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William Henry Jackson Photochrom Collection

Identifier: PICT-2013-012

Scope and Content

The William Henry Jackson Photochrom Collection contains 187 mostly photochrom prints of Colorado, New Mexico, California, Utah, other states, and Mexican scenes. Photochrom (also known as Fotochrom, Photochrome, or the Aäc process) is a process for producing colorized images from black-and-white negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. The process is a photographic variant of chromolithography. A small number of the prints are black and white. Prints appear in three sizes: 4.5 x 6.5 inches, 3.5 x 7 inches, and 7 x 9 inches.


  • 1893-1906

Access Restrictions

The collection is available for research.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.

Biographical Information

William Henry Jackson was born in Keeseville, New York in 1843. He began selling his drawings and retouching photographs at an early age and, after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, Jackson opened his own photography studio with his brother Edward in 1867. Jackson spent less than three years at his new studio, however, before leaving it in the care of his wife and two of his brothers while he headed West, photographing landscapes, railroads, railroad workers, and many new settlements. In 1870, Professor Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden invited Jackson to join the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey expedition. For the next 8 years (1870-78), Jackson took thousands of photographs and many stereograph images of the West, particularly in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. During this time, Jackson produced the first published photographs of the Yellowstone area. His work played an important role in persuading Congress to name Yellowstone the first national park in the United States in 1872.

In 1879, funding for Survey expedition ended and Jackson again opened his own studio in Denver, Colorado. There he continued photographing the West, taking on many side projects photographing for hotels and railroad companies like the Mexican Central, New York Central, and the Baltimore Ohio. In 1893 many of these photographs were displayed at the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. Moreover, Jackson was asked to be the official photographer of the fair, a job he desperately needed after losses during the Panic of 1893. Soon thereafter, Jackson was offered an all-expenses paid trip around the world by railroad publicist Joseph Pangborn as part of the World's Transportation Commission. Jackson traveled to and photographed many parts of Europe, Asia, North Africa, and Australia.

Jackson returned from his trip in 1896 and in 1897 he became a partner in the Detroit Photographic Company. There he began to experiment with color photography, thanks to the recently developed Photochrom processing. Thousands of postcards and prints were issued by the company, now that they were able to colorize Jackson' new and old negatives. In 1924, due to the decline in postcard sales after WWI and the expense of the Photocrom process, the Detroit Photographic Company went out of business and Jackson went into retirement.

Jackson wrote two autobiographies after he retired. The first, published in 1929, was entitled The Pioneer Photographer: Rocky Mountain Adventures with a Camera. Jackson's second autobiography, Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William Henry Jackson, was published in 1940. Jackson died in New York City at the age of 99 in 1942.

(Biographical information provided by the University of Chicago Library Special Collections Research Center.)


187 items (1 box) : 187 photochrom prints ; prints: 4.5 x 6.5 in., 3.5 x 7 in., 7 x 9 in.

Language of Materials



Colorized prints featuring natural and built subjects in Colorado, New Mexico, California, Utah, Mexico, and other North American locales.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged geographically into 8 folders.

Physical Location

B2. Shelved by Pictorial Number.

Books by Jackson in the Center for Southwest Research

The Pioneer Photographer: Rocky Mountain Adventures with a Camera, F594.J16

Time Exposure: The Autobiography of William Henry Jackson, TR140 J27 A9

Processing Information

The original collection of 154 prints was received as a donation in 2013.

A second donation of 33 prints was received in 2015 and processed in 2018.
Finding Aid of the William Henry Jackson Photochrom Collection, 1893-1906
Edited Full Draft
Eileen Hogan
© 2018
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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