Henry Bird Calfee was a native of Arkansas and was born January 3, 1848. His boyhood was spent in the southern and eastern states. He came to Montana territory in 1867 where he worked as a painter and prospector for several years. Calfee first settled in Bozeman, but by 1885 he was living in Missoula where he remained the rest of his life. He first began taking photographs in Yellowstone during the 1870s and then marketed the images nationwide. Calfee also toured the country giving illustrated lectures on the park with the assistance of lantern slides.
The stereographs in this collection are, with one exception, views of Yellowstone National Park showing natural features such as geysers, rock formations, and watercourses. The stereographs have been divided into three series. "The Enchanted Land; or, Wonders of the Yellowstone National Park," are images Calfee produced while also promoting his magic lantern lectures and are identified as such by his stamp on the green colored mounting of each image. "Views of the Wonderland; or, Yellowstone National Park," are perhaps Calfee's earliest images, made while he still resided in Bozeman. These images are mounted on yellow board which also bears Calfee's stamp on the verso, or another identifying the firm as "Calfee and Catlin." The final series of stereographs are not stamped and mounted on orange or beige colored mounts and have been attributed to Calfee. Calfee numbered the images in the first two groups, and the stereographs appear to have retained the same numbers in both with the exception of numbers 66 and 76. The titles of the last group were taken from the information handwritten on the mounts and bear no numbers at all.
|1||Series 1: "The Enchanted Land; or, Wonders of the Yellowstone National Park"
Stereograph images of natural features taken by Calfee. Titles were taken from information included on the mounts, and the numbers preceding the titles are those assigned by Calfee.
|1||Series 2: "Views of the Wonderland; or, Yellowstone National Park"
Stereograph images of natural features taken by Calfee. Titles were taken from information included on the mounts, and the numbers preceding the titles are those assigned by Calfee. The last three images have no assigned number, but still bear the Calfee stamp.
|2||Series 3: Unmarked Calfee stereographs
Stereographs on orange or beige unmarked mounts attributed to Calfee. Titles taken from handwritten notations on the mounts.