'Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery' photograph collection,, 1868-1870

Overview of the Collection

Hayden, F. V. (Ferdinand Vandeveer), 1829-1887.
'Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery' photograph collection,
1868-1870 (inclusive)
1 box
Collection Number
Contains albumen photographs by A.J. Russell showing various views of Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, and California that were taken during construction of the Pacific Railroad from 1868-1869.
Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives Division
Special Collections & Archives
Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
Logan, UT
Telephone: 4357978248
Fax: 4357972880
Access Restrictions

Open to public research.

Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Russell (1829-1902) grew up in Nunda, New York but moved to Hornell in 1859 and New York City in 1860. He was a painter of landscapes, portraits, and moving panoramas. He enlisted in the Union Army as a captain in 1863 and he became a military railroad photographer. After the war he returned to New York City but in 1868 he was given an opportunity by the Union Pacific Railroad to photograph the building of the transcontinental railroad. Between 1868 and 1869 he traveled from Nebraska to California and took over 900 stereographic and 10x13 inch large-format glass-plate negatives. In 1870 Russell returned to New York City and published his own series of stereo-views with over 600 images. Later his Union Pacific negatives ended up in the hands of paymaster O.C. Smith and then Stephen Sedgwick. These two men issued their own series but did not credit Russell as the photographer. He worked from 1870 to 1880 as an illustrator and photographer for Leslie's Illustrated.

Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden (1829-1887) was a pioneer geologist and the head of various geological and geographical surveys in the West from 1867 to 1886. Hayden was raised in New York and graduated with an M.D. from the Albany Medical School in 1853. During the civil war he was a surgeon, but before the war, he spent most of his time in the West exploring and studying geology.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection consists of the book Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery, with a Description of the Geographical and Geological Features, and some Account of the Resources of the Great West; Containing Thirty Photographic Views Along the Line of the Pacific Rail Road, from Omaha to Sacramento, which was published in 1870 by F.V. Hayden. This book is stored in the vault, but copy negatives and contact prints of the images are available for researcher use.

Hayden was in charge of the United States Geographical and Geological Survey and he wanted to capitalize on interest in visual images of the West and to promote the study of geology. Hayden explains in the book: "The pictures have been arranged so as to commence with the first range of mountains west of Cheyenne, and to continue thence to the Salt Lake Valley with the view that the book may be used as a guide by those who will avail themselves of the grand opportunities for geological study..." This book comes with thirty albumen photographs taken by photographer Andrew Joseph Russell that illustrate not only geological, but also man-made structures in Wyoming, Utah, and California.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use


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 copyright.

Permission to publish material from the 'Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery' photograph collection must be obtained from the Special Collections Photograph Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Alternative Forms Available

View selected digitized images from the Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery photograph collection.

Preferred Citation

'Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery' photograph collection, 1868-1870. (P0019). Utah State University. Special Collections & Archives Department.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Arrangement: Numeric by photo number.

Processing Note

Register completed by Daniel Davis, June 2001.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

01: Moore's Lake - Head of Bear River, Uintah Mountains, Utah
02: Granite Rock - Buford Station, Laramie Mountains, Wyoming
03: Skull Rock (Granite) - Sherman Station, Laramie Mountains, Wyoming
04: Malloy's Cut - Sherman Station, Laramie Range, Wyoming
05: Dial Rock - Red Buttes, Laramie Plains, Wyoming
06: Laramie Valley - from Sheephead Mountains, Wyoming
07: Snow and Timber Line - Medicine Bow Mountain, Wyoming
08: High Bluffs - Black Buttes, Wyoming
09: Bitter Creek Valley - near Green River, Wyoming
10: Burning Rock Cut - Green River Valley, Wyoming
11: Citadel Rock - Green River Valley, Wyoming
12: Castle Rock - Green River Valley, Wyoming
13: Church Buttes - Near Fort Bridger, Wyoming
14: Lake at the head of Bear River - Uintah Mountains, Utah
15: Conglomerate Peaks - Echo, Utah
16: Sentinel Rock - Echo Canyon, Utah
17: Hanging Rock - Echo City, Utah
18: Coalville - Weber Valley, Utah
19: Thousand Mile Tree - Weber Canyon, Utah
20: Wilhelmina's Pass - distant view of serrated rocks or Devil's Slide, Weber Canyon, Utah
21: Serrated Rocks or Devil's Slide (near view) - Weber Canyon, Utah
22.: Tunnel No. 3 - Weber Canyon, Utah
23.: Devil's Gate (from below) - Weber Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Utah
24: City Creek Canyon - Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake Valley
25: Wasatch Range of Rocky Mountains - from Brigham Young's Woolen Mills, Utah
26: Salt Lake City - Camp Douglas and Wasatch Mountains in the Background, Utah
27: Great Mormon Tabernacle - Salt Lake City, Utah
28: Trestle Work - Promontory Point, Salt Lake Valley, Utah
29: Summit of Sierra Nevada - snow sheds in foreground, Donner Lake in the distance, Central Pacific Railroad, California
30: Hydraulic Gold Mining - near Dutch Flat, Central Pacific Railroad California

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Geology--Rocky Mountains.
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific.

Personal Names

  • Russell, Andrew J.

Corporate Names

  • Union Pacific Railroad Company--Photographs.

Geographical Names

  • Rocky Mountains--Pictorial works.
  • West (U.S.)--Pictorial works.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Albumen prints--West (U.S.)--1868-1870.