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William H. Jackson

William Henry Jackson was born in Keesville, New York in 1843. He was an important artist, illustrator, and landscape photographer who was a major contributor to western expeditions in the 1870s. He died in 1942.

Jackson initially worked as a photographer's assistant who hand-colored photographs. During the Civil War, he was a map maker. From 1820 to 1879, he was a member of the Ferdinand Hayden survey of territories team serving as official photographer along with Thomas Moran, who was the official survey artist.

From 1871 to 1872, he made the photographs that were used to promote the creation of Yellowstone as a national park.

Biography adapted from Artists of Utah.

Even more heroic than Jack Hiller's work were the picture-taking efforts of Jackson. Responsible for photographs of the Yellowstone region in 1871-72 that would be used effectively to promote the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Jackson, who had begun his picture-taking career in 1868 in Omaha, was destined to become the chief expeditionary photographer in the country. He returned year after year, in the summer months, to the Rockies and the West to create a monumental visual record of the area. For instance, packing a 20 x 24-inch camera into the Rocky Mountains in 1875, Jackson had to coat a nearly two-foot-square glass plate every time he set up his picture-taking equipment. He took his first successful western negative at Lake Cristobal, Colorado, a feat that typically took three days to accomplish.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.


Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

 Last Modified 6/20/18