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.
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives 225 North Roberts PO Box 201201 Helena MT 59620-1201 Telephone: 406-444-2681 Fax: 406-444-5297 MHSlibrary@mt.gov
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.
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
Preferred Citation :
Calfee & Catlin stereographs. ST 002.[Item number]
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, Helena, Montana.
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."
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]
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.”
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]