Skip to main content

Paul Rubinstein collection of Yellowstone stereoviews

Identifier: MSS 9031

Scope and Contents

Contains 110 black-and-white stereoviews, taken in the Yellowstone Park area in 1871-1872. Negatives by Joshua Crissman of Bozeman, Montana. 107 of these negatives were published and marketed by William Isaac Marshall in 1876. Three stereoviews by Lovejoy and Foster, using some of Crissman's negatives.


  • 1872-1878


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research. Condition restricted. Items kept in cold storage; access requires 24 hours advance notice.

Biographical History

Paul Rubinstein was born in Oakland, California, in 1961. He graduated from Shattuck-St. Mary's High School in Faribault, Minnesota, in 1979, and California State University-Chico with a B.A. Geography in 1986. He worked as an air traffic controller in Minnesota and Wyoming. In 2000, Rubinstein co-authored the book, The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery. In 2001, he founded a Yellowstone stereoview distribution business called YnpCollector Stereoviews.

Biographical History

Edward Lovejoy and Henry C. Foster made an extensive series of the Chicago Fire plus a series of the city in recovery after the fire (1871). "Rebuilt Chicago, 1872" showed the downtown nearly completely rebuilt and a beehive of activity. This series also included some fine interiors of businesses. They also issued a series of the Interstate Expositions in 1873 and 1874, including their booth selling views. Lovejoy and Foster were a major distributor of pirate views, especially by midwestern photographers, and their label appeared on many views they did not publish. They did offer non-Chicago subjects, including an especially fine series of Yellowstone National Park.

There seem to be two types of Lovejoy & Foster Yellowstone views. The orange mount set and the yellow mount set. The numbering and images are identical, from #300-#324 for a complete set of 25 views (not all views have been recorded). Some of the views contain hand-written titles rather than the reverse title stamp. Most, if not all of the Yellowstone images were originally photographed by Joshua Crissman. Lovejoy and Foster re-issued Crissman's stereoviews after 1883.

Biographical History

Henry Bird (Byrd) Calfee (1847-1912), commonly known as "Bird" was photographer in the Western United States. In the early 1870s, he formed a partnership with Nelson Catlin where they created stereo-views of what was to become Yellowstone National Park.

Henry Bird Calfee "came to the Montana territory in 1870 and visited Yellowstone" in 1871. Since then, from either 1871 or 1872 to the early 1880s, he spent each summer at the park taking pictures, in which he accumulated at least 295 photographs. During the 1870s, he formed a partnership with Nelson (Nelse) Catlin, of which most of the photographs were taken. He and Catlin maintained an active presence in Yellowstone. Their stereographs indicate they helped name several geographic features, and interacted with many migrating parties. During 1881-1882, Calfee gave lecture tours with W. W. Wylie to promote Yellowstone Park, and his photos were included in Wylies 1882 guidebook, titled "Yellowstone National Park, [or] The Great American Wonderland." Calfee focused on geysers and sold them to visitors.

These were organized into at least two series: The first series was printed on green mounts. 275 of these green mount photos are were called "The Enchanted Land or Wonders of the Yellowstone National Park." Another set was mounted on brown paper, and entitled "Views of Wonderland." The second series was mounted onto yellow paper and was still called "Views of Wonderland, or Yellowstone National Park." Finally, there is a set that was mounted on orange paper.

Biographical History

The following William I. Marshall biography was taken from Lee H. Whittlesey's article, "Everyone Can Understand a Picture": Photographers and the Promotion of Early Yellowstone. It appeared in Montana, The Magazine of Western History, Summer 1999 issue.

William Isaac Marshall (1840-1906) must have been a fascinating character, and the photos he sold and otherwise distributed in the 1870s have a lot to say about early Yellowstone Park. Although he was technically not a photographer, he is included here because he purchased the large Yellowstone and Montana photo collection of Joshua Crissman and sold those pictures under his own copyright. By his own admission he arrived in Montana Territory in July, 1866 (he appears in the Virginia City census for 1870), and resided at Virginia City through October, 1875. He joined the stampede to that town for gold, and the Hayden survey party met him there in 1871, where he was working on a mining claim.

Marshall stated that he visited Yellowstone with his family in 1873 and 1875, bragging that he took the first children ever (two of his own and one other of a co-traveler) through the park. As mentioned, he sold Crissman stereoviews of Yellowstone. These views, which were titled simply "The National Park," reached at least to number 122 in his series, and we know from existing images that there were at least that many in the series. He advertised and sold these views to teachers, clergymen, and others at his lectures on Yellowstone and by mail as promoted through articles he wrote about the park for National Education Association Proceedings. In 1879, Marshall proposed to begin conducting commercial tours of Yellowstone, and he did bring at least one such group into the Park.

From this it is apparent that Marshall planned to take a number of tour groups to Yellowstone. However, best evidence is that he made only four trips to the park: in 1873, 1875, 1881, and 1882. From descriptions of Marshall ("highly educated, a fluent talker"), we can also deduce that he was an excellent speaker. Marshall sold his stereos for three dollars per dozen and his eight-by-ten photos for seventy-five cents each. He bragged that they had received awards at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

Marshall, important here not only for the Crissman photos he sold but also as one of Yellowstone’s earliest tour guides, was later an educator in the east, and he was often referred to as "Professor" in various mentions of him. The National Union Catalogue shows that he published several books on Oregon and educational subjects. After 1875, he moved back to Fitchburg, Massachusetts, for his stereo views had the name of that place stamped on them with the copyright date of 1876, and his published articles gave that place as his residence. In 1887, he moved to Chicago where he became principal of the Gladstone School. He apparently remained interested in Yellowstone for the rest of his life, because as late as 1902, he visited the park and was given a permit to collect geological specimens. He sent a book manuscript in 1904 to Park Superintendent John Pitcher for comments, and that book was subsequently published. And he gave more than two hundred lectures to various educational associations on Yellowstone, Yosemite, and mining.


2 boxes (1 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Paul Rubinstein began collecting and selling stereoviews as a direct result of research he was doing on his Yellowstone waterfall book. He soon turned this "hobby" into a full time business in May of 2002. He is currently one of the largest online stereoview dealers in the world.

The William Isaac Marshall stereoview collection was culled over a period of 15 years, beginning with Paul's earliest Yellowstone acquisitions in the late 1990s. A large portion of the cards in this group (at least 40+) came from Frank Armstrong of Portland, Oregon. Armstrong, who grew up in Ennis, Montana, inherited his portion of this group from his grandmother. Armstrong was born in 1960 when his mother's parents were in there middle 70’s. They retired from the restaurant business in 1950.


Yellowstone National Park collection development policy.


Joshua Crissman made these original Yellowstone stereoview negatives in the summers of 1871 and 1872. In 1874, as Crissman was leaving Bozeman, Montana, he sold all 122 of his Yellowstone negatives to William Isaac Marshall. Marshall in 1876 used Crissman's negatives to create his Yellowstone stereoviews, published in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Lovejoy and Foster also used Crissman's Yellowstone negatives to produce their Yellowstone stereoview series.

Register of Paul Rubinstein collection of Yellowstone stereoviews
In Progress
Megan Thompson Hall
2017 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States