Golden Prospects Daguerreotypes of the California Gold Rush Jane L. Aspinwall, Keith F. Davis

Publication date:
26 Nov 2019
Nelson Atkins
168 pages: 279 x 279mm
172 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:


A fresh, comprehensive, and critical look at the California gold rush through the lens of the daguerreotype camera

The California gold rush was the first major event in American history to be documented in depth by photography. This fascinating volume offers a fresh, comprehensive, and critical look at the people, places, and culture of that historical episode as seen through daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of the era. After gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, thousands made the journey to California, including daguerreotypists who established studios in cities and towns and ventured into the gold fields in specially outfitted photographic wagons. Their images, including portraits, views of cities and gold towns, and miners at work in the field, provide an extraordinary glimpse into the evolution of mining culture and technology, the variety of nationalities and races involved in the mining industry, and the growth of cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento. Including numerous images published here for the first time, this book provides an extraordinary glimpse into the transformation of the American West.

Jane Lee Aspinwall is associate curator and collections supervisor of photography, and Keith F. Davis is senior curator of photography, both at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.