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Collection of Yellowstone National Park stereographs

Identifier: MSS 9007

Scope and Contents

Contains 36 Yellowstone National Park black and white stereographs, with a few duplicates of varying quality. The dates range from 1871 to 1910. The stereographs were produced by several photographers, the main contributors being Joshua Crissman, Henry Bird Calfee, and the Nelson (Nelse) partnership.


  • approximately 1871-1910


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Access

Condition restricted. Items kept in cold storage; access requires 24 hours advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical History

Nelson Catlin was born circa 1848 in New York. Little is known of him except that his name appears on many Calfee stereographs. These were printed with the squib "Calfee and Catlin" and were part of the series known as "Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone Park." The partnership was in force during the 1880s in the Bozeman, Montana Territory. The stereographs in this series number 148. Like those of Henry Bird Calfee and Joshua Crissman, Catlin stereographs represent treasures of early Yellowstone days. It is not known whether or not Catlin produced any views bearing his own name alone.

Biographical History

Henry Bird Calfee was born in May 1847 in Kentucky to Henry Calfee and Margaret E. Cannon. He came to the Montana territory in 1870 and visited Yellowstone in 1871. Since then, from circa 1871 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 Catlin, of which most of the photographs were taken. They ran a photographic business from Bozeman, Montana. Calfee began photographing Yellowstone between 1871 to 1874. 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 Wylie's 1882 guidebook, titled "Yellowstone National Park, or The Great American Wonderland." Calfee focused on geysers and sold them to visitors. He married Kate Latus in Missoula County, Montana on June 13, 1885. He died on February 19, 1912 in Bozeman, Gallatin, Montana.

Biographical History

Joshua Crissman was born July 29, 1833 in Madison, Ohio. He probably began taking photographs during the Civil War, and moved to the Western United States circa 1868. He moved around Wyoming and Utah taking pictures, and he settled in Bozeman, Montana in 1871, where he was involved with William Henry Jackson in taking photos for the Hayden expedition of Yellowstone country. The stereoviews produced during this expedition, and Crissman's willingness to sell them to individuals and companies for publication, helped make him a popular photographer. After the scientific expedition, Crissman continued photographing Yellowstone's geysers, springs, and tourist attractions until the summer of 1874. His stereograph series, from 1871-1874, are called the "Views of Yellowstone National Park." Around 1874 he again moved around the western United States and continued to operate photography companies until his death in 1922.

Biographical History

Carleton Watkins was born on 11 November 1829 to John and Julia Watkins in Oneonta, New York. He moved to San Francisco with Collis Huntington in 1851 in hopes of finding gold. In San Francisco, he met Robert Vance and began working in his photography studio. He began his own photography business in 1858. He became famous for his many photographs of Yosemite throughout his career. He married Frances Sneed in 1878 and had two children: a daughter, Julia, in 1881 and a son, Collis, in 1883. He began to lose his sight in the 1890s and was thereafter unable to continue his work. He died in 1916.

Biographical History

John H. Fouch was born on July 9, 1849 in either Morgan county or Kenton, Harden County Ohio. He was the youngest of six children, and his father deserted the family when he was eight months old. His mother eventually remarried. John Fouch was too young to fight in the Civil War, but one of his brothers and biological father were killed in the War.

By age 19, he lived in Minnesota by Lake Minnetonka, where he owned a photo studio. While there, he married Jane C. Tennis. However, she gave birth to a still born son, and died two days later. In 1883, Fouch married Celeste Read, and they had six children. One died in childbirth, but the rest are recorded in photographs taken by Fouch.

After the death of his first wife, Fouch moved to the Montana Territory at the Contonment Tongue River (For Keogh), where he owned a studio in 1877. He photographed Chief Joseph after he surrendered in at Fort Keogh, and was also the first to capture the Custer Battlefield and Custer's Crow scout. In 1878, he visited Yellowstone and took 16 photographs that were included in the "Stereoscopic Views of the Yellowstone Country." In 1879 he moved back to his home in Minnesota, where he reproduced the photos in the "Artistic Views of the Yellowstone Country and Yellowstone National Park, Series of 1876, 1877, and 1878." Most of the Yellowstone photos came from the summer of 1878. Fouch died August 7, 1933 in Glendale, California.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Purchased by the L. Tom Perry Special Collections from Paul Rubinstein, Yellowstone author, 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased; Paul Rubinstein; March 13, 2017.


Utah and Western American cultural, family, social, intellectual, and religious history (19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, V.v.4, November 14, 2013).

Processing Information

Processed; Paul Wilcox; 2017.

Register of Collection of Yellowstone National Park stereographs
In Progress
Paul Wilcox
2017 June 19
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