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George Fiske Photograph Album of the Yosemite Valley

Identifier: PICT-2013-008

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 1 album containing 21 photographs of the Yosemite Valley by George Fiske. Images/views include Yosemite Valley, Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite Falls, Merced River, El Capitan, Mt. Watkins, Sentinel Rock, The Domes, Three Brothers, Mariposa Grove, Wawona Hotel, Bernards Hotel, yellow pines, big trees.


  • circa 1885

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


George Fiske, born October 22, 1835, in Amherst, New Hampshire, grew up on the family's farm. In 1858, at the age of 22, he moved west to California, where he worked as a banking clerk for his half-brother Thomas Fiske. Located in the same building as the bank was the Vance & Weed Photographic Gallery, managed by Charles Leander Weed, who became known as Yosemite’s first photographer.

Fiske listed himself as a photographer in the 1864 San Francisco city directory. In 1868, he became an assistant to Carleton Emmons Watkins, an established landscape photographer who had journeyed into the Yosemite Valley several times and made his living selling photographs in his Yo-Semite Gallery in San Francisco. 1869-1873 saw Fiske employed as a photographer for Thomas Houseworth & Co., where he spent time photographing the Yosemite Valley. He returned to work for Watkins in 1874, but the following year, Watkins went bankrupt. Fiske moved to the Yosemite Valley in 1879, becoming its first year-round resident photographer. Discouraged about business, a sad, lonely, and worn out man with extreme pain from a brain tumor, Fiske committed suicide on October 20, 1918.

Most of Fiske’s negatives were destroyed when his house and studio burned in 1904. The remainder of his negatives, acquired after his death by the Yosemite Park Company, were stored in their sawmill attic, which burned in 1943. What remains of Fiske’s work are albums owned by families and held by libraries.

Source: George Fiske Yosemite Photographer, by Paul Hickman and Terence Pitts, 1980.


21 items (1 box) : 1 album with 21 photographic prints

Language of Materials



Collection consists of 1 album containing 21 photographs/views of the Yosemite Valley by George Fiske.

Physical Location

B2. Filed with Pictorial Collections
Finding Aid of the George Fiske Photograph Album of the Yosemite Valley, circa 1885
Edited Full Draft
B. Silbergleit
© 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131