William Henry Jackson Collection

This large collection contains images in several formats, including:

  • 7855 Detroit Publishing Company glass plate negatives ranging in size from 5x7 to 18x22 inches, plus copy prints made directly from the original glass negatives
  • 860 vintage albumen prints
  • 230 stereographs
  • 40 chromolithographs
  • 72 albums containing roughly 4000 prints
  • 200 Hayden Survey prints and stereographs
  • 35 panoramas
  • 375+ Detroit Photographic Company postcards
  • 50 biographical prints of Jackson and his family
  • Supporting materials in MSS 341 (William Henry Jackson) and MSS 1643 (Elwood P. Bonney)

Collection Indexes

Indexes to the Detroit Publishing Company glass plate negative collection are available in the Hart Research Library. The indexes are arranged by subject. One index lists Colorado images and general subjects; the other index lists images taken outside Colorado. Many Jackson images are available to view online.

About William Henry Jackson

William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) is one of the best known photographers of the American West. First as a photographer in Nebraska in the 1860s, and later as a government photographer during the F.V. Hayden expeditions of the 1870s, Jackson built a reputation for western views. Jackson came to Colorado at the apex of his career in 1873 with the Hayden expedition. From that time until the close of his active commercial photographic career in 1902, Jackson was closely associated with Colorado.

In 1879, Jackson left the Hayden Survey and chose Denver as his new home. Jackson and his family remained in Denver for the next twenty years. From his studio located successively at 413 Larimer St., 1609 Arapahoe St., and 433 West Colfax Ave., Jackson traveled during the summer to every corner of Colorado and to every western state.

In 1897, Jackson became a director of the Detroit Publishing Company in a venture to publish color prints from negatives by Jackson and other photographers. Jackson and his family settled in Detroit in 1898. The company used a photolithographic process to reproduce Jackson's black and white negatives in something approximating natural color. History Colorado holds many of these 'chromolithographs.'

After retiring from Detroit Publishing Company in 1924, Jackson moved to Washington, D.C., where he wrote and painted. In 1929, Jackson moved to New York City to become the research director of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association. The National Park Service contracted with him in 1935 to paint four murals for the Interior Department Building. Jackson died in New York in June 1942 of complications following a hip fracture. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.