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William Henry Jackson
Title page for "Descriptive Catalogue of the Photographs of the United States Geological Survey of The Territories for The Years 1869 to 1873, inclusive" by W.H. Jackson (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1874)
It has been customary, heretofore, merely to catalogue the results of each season's operations in a few pamphlet pages of numbers and titles only, but the increasing interest in, and demand for the more striking views, calls for a complete descriptive account of the collection, and I have endeavored, in the following pages, to supply as much information as the somewhat limited space allows. The descriptions are mainly compiled from the reports for the corresponding years.
The collection, thus far, numbers upward of thirteen hundred landscape negatives, the greater portion of them of subjects that had never been taken, and probably will not be for many years to come, or until the country has advanced into civilization. By no other means could the characteristics and wonderful peculiarities of the hitherto almost unknown western half of our continent be brought so vividly to the attention of the world. That they are appreciated, the demand for them, from all quarters of the globe, amply testifies.
It is not to be expected that they- should possess uniform excellence as the conditions under which they were made were as variable as the winds, and the difficulties encountered and surmounted in obtaining many of the most valuable views, are almost incredible. As a whole, however, their excellence is quite marked, and is a trinmph over difficulties.
The Indian catalogue includes a list of over one thousand subjects and sixty-six tribes, representing nearly every portion of the western Territories, and their value to the ethnography of the aborigines will soon be very great. They are mostly studies of their habits and costumes, taken in their own villages and among their own mountains, showing their every-day life. They are fast passing away or conforming to the habits of civilization, and there will be no more faithful record of the past than these photographs. To their future historian they will prove invaluable.
The subjects made under the direction of this survey formed the nucleus, to which has been added nearly one thousand negatives through the munificent liberality of Wm. Blackmore, esq., a wealthy English gentleman, deeply interested in ethnography. The addition is especially valuable as it embraces many other collections, dating back twenty years.
Especial attention is being paid to the subject each season, and additions made to the collections upon every opportunity.