A man sits in a wooden boat with a mast on the edge of the Colorado River in the Black Canyon, Mojave County, Arizona. At this time, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan was working equally a armed forces lensman, for Lt. George Montague Wheeler’s U.S. Geographical Surveys West of the One Hundredth Acme. Photo taken in 1871, from expedition military camp viii, looking upstream.
In the 1860s and 1870s, photographer Timothy O’Sullivan created some of the best-known images in American History.
After covering the U.Due south. Civil War, O’Sullivan was the official photographer on the Us Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel under Clarence Rex, an trek organized by the federal government to assistance certificate the new frontiers in the American West.
The trek began at Virginia City, Nevada, where he photographed the mines and worked eastward. His job was to photograph the Westward to attract settlers. In and so doing, he became i of the pioneers in the field of geophotography.
O’Sullivan’south pictures were among the commencement to record the prehistoric ruins, Navajo weavers, and pueblo villages of the Southwest. In contrast to the Asian and Eastern mural fronts, the subject matter he focused on was a new concept.
Information technology involved taking pictures of nature every bit an untamed, pre-industrialized land without the employ of landscape painting conventions. In a higher place all, O’Sullivan captured, for the first fourth dimension on motion-picture show, the natural beauty of the American West.
Pah-Ute (Paiute) Indian group, almost Cedar, Utah, in 1872.
The completion of the railroads to the West following the Civil State of war opened up vast areas of the region to settlement and economic development. White settlers from the E poured across the Mississippi to mine, farm, and ranch.
African-American settlers also came West from the Deep South, convinced by promoters of all-black Western towns that prosperity could be plant there. Chinese railroad workers further added to the diversity of the region’s population.
The settlements from the East transformed the Great Plains. The huge herds of American bison that roamed the plains were almost wiped out, and farmers plowed the natural grasses to plant wheat and other crops. The cattle industry rose in importance as the railroad provided a practical ways for getting the cattle to market.
Twin buttes stand up near Green River City, Wyoming, photographed in 1872.
The loss of the bison and the growth of white settlement drastically affected the lives of the Native Americans living in the West.
In the conflicts that resulted, the American Indians, despite occasional victories, seemed doomed to defeat by the greater numbers of settlers and the military force of the U.S. government. Past the 1880s, most American Indians had been confined to reservations, often in areas of the West that appeared to the lowest degree desirable to white settlers.
The cowboy became the symbol for the West of the late 19th century, oft depicted in popular culture equally a glamorous or heroic figure. The stereotype of the heroic white cowboy is far from true, however.
The first cowboys were Spanish vaqueros, who had introduced cattle to United mexican states centuries before. Black cowboys likewise rode the range.
Furthermore, the life of the cowboy was far from glamorous, involving long, hard hours of labor, poor living weather, and economic hardship.
The myth of the cowboy is only one of many myths that take shaped our views of the West in the late 19th century. Recently, some historians accept turned abroad from the traditional view of the Westward as a frontier, a “meeting signal between civilization and savagery” in the words of historian Frederick Jackson Turner.
They have begun writing about the West as a crossroads of cultures, where various groups struggled for holding, profit, and cultural dominance. Call back about these differing views of the history of the Westward equally you examine the documents in this collection.
Members of Clarence King’s Fortieth Parallel Survey team, nigh Oreana, Nevada, in 1867.
The Pyramid and Domes, a line of dome-shaped tufa rocks in Pyramid Lake, Nevada, seen in 1867.
Panoramic view of tents and a camp identified as “Military camp Beauty”, stone towers and coulee walls in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. Tents and perchance a lean-to shelter stand on the coulee floor, near trees and talus. Photographed in 1873.
Sometime Mission Church, Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. View from the plaza in 1873.
Gunkhole crew of the “Picture” at Diamond Creek. Photo shows photographer Timothy O’Sullivan, quaternary from left, with swain members of the Wheeler survey and Native Americans, following ascent of the Colorado River through the Black Canyon in 1871.
Browns Park, Colorado, 1872.
Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho. A view across tiptop of the falls in 1874.
A human sits on a rocky shore beside the Colorado River in Iceberg Canyon, on the edge of Mojave Canton, Arizona, and Clark County, Nevada in 1871.
Timothy O’Sullivan’s darkroom railroad vehicle, pulled by four mules, entered the frame at the correct side of the photograph, reached the center of the image, and turned around, heading back out of the frame. Footprints lead from the railroad vehicle toward the camera, revealing the photographer’s path. Photograph taken in 1867, in the Carson Sink, function of Nevada’s Carson Desert.
The mining town of Aureate Hill, merely south of Virginia City, Nevada, in 1867.
A wooden counterbalanced incline used for gold mining, at the Illinois Mine in the Pahranagat Mining District, Nevada in 1871. An ore automobile would ride on parallel tracks continued to a pulley wheel at the top of tracks.
In 1867, O’Sullivan traveled to Virginia City, Nevada to document the activities at the Brutal and the Gould and Back-scratch mines on the Comstock Lode, the richest silver deposit in America. Working nine hundred feet underground, lit by an improvised wink — a burning magnesium wire, O’Sullivan photographed the miners in tunnels, shafts, and lifts.
The caput of Canyon de Chelly, looking past walls that ascent some 1,200 feet higher up the coulee floor, in Arizona in 1873.
Headlands due north of the Colorado River Plateau, 1872.
Native American (Paiute) men, women and children sit or stand and pose in rows nether a tree near probably Cottonwood Springs (Washoe County), Nevada, in 1875.
The junction of Green and Yampah Canyons, in Utah, in 1872.
Nearly 150 years ago, photographer O’Sullivan came beyond this evidence of a visitor to the West that preceded his own expedition by some other 150 years — A Spanish inscription from 1726. This close-upwards view of the inscription carved in the sandstone at Inscription Rock (El Morro National Monument), New Mexico reads, in English language: “By this place passed Ensign Don Joseph de Payba Basconzelos, in the year in which he held the Council of the Kingdom at his expense, on the 18th of February, in the year 1726”.
Aboriginal life among the Navajo Indians. Near old Fort Defiance, New Mexico, in 1873.
The Coulee of Lodore, Colorado, in 1872.
View of the White House, Ancestral Pueblo Native American (Anasazi) ruins in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, in 1873. The cliff dwellings were built by the Anasazi more than 500 years earlier. At lesser, men stand and pose on cliff dwellings in a niche and on ruins on the canyon floor. Climbing ropes connect the groups of men.
The “Nettie”, an expedition boat on the Truckee River, western Nevada, in 1867.
Human bathing in Pagosa Hot Spring, Colorado, in 1874.
A distant view of Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1873.
Maiman, a Mojave Indian, guide and interpreter during a portion of the season in the Colorado country, in 1871.
Alta City, Lilliputian Cottonwood, Utah, ca. 1873.
Cathedral Mesa, Colorado River, Arizona, 1871.
Large Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, in 1869. Note man and equus caballus virtually the bridge at lesser right.
Rock formations in the Washakie Badlands, Wyoming, in 1872. A survey member stands at lower right for scale.
Oak Grove, White Mountains, Sierra Blanca, Arizona in 1873.
Shoshone Falls, Idaho, in 1868. Shoshone Falls, near present-day Twin Falls, Idaho, is 212 feet loftier, and flows over a rim one,000 feet broad.
The south side of Inscription Stone (now El Morro National Monument), in New United mexican states in 1873. Note the small-scale figure of a human being standing at bottom center. The prominent characteristic stands near a modest pool of h2o, and has been a resting place for travelers for centuries. Since at least the 17th century, natives, Europeans, and later American pioneers carved names and messages into the rock face up every bit they paused. In 1906, a law was passed, prohibiting further carving.
(Photo credit: Library of Congress).