Carleton E. Watkins Photographs, 1890  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Title
Carleton E. Watkins Photographs
Dates
1890 (inclusive)
Quantity
81 photographic prints  :  7x8.5 inch black and white prints
Collection Number
PG 89
Summary
Black and white prints of the interior of Anaconda Mines near Butte, Montana. Includes views of miners, ore, timbering, and equipment. All photographs were taken by Carleton E. Watkins.
Repository
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 2350
Moscow, ID
83844-2350
Telephone: 208-885-0845
libspec@uidaho.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Languages
English


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection contains 81 black and white prints of the interior of Anaconda Mines near Butte, Montana. Includes views of miners, ore, timbering, and equipment. All photographs were taken by Carleton E. Watkins. To view digitized photographs, see our Carleton Watkins Mine Interiors digital collection.

Long considered lost, this collection of photographs was found in a basement in San Francisco after having survived the 1906 earthquake. These photographs, taken in 1890 by Carleton E. Watkins, depict the interiors of four Anaconda Mining Company mines in Butte, Montana. Watkins is best known for his scenic, large-plate photographs of the western United States, but the documentation and design of his commercial photography have also been studied, such as these mining scenes.

Watkins was hired to photograph the Anaconda copper mine in Butte by James Ben Ali Haggin in 1889. Haggin's company, Hearst, Haggin, Tevis and Co., which was owned by the Anaconda Mining Company, along with several other mines. Haggin and his partners had purchased majority shares in the Anaconda mine from Marcus Daly in 1881 and gradually transformed it into one of the largest copper producing mines in the world.

Watkins was hired to document the mines so that Haggin could present, later that year, "visually persuasive evidence of the mine's present success and future prospects" to European copper mining syndicates (including the Rothschild family) with whom the American copper mining interests were competing (Hult-Lewis, 247). The photographs served as a threat to the Europeans, indicating that Haggin's mines could produce and distribute such a large quantity of copper that the market value of the metal would be drastically diminished. The threat worked: the European syndicates and the Americans both promised to limit production to better guarantee the market.

As Watkins' letters from Butte attest, his time in Montana was anything but comfortable. Living out of his railroad car, Watkins dealth with howling winds, rain, snow, fires, personal health issues (bad toe, bad hip, vertigo), and terrible lighting and breathing conditions in the mine itself. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, his wife, their two children, and his sister were dealing with their own health and money issues, having to stave off creditors and the "wolf" of hunger at the same time. Lonely, weakened by a poor diet, and pining for his family, Watkins nevertheless managed to produce captivating photographs of the working mines - some as deep as 1,000 feet - by using a combination of eletric and flash lighting.

For a more detailed look at the mining photography of Carleton E. Watkins, and for more information on these photographs in particular, we recommend the recent dissertation of Christine A. Hult-Lewis," The Mining Photographs of Carleton Watkins, 1858-1891, and the Origins of Corporate Photography. Hult-Lewis contextualizes these photographs among the large body of mining photography Watkins created during his lifetime, describing these late photographs of Watkins as breaks from his usual style.

Watkins also has non-mining photographs.
- Carleton Watkins Exhibition & Photographs
- Carleton Watkins - 19th Century California Photographer
- The Stereoviews of Carleton Watkins
- Carleton Watkins Photographs at the Getty Museum
- Yosemite History: Carleton E. Watkins, photographer
- Carleton E. Watkins at National Gallery of Art
- Carleton E. Watkins Photographs at Beineck Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[description of item], Carleton E. Watkins Photographs (PG 89), Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
object
89-1163 1890
89-1164 1890
89-1165 1890
89-1166 1890
89-1167 1890
89-1168 1890
89-1169 1890
89-1170 1890
89-1171 1890
89-1172 1890
89-1173 1890
89-1174 1890
89-1175 1890
89-1176 1890
89-1177 1890
89-1178 1890
89-1179 1890
89-1180 1890
89-1181 1890
89-1182 1890
89-1183 1890
89-1184 1890
89-1185 1890
89-1186 1890
89-1187 1890
89-1188 1890
89-1189 1890
89-1190 1890
89-1191 1890
89-1192 1890
89-1193 1890
89-1194 1890
89-1195 1890
89-1196 1890
89-1197 1890
89-1198 1890
89-1199 1890
89-1200 1890
89-1201 1890
89-1202 1890
89-1203 1890
89-1204 1890
89-1205 1890
89-1206 1890
89-1207 1890
89-1208 1890
89-1209 1890
89-1210 1890
89-1211 1890
89-1212 1890
89-1213
Mt Con 100 Station at shaft.
1890
89-1214 1890
89-1215 1890
89-1216 1890
89-1217 1890
89-1218 1890
89-1219 1890
89-1220 1890
89-1221 1890
89-1222 1890
89-1223 1890
89-1224 1890
89-1225 1890
89-1226 1890
89-1227 1890
89-1228 1890
89-1229 1890
89-1230 1890
89-1231 1890
89-1232 1890
89-1233 1890
89-1234 1890
89-1235 1890
89-1236 1890
89-1237 1890
89-1238 1890
89-1239 1890
89-1240 1890
89-1241 1890
89-1242 1890
89-1243 1890

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Photograph collections
  • Geology--Montana
  • Mines and mineral resources--Montana
  • Mining Corporations
  • Mining Geology
  • Photography in Mining