[WHEELER SURVEY]. -- Timothy O'SULLIVAN (ca 1840-1882) and William BELL (1830-1910), photographers. Photographs Showing Landscapes, Geological and Other Features of Portions of the Western Territory of the United States, Obtained in Connection with Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridion. Seasons of 1871, 1872 and 1873. [Washington, D.C., ca 1875].
Oblong 2o (392 x 494 mm). Lithographic title (some soiling at edges) and 25 albumen photographs, each mounted on two-toned Wheeler Survey mount with letterpress imprints and titles, each approximately 202 x 271 mm or the reverse, comprising 17 by TIMOTHY H. O'SULLIVAN and 8 by WILLIAM BELL (some soiling to mounts, occasional pale soiling).
VERY SCARCE SERIES OF O'SULLIVAN AND BELL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE LANDMARK WHEELER SURVEYS
The survey's main goal was to make topographic maps of the southwestern United States and the present series of images focuses on the landscapes of this region. The collection contains images from each of the first three years of the Survey, and comprises the following subjects (with series identification numbers):
EXPLORATIONS IN NEVADA AND ARIZONA, 1871: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (8): Black Cañon, Colorado River, Looking above from Mirror Bar. No. 9. -- Entrance to Black Cañon, Colorado River, from Above. No. 10. -- Wall in the Grand Cañon, Colorado River. No. 11. -- Cereus Giganteus, Arizona. No. 12. -- Water Rhyolites, Near Logan Springs, Nevada. No. 13. -- Rock Carved by Drifting Sand, Below Fortification Rock, Arizona. No. 14. -- Iceberg Cañon, Colorado River, Looking Above. No. 15. -- Alpine Lake, in the Sierra Nevada, California. No. 16.
EXPLORATIONS & SURVEYS WEST OF THE 100TH MEDIAN, 1872: William Bell (8): Grand Cañon, Colorado Near Paria Creek, Looking East. No. 8. -- Looking South into the Grand Cañon, Colorado River. No. 9. -- Rain Sculpture, Salt Creek Cañon, Utah. No. 10. -- Grand Cañon of the Colorado River, Mouth of Kanab Wash, Looking West. No. 11. -- Grand Cañon of the Colorado River, Mouth of the Kanab Wash, Looking East. No. 12. -- Grand Cañon of the Colorado River, Mouth of Kanab Wash, Looking West. No. 13. -- Perched Rock, Rocker Creek, Arizona. No. 14. -- Limestone Walls, Kanab Wash, Colorado River. No. 15.
EXPLORATIONS & SURVEYS WEST OF THE 100TH MEDIAN, 1873: Timothy H. O'Sullivan (9): The Church of San Miguel, The Oldest in Santa Fe, N.M. No. 11. -- Looking Across the Colorado River to Mouth of Paria Creek. No. 12. -- Cañon of the Colorado River, near Mouth of San Juan River, Arizona. No. 13. -- South Side of Inscription Rock., N.M. No. 14. -- Cañon de Chelle, Walls of the Grand Cañon about 1200 feet in height. No. 15. -- Head of Cañon de Chelle, Looking Down, Walls about 1200 feet in height. No. 16. -- Indian Pueblo, Zuni, N.M., View from the South. No. 17. -- Old Mission Church, Zuni Pueblo, N.M., View from the Plaza. No. 18. -- Section of South Side of Zuni Pueblo, N.M. No. 19.
The Irish-born O'Sullivan's pioneering photographic work started during the American Civil War when he served as Matthew Brady's apprentice and then through his work in Alexander Gardener's studio. He afterwards became the official photographer on the United States Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel under Clarence King from 1867-1869. In 1870 he joined a survey team in Panama to survey for a canal across the isthmus. He joined Lt.George M. Wheeler's survey west of the 100th meridian west from 1871-74, facing starvation on the Colorado River when some of the expedition's boats capsized. Only a small percentage of the 300 negatives he took survived the trip back East. He spent the last years of his short life in Washington, D.C., as official photographer for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Treasury Department.
For his Wheeler Survey photographs, the English-born Bell used two cameras: an 11 x 8-inch camera for large prints, and an 8 x 5 inch for stereo cards. He employed both wet and dry collodion processes on this expedition. As a result, these photographs are characterized by dark foregrounds with elements becoming increasingly lighter in tone as distances increase.