Guide to the Calfee & Catlin stereographs
circa 1874 - circa 1881

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Overview of the Collection

Photographer: Calfee & Catlin
Title: Calfee & Catlin stereographs
Dates: circa 1874 - circa 1881 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 101 stereographs
Collection Number: ST 002
Summary: Henry Bird Calfee and Nelson Catlin operated a photographic studio in Bozeman, Montana, from the early 1870s through the early 1880s and published hundreds of stereographic views of Yellowstone National Park. This collection consists of 101 stereographs attributed to H. B. Calfee and Calfee & Catlin and includes images of mountains, canyons, geysers and waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park and of Indian people and camps.
Repository: Montana Historical Society Research Center
Photograph Archives

225 N. Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT 59620-1201
(406) 444-4739
photoarchives@mt.gov

Languages: English 

Biographical Note

Henry Bird Calfee was born January 3, 1848 in Arkansas. He came west to Montana in 1867 settled in the Bozeman area. Calfee initially made a living as an artist and later a prospector. By the early 1870s, he had opened a photography business with partner Nelson Catlin. Every summer from around 1874 through 1881, Calfee visited Yellowstone National Park to capture stereographic views of its attractions. He took almost 300 views of the newly established national park, which were sold to eager customers across the United States. Calfee also helped to name many of Yellowstone’s landmarks including Lone Star Geyser, Demon’s Cave, Pulpit Basins and Fairies’ Fall.

From 1881 through 1884, Calfee traveled around the country exhibiting nearly 200 giant views of the park. In these presentations, he used oxy-calcium light to project hand-colored lantern slides of his stereographs. His panorama of the park was entitled “Calfee’s Wonderland” and visited such cities as San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Paul. By 1895, Calfee was living in Missoula; he passed away in 1912.

Little is known about Calfee’s partner, Nelson Catlin. An 1880 census lists a Nelson Catlin living in Bozeman and working as a carpenter. By 1882, he worked as a packer and guide in Yellowstone Park, and in 1886, he applied to Yellowstone National Park to be permitted to erect a stable and corral at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Content Description

This collection consists of 101 stereographic views with the Calfee & Catlin and H. B. Calfee imprints. These images were taken between ca. 1874 and 1881 and include views of Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas, including mountains, canyons, geysers and waterfalls, as well as images of Main Street, Bozeman, Montana, and Indian camps.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use :  

The Montana Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Photograph Archives collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Photograph Archives before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in its collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation :  

Calfee & Catlin stereographs. ST 002.[Item number] Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The stereographs are arranged into series according to their imprints and mounts: Series I. “Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone National Park by Calfee & Catlin,” Series II. “Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone National Park by H. B. Calfee,” Series III. “Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone National Park, illustrated by H. B. Calfee,” Series IV. “The Enchanted Land or Wonders of the Yellowstone National Park, by H. B. Calfee,” and Series V. Untitled, “Illustrated by Catlin & Calfee.” Series I through IV include images of locations throughout Yellowstone Park, while Series V consists primarily of views of Indian camps.

Acquisition Information :  

Acquisition information available upon request.

Processing Note :  

The bulk of the stereographs were accessioned as PAc 83-66; the rest of the stereographs were accessioned as PAc 84-32, PAc 84-33, PAc 87-5, PAc 93-76, PAc 95-52, PAc 97-92, and PAc 2008-86 and combined to form this collection

Additional Reference Guides :  

Spreadsheet list available in reference room.


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following list includes item numbers, original numbers and titles in quotes, and any added information in brackets.

Series I:  "Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone National Park by Calfee & Catlin. Bozeman, Montana, Ter."
Description
001: “No. 7. Cap of Liberty, 47 feet high, Mammoth Springs.” [Now Liberty Cap]
002: “No. 12. Debra Hill, Mammoth Hot Springs.” [Now Mammoth Terraces]
003: “No. 14. Cove Springs, at the Mammoth Hot Springs.”
004: “No. 15. Stairway up Debra Hill, Mammoth Hot Springs.” [Now Mammoth Hot Springs]
005: “No. 19. Main Crater of the Mammoth Hot Springs.”
006: “No. 22. Cone Butte, Mammoth Springs.”
007: “No. 28. Grotto in the Glen, Mammoth Springs.” [Now Orange Spring Mound]
008: “No. 30. General View of Lower Basins, Mammoth Springs.” [At Mammoth Hot Springs]
009: “No. 34. View from Crater Hill, Mammoth Springs.” [Tree covered rock wall (at Mammoth Hot Springs )]
010: “No. 40. Gardner River Falls, 140 Feet.” [Now Osprey Falls]
011: “No. 41. Cascades, North Fork, Gardner River.” [Now Rustic Falls, Glen Creek]
012: “No. 42. A View from Gardner River Falls.” [Large rock on prairie with mountains in background (now Osprey Falls)]
013: “No. 45. Cascade Falls, East Gardner River, 98 feet fall.” [Now Undine Falls]
014: “No. 46. Looking Down Gardner Canyon.” [Probably Glen Creek, above Kingman Pass]
015: “No. 49. Petrified Tree. This old trunk bears evidence of its existence many thousand years ago; it now stands 19 feet high and measures 15 feet in circumference.”
016: “No. 55. Tower Falls, 220 feet high.” [Tower Fall]
017: “No. 58. Great Falls of the Yellowstone, 367 feet fall.” [Now Upper Falls of Yellowstone]
018: “No. 59. Upper Falls of the Yellowstone, 140 feet fall.” [Waterfall and river]
019: “No. 60. Crystal Cascades, 86 feet fall.” [Now Crystal Falls]
020: “No. 61. Yellowstone Rapids, above Upper Falls.”
021: “No. 63. ” [Lake and marsh]
022: “No. 67. Yellowstone Canyon.”
023: “No. 77. Old Faithful in action. Eruption every 64 minutes, and continues from 3 to 8 minutes.”
024: “No. 80. Old Faithful, from the River's Side.”
025: “No. 86. Craters of the Three Joker Geysers. Upper Geyser Basin.”
026: “No. 89. Bee Hive Geyser in action. Eruption…and continues from 5 to 20 minutes…250 feet high.”
027: “No. 92. David's Well, Upper Geyser Basin. This now extinct Geyser has an orifice 180 feet in circumference and goes down to the enormous depth of 400 feet; continually filled with boiling water.”
028: “No. 94. Section of the Crater of Castle Geyser, showing its most minute formation.”
029: “No. 95. Giantist Group of Geysers.”
030: “No. 99. Crater of the Grotto Geyser, continually in a state of eruption.”
031: “No. 100. Fairies' Well, Upper Geyser Basin.” [Now Punchbowl Spring]
032: “No. 103. Group of Grand Geysers.” [View obstructed by tree]
033: “No. 104. Morning View in the Upper Geyser Basin.”
034: “No. 106. Crater of Giant Geyser.” [Two men standing around geyser crater]
035: “No. 107. Fire Hole River, and Crater of Riverside Geyser.”
036: “No. 119. Fairies' Falls, on Specimen Creek: 49 feet high.”
037: “No. 127. Annie's Lake, Pyramid Mountain Reflected.” [Now Buck Lake]
038: “No. 128. A View on Lake Agnes.” [Now Trout Lake]
039: “No. 130. Looking up Soda Creek. Sheep Mountain in the distance.”
040: “No. 134. Hermit Mountain, 1000 feet high. Perpetual Snow Arches. Photographed in August.” [Now Baronett Peaks]
041: “No. 136. Hermit Rocks.” [Now Baronett Peaks]
042: “No. 145. Cascades, Huston Creek.”
043: “No. 146. Mount Huston. 9700 feet high.”
044: “No. 147. Crown Butte. 10,000 feet high. Photographed Aug. 17th.”
045: “No. 149. Fishing in the Park. Two hours' fishing, and three hundred pounds of trout.” [Two men fishing]
046: “No. 151. Monument Rock.”
047: “No. 152. Master Frank and the Stag.” [Man next to dead elk]
048: [Beehive Geyser Cone]
049: “Crater of Old Faithful Geyser.”
050: “Mount Huston. 9700 feet high.” [Crown Butte and Mount Huston]
051: [Mt. Norris and the Thunderer in the northeast corner of Yellowstone Park]
052: [View of the Grand Canyon]
053: “Giant Group of Geysers.”
054: “Fire Hole River and Crater of Fan Geyser.”

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Series II:  "Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone National Park by H. B. Calfee."
Description
055: “No. 5. Crystal Forest, Mammoth Springs.”[Looking south toward Bunsen Peak]
056: “No. 20. Pulpit Basins' Mammoth Springs.”[Man standing at "pulpit" (now Pulpit Terrace)]
057: “No. 34. View from Crater Hill, Mammoth Springs.”[Barren trees, taken from the foot of Pulpit Terrace toward Capitol Hill]
058: “No. 41. Cascades, North Fork, Gardner River.”[Photo taken from right of Cascades]
059: “No. 77. Old Faithful Geyser.”
060: “No. 90. Fountain Geyser.”
061: “No. 97. Crater of Grand Geyser.”
062: “No. 105. Monument Park.”
063: “No. 110. Demon's Cave, Geyser Basin.”
064: “No. 168. Formation of Periodical Lake.”[At Mammoth Hot Springs]
065: “No. 183. Fan Geyser.”
066: “No. 196. Soda Geyser.”[Now Sapphire Pool]
067: “No. 197. Main Crater of Periodical Lake.”[At Mammoth Hot Springs]

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Series III:  "Views of the Wonderland or Yellowstone National Park. Illustrated by H. B. Calfee, Bozeman, Montana Ter."
Description
068: “No. 6. General View of the Mammoth Hot Springs.”[Pulpit Terrace]
069: “No. 93. Crater of the Castle Geyser.”
070: “No. 153. Silver Cascades, Stevens' Creek.”[Now Stephens Creek]
071: “No. 226. Camp in Upper Basin, Yellowstone Park.”[Men at camp near Castle Geyser, advertisements for Calfee's photographs in view.]

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Series IV:  "The Enchanted Land or Wonders of the Yellowstone National Park, by H. B. Calfee"
Description
072: “No. 24. Coral Pools.”[Upper Geyser Basin]
073: “No. 39. Pearl Pools, Mammoth Springs.”
074: “No. 68. Yellowstone Canyon from Big Bend.”
075: “No. 74. Inspiration Point Yellowstone Canyon.”
076: “No. 91. Coral Spring.”
077: “No. 96. Crater of Bee Hive Geyser.”
078: “No. 98. Crater of the Black Sand Geyser.”
079: “No. 101. Crater of Comet Geyser.”[Now Daisy Geyser]
080: “No. 108. Fire Hole Falls.”
081: “No. 109. Crater of Giant Geyser.”[Semi-circle crater and slight steam]
082: “No. 177. Pluto's Terraces.”
083: “No. 203. Snow drift Springs.”
084: “No. 210. Grotto Spring.”
085: “No. 214. Canyon from Lovers Leap.”[At Mammoth Hot Springs]
086: “No. 219. Grotto, Bridge & Ladders, Cascade Creek.”
087: “No. 232. Looking over the Falls.”[River before the falls]
088: “No. 244. Formation in Bottom of Periodical Lake.”[At Mammoth Hot Springs]
089: “No. 275. Pluto's Bath Tub.”
090: [Dead birds hanging from stick]
091: [Group of Indians outside of teepee]

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Series V:  "Illustrated by Calfee & Catlin"
Description
092: “No. 154. Crow Indian Village, at Council Tree, on the Yellowstone River.”
093: “No. 156. Iron Bull's Camp on the Yellowstone.”
094: “No. 158. Little Wolf - War Chief.”[Studio portrait]
095: “No. 161. Interior of an Indian Lodge, or Wigwam.”[Group of people inside teepee (Crow tribe)]
096: “No. 162. View on Main Street, Bozeman, Montana. The outfitting point for the Wonderland.”[Early street scene, wagon train]
097: “No. 163. Near Bottler's Ranche - Upper Yellowstone. An Incident of the Nez Perce War of 1877" [Boney Ernest, packer; Texas Jack, scout; Capt. Bailey, British Army; Mr. Birmingham, British Army; Miss Carpenter; Mrs. Cowan; Mr. Carpenter]
098: “Indian Camp in Winter.”[Crow Indian teepees]
099: [Crow Indian camp]
100: [Indian woman sitting for photograph]
101: “Indian Camp in Winter.”[Crow Indian camp]

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Subjects

This collection is indexed under the following headings. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search under these terms.

  • Subject Terms :
  • Crow Indians
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bozeman (Mont.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Geographical Names :
  • Mammoth Hot Springs (Wyo.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Upper Geyser Basin (Wyo.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (Wyo.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Stereographs
        • Other Creators :
        • Calfee, H. B. (Henry Bird), b. 1848

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