s, when Denver telegrapher George Lawton began collecting the curious photographs on this and the following pages, the era of the Western badmen was coming to an end. The old hiding places were no longer secure: marshals, sheriffs, Pinkerton agents, and bounty hunters swarmed everywhere, eager to claim the rewards posted by banks, railroads, and stockmen, and descriptions of outlaws and their movements could be flashed across the West in an instant by telegraph. Scores of bandits fell to posse bullets; many more were hanged or jailed.Read more »

A Gallant Company

One reason most Americans find greater immediacy in the Civil War than in the Revolution is that the camera came into being during the eighty-odd years between the two conflicts. However skillful his hand, the engraver could not approach the sense of intimacy the lens provides. In the absence of photographic images, the Continental soldiers tend to recede from us, to become one with the defenders of Blenheim, or of Troy. Read more »

The Sun Paintings Of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes

 
 

No nineteenth-century American was more enthusiastic about the advent of the camera than Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes.Read more »

The View From Fourth And Olive

A remarkable collection of daguerreotypes by the St. Louis photographer Thomas Easterly illuminates the zest and chaos of city life in the Age of Expansion

Throughout his working life, Thomas Easterly’s St. Louis acquaintances knew him as “the daguerrean,” a title that reflected the man’s stubborn espousal of the first photographic method known in America. Long after his colleagues had adopted newer techniques, Easterly stuck by his belief in its superior qualities. “Save your old Daguerreotypes,” he urged, “for you may never see their like again. … By no other process can so perfect and durable a likeness be produced and every unprejudiced artist will bear testimony to what we assert.” Read more »

The American Pantheon, According To Coyle

Carlos Cortez Coyle did not know much about art, at least not in the formal sense. But he knew whom he liked, and he painted his heroines and heroes with naive enthusiasm. Coyle was born in Kentucky in 1871 and did not begin painting seriously until he was fifty-nine, after a knockabout career as a shipbuilder and lumberman.Read more »

National Reflections

A new book presents uncommon portraits of our past from the photographic archives of the Library of Congress

“If one loves old photographs, with all their compelling I magic, there is no happier a hunting ground than the I Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.” So writes Oliver Jensen, the former editor of this magazine, in the introduction to America’s Yesterdays , a unique collection of some of the library’s least-known pictorial treasures, which American Heritage will publish this fall. Read more »