Lot 373 of 455:
Taber's photographically illustrated advertising album, 1880  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$120,000
$30,000 - $50,000

The Taber Photographic Album of Principal Business Houses, Residences and Persons (cover title)

Taber, Isaiah West

San Francisco

I.W. Taber



Presentation leaf + 100 unnumberd pages (50 leaves of thin card stock). With 110 mounted albumen photographs, surrounded by advertising matter for the subject firms and other businesses. (Folio) 44x31 cm (17¼x12¼"), original quarter morocco & cloth decoratively lettered in gilt on both covers, marbled endpapers. First Edition.

Remarkable and highly important photographically illustrated book, capturing a broad representation of the businesses, commerce, and economic culture San Francisco, at that time the largest and certainly the most important United States city west of the Mississippi. Isaiah West Taber was the leading entrepreneurial photographer of 19th-century California and the self-proclaimed master of the instantaneous photograph. His Album is more than an elaborate advertising scheme, promoting Taber’s photographic work and the goods and services available from various businesses: it is a very fine and rare testimony to the substantial contribution Taber made to the photographic scene of the 1880’s. Published in limited numbers in response to requests by particular commercial customers, the Album varies in the numbers and subjects of photographs, as is characteristic of this type of book. Among the highlights are exterior and interior photographs of Taber's photographic studio, and fine portrait of Taber himself; an advertisement of Levi Strauss & Co.; exterior and interior shots of the Palace Hotel, with the latter showing court decorated for the visit of President Rutherford B. Hayes; a view of the bridge over the Russian River at Healdsburg constructed by the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad; the Philadelphia Brewery, John Wieland, proprietor; views of the U.S. customs house and post office buildings; a view of the United States Mint, still standing today at 5th and Mission; portraits of U.S. Grant, R.B. Hayes, W.T. Sherman, California Governor George C. Perkins, California Senator A.A. Sargent, and several others; the Daily Call and Alta California newspapers; and many more. A few of the photographs are of lithographs. Published in limited numbers in response to requests by particular commercial customers, the Album varies in the numbers and subjects of photographs, as is characteristic of this type of book. Of the three copies listed in OCLC/WorldCat, the copies at the University of California Berkeley and at the California State Library are shown to have 108 pages, and the one at Yale 80 pages (with 45 photographs). In 1980, in its Catalogue 50, John Howell Books listed the Jennie Crocker Henderson copy, and described it as having 98 photographic plates - possibly meaning 98 pages. The listing notes four copies known to them, and refers to copies at the Bancroft Library (The U.C. Berkeley copy) and the San Francisco Public Library.

Lot Amendments

Some scuffing to morocco; minor fading to some of the photographs; still a fine example of this extremely rare, and highly important work.

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