Carleton WATKINS / I.W. TABER "Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, CA"
Carleton E. Watkins / I. W. Taber
"Wawona - 28 feet diameter, 275 feet high - Mariposa Grove" Yosemite, CA
Negative by Watkins, 1861 circa
Printed by Taber, 1876 circa
9 5/16 x 7 5/8 inches
On original mount (18 x 13 inches)
Titled, numbered B2452 with "Taber Photo., San Francisco" in the negative.
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At twenty, Carleton Watkins headed out to California to make his fortune. After working as a daguerreotype operator in San Jose, he established his own practice and soon made his first visit to the Yosemite Valley. There he made thirty mammoth plates and one hundred stereograph views that were among the first photographs of Yosemite seen in the East. Partly on the strength of Watkins's photographs, President Abraham Lincoln signed the 1864 bill that declared the valley inviolable, thus paving the way for the National Parks system.
A poor businessman, Watkins declared bankruptcy in 1874 and his negatives and gallery were sold to photographer Isaiah Taber, who began to publish Watkins's images under his own name.
This type of print is often referred to as a “Taber Watkins”: the negative was made by Watkins, and print was made by Taber.