Geographical Surveys West of the 100th Meridian (U.S.)
Wheeler's geographical survey stereoscopic views
1871-1874 ( inclusive )
1 box, 50 items (0.5 linear ft. )
This collection consists of fifty stereoscopic cards
taken by photographers Timothy H. O'Sullivan and William W. Bell between 1871 and 1874
during the Army Corps of Engineers geographical survey led by Lieutenant George Montague
Wheeler. The views in this collection consist of geological formations (including some
of the first images of the Grand Canyon); members of the Zuni, Mojave, Navajo, Apache,
and Ute tribes; scenic views; and ancient puebloan ruins.
Utah State University. Merrill-Cazier Library.
Special Collections and Archives Photograph Collection
Merrill-Cazier Library Utah State University 3000 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-3000 Phone: 435 797-2663 Fax: 435 797-2880 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Collection materials are in English.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant,
The Geographical Survey was led by Lieutenant George Montague Wheeler and traveled
throughout the mountains, plains, and deserts in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona,
Idaho and New Mexico. The purpose of these expeditions was to create maps and gain
information that would be useful for future military operations, for the establishment
of roads, and for potential railways. In addition, the survey was to catalog natural
resources and record the location and population of the Indian tribes. Bell and
O'Sullivan went on the survey not only to provide a visual record of the exploration,
but also to give Wheeler an important public relations tool. Every year from 1871 to
1874 fifty images were selected from the various stereographic negatives taken that year
and distributed to members of Congress. The set of stereographs in this collection was a
compilation of views that was distributed in 1875.
Timothy H. O'Sullivan was born in 1840 either in Ireland or
New York City. He spent his early life on Staten Island, New York and at a young age he
was apprenticed to Matthew Brady in his Fulton Street Gallery. In 1861 he joined Brady's Photographic Corps managed by Alexander Gardner in
Washington D.C. as a field photographer. Gardner and O'Sullivan became disgruntled with
Brady and in 1863 they left to establish their own independent studio. Immediately
following the Civil War, O'Sullivan and Gardner sold albums consisting of their war
views. In 1867 Clarence King employed O'Sullivan to accompany his survey along the
fortieth parallel in the West. O'Sullivan photographed with King until 1869. In 1870 he
left King and joined Commander T.O. Sulfridge for an expedition to the Isthmus of Darien
in Panama. O'Sullivan found making photographs in the jungle to be quite difficult and
he returned to the West this time in the employ of Lieutenant George Montague Wheeler.
O'Sullivan photographed with the survey team from 1871 to 1875 (although he rejoined
King's survey briefly in 1872). In 1875 he left the West (never to return) for
Washington D.C. He briefly worked for King in 1879 before accepting a position with the
Treasury Department. In 1881 O'Sullivan was forced to resign this position due to a
worsening case of tuberculosis. He died on January 14, 1882 in Staten Island, New York.
William W. Bell (often confused with another photographer Dr.
William A. Bell) was born in Liverpool England in 1830. Many details of his life are not
known, but he began his photographic career in Philadelphia working in his
brother-in-law's studio in 1848. A veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars, Bell was
appointed as chief photographer for the Army Medical Museum in Washington D.C. He later
established his own studio in Philadelphia and in 1872 he temporarily replaced
O'Sullivan in Wheeler's Geographical Survey. Bell, unlike most expeditionary
photographers, spent his time attempting to perfect the new dry-plate process. He
exposed full-plate and stereoscopic views of Kanab Canyon, Fern Springs, Marble Gorge
and the Toroweep Valley, to name a few. Later he photographed for the Pennsylvania
Railroad and on an expedition to Patagonia. He passed away in Philadelphia in 1910.
George Montague Wheeler (1842-1905) graduated from West Point
in 1866. Wheeler was a surveyor in the Southwest until 1871 when he was put in charge of
his own expedition. In 1872 his survey expanded in an effort to produce a usable
overall map of the West. He lead several field surveys until 1879 when his
appropriations were discontinued. Although he published numerous reports, his big map
remained unfinished. He was on sick leave from 1880 to 1884 and he retired in 1888 due
to ill health at the rank of Major. He died in New York City on May 3 1905.
Photograph Collection P0325 consist of fifty stereoscopic cards taken by photographers
Timothy H. O'Sullivan and William W. Bell between 1871 and 1874 during the Army Corps of
Engineers geographical survey. The views in this collection show geological formations
(including some of the first images of the Grand Canyon), members of the Zuni, Mojave,
Navajo, Apache, and Ute tribes, scenic views, and ancient puebloan ruins.
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access : Restrictions
Open to public research.
Restrictions on Use : Copyright
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of
the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her
transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and
hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents
from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of
Digital surrogates of the Wheeler's Geographical Survey Stereoscopic Views can be view
by visiting the hyper links provided below.
Preferred Citation :
Wheeler's geographical survey stereoscopic views, 1871-1874. (P0325). Utah State
University. Special Collections & Archives Department.
Acquisition Information :
Purchased from Cowan's Historic Americana with funds donated by the Marie Eccles Caine
Processing Note :
The inventory uses the notations (where readable) taken from the verso side of the
stereographs. Register completed by Tonia Lewis, January 2002.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Expedition of 1871 up the Colorado River
(Photographer Timothy O'Sullivan)
1:01: "No.1. The start from Camp Mojave, Arizona,
September 15th, 1871. Boat Expedition under Lieutenant Wheeler, the first and
only one to ascend the Colorado through the Grand Cañon to mouth of Diamond
Creek. Distance travelled [sic], 260 miles in 31 days, the boats often having
to be portaged around rapids and drawn over rocks."
1:02: "No.2. View across Black Cañon. The grand walls
1:03: "No.3. View down Black Cañon, from Mirror Bar.
The walls repeated by reflection."
1:04: "No.4. Grotto Spring, Grand Cañon, Colorado
River. The water flows from the rocks above, and the umbrella-shaped rock about
it is tufa, that has been formed by deposition from the mineral constituents of
the water. The light spot seen through and beyond is the sand-beach of the
river. Looking through this Grotto is seen in the distance the walls of the
Grand Cañon, 3,500 feet in height on either side."
1:05: "No.5. Types of Mojave Indians. This tribe
inhabits the region of the lower Colorado, or western Arizona. Physically they
are the finest specimens in all the west, many of the males attaining the
height of 6 feet."
1:06: "No.6. View of grand Cañon walls, near mouth of
Diamond River. From water line to first shelf 1,500 feet; from shelf to top of
table 3,500 feet. Distance from point of view to top of walls 3
1:07: "No.7. Mountain transportation... mule, Pack and
Expedition of 1872 in the Grand Canyon, Colorado
River and its tributaries (Photographer William Bell)
1:08: "No.8. The Cañon of Kanab Creek, near its
junction with the Grand Cañon of the Colorado. In the foreground is a dripping
spring affording a shower bath. Temperature, 69 Fahr."
1:09: "No.9. 'The Bath' a dripping spring in Kanab
Cañon. Temperature, 69 Fahr."
1:10: "No.10. The mouth of Kanab Creek. The beds of
the Colorado River and its tributary here lie in gorges cut by the running
water to the depth of about 3,500 feet below the general surface of the
country. The highest point seen in the picture is 2,500 feet above the water,
and the walls are here too steep to be scaled."
1:11: "No.11. Mouth of the Paria, Colorado River;
walls 2,100 feet in height."
1:12: "No.12. View in the Grand Cañon of the Colorado
1:13: "No.13. Marble Cañon, one of the gorges of the
Colorado here, 1,200 feet deep. The steep cliff is gray limestone and the slope
below a brilliant red sandstone."
1:14: "No.14. The northern wall of the Grand Cañon of
the Colorado, near the foot of To-ro-weep valley. The rounded rocks of the
foreground are sand-stone."
1:15: "No.15. The 'Vermillion Cliff,' a typical
plateau edge, as seen from Jacobs Pool, Arizona. From its top a plateau
stretches to the right, and from its base another to the left. Their difference
of level is 1,500 feet, and the step is too steep for scaling."
Expedition of 1873 in Arizona and New Mexico
(Photographer Timothy O'Sullivan)
1:16: "No.16. Indian Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico; view
from the interior. The 'Pueblo' or town, encloses a quadrangular area within
which are the ruins of a church built under the direction of the Jesuit
missionaries. The houses are built one above the other to the height of five or
six stories. The entrances are mostly from the top, the ascent and decent being
made by ladders."
1:17: "No. 17. Zuni Indian Girl, with water
1:18: "No. 18. Gardens surrounding the Indian Pueblo
of Zuni, in which are raised a variety of vegetables, such as pepper, onions,
1:19: "No. 19. Group of Zuni Indian 'Braves,' at
their Pueblo, N.M."
1:20: "No. 20. War Chief of the Zuni
1:21: "No.21. Ruins in the Cañon de Chelle, N.M., in a
cavity in the wall, 60 feet above present bed of Cañon. Height of walls about
700 feet. The present race of Indians know nothing of the age of these
buildings or who occupied them. (For details, see forthcoming report of
Lieutenant Wheeler, on Ancient Ruins.)"
1:22: "No.22. Circle Wall, Cañon de Chelle. Here the
Cañon bends from an easterly direction nearly due north, the walls maintaining
a perpendicular height of about 1,200 feet."
1:23: "No.23. Explorers Column, Cañon de Chelle,
Arizona. This ...is the work of nature, and is about 900 feet in height
...about 70 by 110 feet. It stands ...center of the Cañon, and it is almost
...that it is not the work of human hands."
1:24: "No.24. Central portion of Cañon de Chelle, New
Mexico. This Cañon is one of the most remarkable in the west, and is noted for
its beauty. The walls are of Red Sand-stone, nearly perpendicular, and at this
point are 1,200 feet in height."
1:25: "No. 25. Camp Beauty, Cañon de Chelle; walls
1,200 feet high, width of Cañon at this point about one fourth of a mile. This
view shows the peculiar effect wrought by the action of floods. The Artist of
the Expedition, Mr. Wyant, of New York, made a study of this scene with the
intention to paint it as a characteristic Cañon view."
1:26: "No.26. Aboriginal life among the Navajo
Indians, Cañon de Chelle, New Mexico. Squaw weaving blankets. The native loom.
The blankets made are of the best quality, and impervious to
1:27: "No.27. Navajo Indian Squaw, and Child, at
their home, in Cañon de Chelle."
1:28: "No.28. Navajo Boys and Squaw, in front of the
quarters at old Fort Defiance, N.M., now unoccupied by troops. The agency for
the Navajos is located here."
1:29: "No.29. Navajo Brave and his Mother. The Navajos
were formerly a warlike tribe until subdued [?] by U.S. Troops, in 1859-60.
Many of them now have fine flocks, and herds of horses, sheep and
1:30: "No.30. Apache Lake, Summit of Sierra Blanca
Mountains, about 35 miles east from Camp Apache, Arizona, and 10,500 feet above
sea-level. This lake is similar to many found in the western
1:31: "No.31. Coyotero Apache Scouts, at Apache Lake,
Sierra Blanca Mountains, Arizona. Two members of the Expedition in the
1:32: "No.32. Cooley's Ranch, 10 miles east of Camp
Apache, Arizona. A characteristic mountain 'Park' and Apache Indian Farm. Here
the Apaches grow corn, wheat and a few vegetables."
1:33: "No.33. Apache Indians, as they appear ready for
Expedition of 1874 in New Mexico, Colorado, and
Idaho (Photographer Timothy O'Sullivan)
1:34: "No.34. Roman Catholic Church, Plaza of
Guadaloupe, Guadaloupe Co., Colorado. Built not many years since of adobes.
Dimensions, length 120 feet; width 60 feet; height 25 feet. Grave yard in the
foreground surrounded by an adobe wall about 6 feet in height."
1:35: "No.35. Beaver Lake, Conejos Cañon, Colorado,
9,000 feet above sea-level, and 30 miles from mouth of Cañon."
1:36: "No.36. Cañon, Valley of the Conejos River,
looking south from the vicinity of 'Lost Lakes.'"
1:37: "No.37. Lost Lakes, head of Conejos Cañon,
Colorado, in the Sierra San Juan range, near divide between Conejos and south
fork of Alamosa Rivers, surrounded by a forest of Douglass spruce, and
approximately 11,000 feet above sea-level."
1:38: "No.38. One of the group of Pagosa Hot Springs,
showing incrustation on the surface. Much prized by the Indians and miners on
account of supposed healing qualities. Principal mineral element, Sulphate of
1:39: "No.39. Pah-ge, a Ute Squaw, of the Kah-poh-teh
band, Northern New Mexico."
1:40: "No.40. Ute Braves, of the Kah-poh-teh band,
Northern New Mexico, in 'full dress'."
1:41: "No.41. Jicarilla Apache Brave and Squaw,
lately wedded. Abiquiu Agengy, New Mexico."
1:42: "No.42. Shee-zah-nan-tan, Jacarilla Apache Brave
in characteristic costume, Northern New Mexico."
1:43: "No.43. Characteristic ruin, of the Pueblo San
Juan, New Mexico, on the north bank of the San Juan River, about 15 miles west
of the mouth of Cañon Largo. The present race of Indians know nothing of when
or by whom these buildings were constructed. The ruin is about 350 feet square,
and built of natural stone, joined together by a mud cement."
1:44: "No.44. Lagunas Caballo, or Horse Lakes, 14
miles, N. W. from Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico. The water of the lakes is
strongly mineral and not fit for men or animals to drink."
1:45: "No.45. Alpine Lake, in the Cerro Blanco
Mountains, Colorado. One of a group of ten lakes at the main head of Ute Creek.
11,000 feet above sea-level. Cerro Blanco Peak rises 14,269 feet above the sea,
lying to the westward."
1:46: "No.46. Baldy Peak, Cerro Blanco Mountains,
Colorado, 14,234 feet above sea-level. Limit in altitude of vegetation about
1:47: "No.47. Alpine lakes, and mountain scenery, in
the Cerro Blanco Mountains, Colorado, 13,000 feet above sea-level."
1:48: "No.48. Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho,
Main Fall, 210 feet from upper to lower level, width of fall, 800 feet from
upper to lower level; Height of Cañon wall at the falls, 1,000 feet. A number
of minor falls, Islands, and boulder rocks above the main fall add beauty to
the lonely majesty of this scene."
1:49: "No.49. Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho,
looking through the timber, and showing the main fall, and upper [?]
1:50: "No.50. Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho.
Gorge and natural bridge, in the fore-ground."