American Landscape Photographer’s Contribution to the Detroit Publishing Co.

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The Story Behind William Jackson & the Detroit Publishing Co.

Today we're going to bring you another batch of truly fascinating images, this time between the 19th and 20th Centuries – some of which have been carefully converted to color using the  Swiss Photochrom process.

Detroit Photographic Company was a firm launched in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher.

The company focussed mostly on photographic publishing and had works of famous photographers copyrighted and sold.

Detroit obtained exclusive rights to use the “Swiss Photochrom” process for converting black and white photographs into color images, and printed them using photolithography. These were then sold as colour postcards, prints and albums in the American Market.

Here are some images processed using the photochrom process.

Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Title: Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12005, p. 4 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Arch Rock, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Title: Arch Rock, Mackinac Island, Michigan; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1899. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-6399 (color film copy slide) Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12004, p. 13 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
A Northern autumn
Title: A Northern autumn; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1898. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12004, p. 19 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Indians fishing at the Soo
Title: Indians fishing at the “Soo”; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1901. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-10207 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-131139 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12004, p. 9 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.
Arch Rock, Presque Isle [Park], Lake Superior
Title: Arch Rock, Presque Isle [Park], Lake Superior; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1898. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12004, p. 18 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Trinity Church, Boston
Title: Trinity Church, Boston; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12003, p. 9 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
The Beach at Old Orchard, Maine
Title: The Beach at Old Orchard, Maine; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12003, p. 3 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Athenaeum Hotel, Chautauqua, New York
Title: Athenaeum Hotel, Chautauqua, New York; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1898. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 39 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Niagara, Whirlpool Rapids, looking down
Title: Niagara, Whirlpool Rapids, looking down; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1898. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 27 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
A Lake view in Central Park, New York
Title: A Lake view in Central Park, New York; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1901. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 16 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara
Title: Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 14 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Light house and Fort Ontario, Oswego
Title: Light house and Fort Ontario, Oswego; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 13 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Across the river, Oswego
Title: Across the river, Oswego; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 13 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
The Drive, Poagshole, Dansville, NY
Title: The Drive, Poagshole, Dansville, N.Y.; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 11 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Niagara, Queenstown [i.e., Queenston] Heights from Lewiston
Title: Niagara, Queenstown [i.e., Queenston] Heights from Lewiston; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 8 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
The American Fall and Rock of Ages
Title: The American Fall and Rock of Ages; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 5 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Niagara, general view from Cave of the Winds
Title: Niagara, general view from Cave of the Winds; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12006, p. 2 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Some Background Knowledge

In late 1897, Livingstone from the Detroit company contacted the American landscape photographer William Henry Jackson and convinced him to join the firm.

William Jackson became the president of the Detroit Publishing Company in 1898 and as a result, thousands of negatives produced by Jackson were added to the company’s collection.

Jackson’s negatives also became the basis for the Company's postcard and photographic business. These photographs of William Jackson's included images of cityscapes, towns, most prominent buildings, railroad lines, resorts, etc.

We're excited to show you a collection of Jackson’s images that were processed using photochrom.

The tree of Noche Triste, Popotla
Title: The tree of Noche Triste, Popotla; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 25 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexico, view from bridge, Orizaba
Title: Mexico, view from bridge, Orizaba; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 24 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexico, view showing Cathedral Lagos
Title: Mexico, view showing Cathedral Lagos; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 23 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexico, Popocatapetl [sic] from Amecameca
Title: Mexico, Popocatapetl [sic] from Amecameca; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 22 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexico, the Castle of Chapultepec
Title: Mexico, the Castle of Chapultepec; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-138186 (b&w film copy neg. of top and bottom); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 21 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
The Pool, Aguas Calientes
Title: The Pool, Aguas Calientes; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-138186 (b&w film copy neg. of top and bottom); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 21 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexican carreta, Chihuahua
Title: Mexican carreta, Chihuahua; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-138187 (b&w film copy neg. of top and bottom); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 20 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Canal de la Viga, City of Mexico
Title: Canal de la Viga, City of Mexico; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 17 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
The cathedral, City of Mexico
Title: The cathedral, City of Mexico; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1884 and 1900]; Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 16 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Restos del U.S.S. Maine, Habana
Title: Restos del U.S.S. Maine, Habana; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Summary: Wreck of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-3933 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-128771 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 15 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Castillo del Morro, Habana
Title: Castillo del Morro, Habana; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 12 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Muello del Gobierno, Habana
Title: Muello del Gobierno, Habana; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 11 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Un Mulo de la Habana
Title: Un Mulo de la Habana; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 8 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
El Templete, Habana
Title: El “Templete,” Habana; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 5 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
La catedral, Habana
Title: La catedral, Habana; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher ; Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant; Date Created/Published: c1900. Medium: 1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color. Reproduction Number: — Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12007, p. 4 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Of all the photographers who contributed to the Detroit Publishing Co, William Jackson was the best known.

The Life of William Jackson

William Henry Jackson was born in 1843 in Keeseville, New York, and was the most renowned photographer represented in the Detroit company. Jackson was a very skillful and talented painter by the age of 18 and equally a talented artist for the visual arts of the American Pre-Civil War.

[William Henry Jackson (right) with his mother, Harriet Jackson (left), his son Clarence S. Jackson and young son Billy (center) in a family portrait]
Title: [William Henry Jackson (right) with his mother, Harriet Jackson (left), his son Clarence S. Jackson and young son Billy (center) in a family portrait]; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1910]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a27368 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-21177 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

William Jackson joined the Union Army in 1862 and spent most of his free time drawing and sketching scenes of Army camp life that he sent home for his family. He also served in the American Civil War including one major battle, the Battle of Gettysburg.

William Jackson’s Career as a Photographer

In 1867, William Jackson along with his brother Edward Jackson settled down in Omaha, Nebraska, where he opened a photography studio. In 1869, he was commissioned by the Union Pacific, to document railroad routes for promotional purposes.

Looking at Jackson’s work, Ferdinand Hayden who was organizing a geologic survey to explore the Yellowstone river region, requested Jackson to join the expedition.

In 1870, Jackson was invited to join the U.S. government survey of the Yellowstone river and Rocky Mountains under the leadership of Hayden.

Between 1870 to 1878, Jackson began photographing the Yellowstone area and Colorado for Francis V. Hayden's Geological and Geographic Survey of the Territories.

His photographs played an important role that led to the establishment of the early National parks.

1871 Hayden Survey at Mirror Lake en route to East Fork of the Yellowstone River
Description: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Survey party, with pack train, en route upon the trail between the Yellowstone River and East Fork, showing the manner in which all parties traverse these wilds. 1871.U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (Hayden Survey). Photo by Jackson, W.H.; Date: 1871; Source: USGS Photographic Library, http://libraryphoto.cr.usgs.gov/index.html; Author: William Henry Jackson; Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHayden_PackTrain_1871_jwh00114.jpg; File URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/Hayden_PackTrain_1871_jwh00114.jpg; Attribution: By William Henry Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1871 Photo of Lower Yellowstone Falls by William Henry Jackson
Description: Photo of Lower Yellowstone Falls by William Henry Jackson, 1871 taken during the Hayden Expedition to Yellowstone in 1871; Date: 1871; Source: Library of Congress Photo Collections (LC-USZ62-16709 DLC); Author :William Henry Jackson (1843–1942); Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALowerFallsJackson1871.jpg; File URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/LowerFallsJackson1871.jpg; Attribution: William Henry Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Ponce de Leon, Alcazar, and Cordova [hotels]
Title: The Ponce de Leon, Alcazar, and Cordova [hotels]; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03454 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-3509 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
True lovers of the muse
Title: True lovers of the muse; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant ; Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: c1902. Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-D401-9117 (b&w film copy neg.) LC-DIG-det-4a05611 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-9117 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Interior of cave, El Abra, Mexico
Title: Interior of cave, El Abra, Mexico; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03890 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-4151 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Wilmington High Fall, upper falls, Adirondack Mountains
Title: Wilmington High Fall, upper falls, Adirondack Mountains; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant ; Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [c1902]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a09847 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-14826 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexico, street scenes, cargadores
Title: Mexico, street scenes, cargadores; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 8 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a27171 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-8557 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Mexico, the 5th of May in the Plaza de Armas
Title: Mexico, the 5th of May in the Plaza de Armas; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 8 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a27163 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-8540 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Hacienda Temasopa [sic]
Title: Hacienda Temasopa [sic]; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a27069 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-8385 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Ponce de Leon [Hotel]
Title: Ponce de Leon [Hotel]; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 8 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a26940 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-7907 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
View from the Cerro Estrella
Title: View from the Cerro Estrella; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a26892 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-6457 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Capitol, Washington, D.C
Title: Capitol, Washington, D.C., The; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03943 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-4402 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Parroquia of Guanajuato
Title: Parroquia of Guanajuato, The; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03690 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-3909 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Day's fishing, Palm Beach, Fla
Title: Day's fishing, Palm Beach, Fla.; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant ; Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: c1894. Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03617 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-3715 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Picking cotton
Title: Picking cotton; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a27018 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-8148 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Lavanderas, City of Mexico
Title: Lavanderas, City of Mexico; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 transparency : glass ; 5 x 8 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a31416 (digital file from original) LC-USZ62-137427 (digital file from b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-8553 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Deep Creek, Fla
Title: Deep Creek, Fla.; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1890 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a05356 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-7968 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Cathedral Park near Clyde, Colorado
Title: Cathedral Park near Clyde, Colorado; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [ca. 1900]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a09159 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-13783 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Woman near flowering shrub at Magnolia Gardens, Charleston, S.C
Title: [Woman near flowering shrub at Magnolia Gardens, Charleston, S.C.]; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1895 and 1910]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a16703 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-32495 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Adirondack mountain wildflowers
Title: Adirondack mountain wildflowers; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [1902?]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a09906 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-14892 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Sapphire Lake, Sapphire, N.C
Title: Sapphire Lake, Sapphire, N.C.; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [1902?]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a09553 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-14356 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Lake Placid from Eagle's Eyrie, Adirondack Mountains
Title: Lake Placid from Eagle's Eyrie, Adirondack Mountains; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1901 and 1906]; Medium: 2 negatives : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a06493 (digital file from original) LC-DIG-det-4a06494 (digital file from original) LC-DIG-det-4a29171 (digital file from b&w glass transparency, LC-D4-10692C) LC-DIG-det-4a29170 (digital file from b&w glass transparency, LC-D4-10692R); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-10692 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Queen's staircase, Nassau, Bahama Islds
Title: Queen's staircase, Nassau, Bahama Islds.; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant ; Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: c1901. Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a08897 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-13469 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Jackson used different cameras and plate sizes to do his job and often worked under very difficult conditions. He mostly used the collodion process.

He travelled with cameras and huge / heavy glass plates which had to be coated, exposed, and developed onsite, before the wet-collodion emulsion dried.

The photographer's assistants
Title: The photographer's assistants; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [1873?]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 8 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a26901 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-7173 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Jackson guessed exposure times depending on light conditions as he did not have any light metering equipment or idea of emulsion speeds.

According to sources:

Preparing, exposing, developing, fixing, washing and then drying a single image could take the better part of an hour. Washing the plates in 160 °F hot spring water cut the drying time by more than half, while using water from snow melted and warmed in his hands slowed down the processing substantially.

His photographic division of 5 to 7 men carried photographic equipment on the backs of mules and rifles on their shoulders. Jackson's life experience (for example his military service, and his peaceful dealings with Indians) was welcomed.

The weight of the glass plates and the portable darkroom limited the number of possible exposures on any one trip, and these images were taken in primitive, roadless, and physically challenging conditions.

Once when the mule lost its footing, Jackson lost a month's work, having to return to untracked Rocky Mountain landscapes to remake the pictures, one of which was his celebrated view of the Mount of the Holy Cross.”

Despite the above difficulties, he took back impressive photographs of the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone region, Colorado’s Rockies and many more.

In 1879, Jackson opened a photography studio in Denver. Between 1890 and 1892, he photographed for various railroad lines that included the Mexican Central, Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central. These were done using 18×22-inch glass plate negatives.

Tunnel 3, Temasopa [sic] Canon
Title: Tunnel 3, Temasopa [sic] Canon; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03852 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-4106 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Old Acqueduct, Queretaro
Title: Old Acqueduct, Queretaro; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03442 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-3158 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Poughkeepsie Station
Title: Poughkeepsie Station; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03782 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-4014 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Crossing South Branch
Title: Crossing South Branch; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [1892?]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 18 x 22 in. Reproduction Number: LC-D43-T01-1745 (b&w film dup. neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D43-1745 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Encarnacion bridge
Title: Encarnacion bridge; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 8 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a27121 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D418-8469 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Four trains passing Little Falls
Title: Four trains passing Little Falls; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: c1890. Medium: 1 photographic print mounted on mat board : albumen ; image 43 x 53.7 cm. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-126106 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LOT 12697, no. 10 (H) <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Tunnel 8, Temasopa [sic] Canon
Title: Tunnel 8, Temasopa [sic] Canon; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-D401-4107 (b&w film copy neg.) LC-DIG-det-4a03853 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-4107 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Near view, Tunnel 7, Temasopa [sic] Canon
Title: Near view, Tunnel 7, Temasopa [sic] Canon; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher; Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]; Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a03856 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-4111 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

In 1898, the Spanish American war sparked an interest in the Americans and as a result, the Detroit inventory expanded to include photographs of Cuba, war scenes and images of warships.

The company that was known as Detroit Photographic Co. until 1905 became known as the Detroit Publishing Company from then on. William Jackson became the plant manager in 1903 and his new role did not allow him time for travel and photography.

Eventually, the sale of photographs declined during World War I as there were other firms that were printing at a cheaper rate. William Jackson left the firm in 1924 as the increase in competition in the market eventually led the company to receivership in 1924 and its assets were liquidated in 1932.

Jackson’s photographic collections are now found in the Library of Congress that includes more than 25,000 glass negatives and transparencies along with some 300 color photolithograph prints, mostly of the eastern United States.

There are also about 900 Mammoth Plate photographs that were taken along the railroad lines in the US and Mexico.

Entrance pavilion, Library of Congress, Washington
Title: Entrance pavilion, Library of Congress, Washington; Creator(s): Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942, photographer; Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , copyright claimant ; Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher' Date Created/Published: c1902. Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-det-4a09423 (digital file from original); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication. Call Number: LC-D4-14220 <P&P> [P&P]; Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

In 1924, Jackson moved to Washington D.C. and produced murals of the Old West for the new U.S. Department of the Interior building. In 1942 he died in New York city and was honored by the Explorer’s Club for his photographs of the American West.

He was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery as he was recognized as one of the last surviving Civil War Veterans. More of William Jackson's works and the Detroit Collection itself can be seen here.

About Author

Dahlia is a stock photographer and full time educator at Light Stalking. You can find her on Gurushots and see some of her more popular articles at The American Society of Media Photographers. Get to know her better here.

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