Skip to main content

William Henry Jackson’s Colorado

April 2024
1min read

To say merely that he was a photographer is only to brush at the truth. In a career that began in 1867 and was rarely interrupted until his death in 1942 at the age of ninety-nine, William Henry Jackson produced more than forty thousand photographs, most of them of the American West during the last stages of a frontier condition. Throughout most of the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, on both private and government expeditions, Jackson loaded as much as a ton of equipment on the backs of pack animals and struggled across all the rocks and hard places of the West, immortalizing a now almost vanished panorama in crystals of silver nitrate.

It was the Rocky Mountain region, however, that had a special appeal for him; thousands of his negatives were exposed here, and thousands were of the people and places of Colorado before, during, and after it became a state in 1876. On this page and those that follow we offer a portfolio of Jackson’s Colorado photographs. Modest, perhaps —but like all the rest of the images he fixed in glass, these too have become a part of our national iconography.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate