Wildlife Photography by the Wallihans

Allen Grant Wallihan and his wife, Mary Augusta Wallihan lived in sparsely populated northwestern Colorado where they were skilled with both the gun and the camera.  Mary picked up a camera first, but soon both Wallihans shared this passion.  Most publications credit Allen as the photographer and overlook Mary’s involvement, a common occurrence in photographic history, as women photographers were often considered assistants or helpers, rather than working behind the camera.

Mrs. Wallihan
Mrs. Wallihan.  Craig Press, January 31, 2009

Mary Augusta Higgins was born on February 22, 1837, at Oak Creek, Wisconsin to Elihu Higgins and Eliza (Rawson) Higgins. Mary’s father was one of the first settlers at South Milwaukee and Mary was purportedly the first “white child” born at Oak Creek. She married Cullen Farnham on June 1, 1865, at Croton Falls, New York.  The 1870 census lists Cullen and Mary living in Waukesha, WI, with Mary’s parents. In the 1870s, she and her husband were living in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Mary filed for divorce in 1877, claiming that Farnham had abandoned her without financial support. They divorced in 1880 and shortly thereafter she moved to her brother’s ranch in Routt County, CO.

Mule Deer
First Scent of Danger, Plate no. 22, Mule Deer, Buck and Doe.  From Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains.

Mary married Allen G. Wallihan, twenty-two years her junior, on April 16, 1885, at Rawlins, WY.  The couple lived in remote northwestern Colorado, twenty miles from their nearest neighbor.  Mrs. Wallihan learned to shoot a rifle, first to protect herself when her husband was away, but she also became a proficient hunter.  She developed a love for wildlife the led her to acquire a camera from a missionary that she used to photograph the local deer.  She learned the craft of photography from books and manufacturer’s catalogs. 

In 1888, she initiated a project, with her husband, to document Colorado’s widlife, becoming perhaps the earliest wildlife photographers. They used a crude large-format camera on a tripod, taking 4-1/4 x 6-1/2” glass plates.  As they learned more about photography, they upgraded their equipment, purchasing better cameras and lenses, using both 5 x 8” and 8 x 10” cameras.  They printed cyanotype proofs before selecting which negatives to make into finished prints that would be mounted on cards.

Mountain Goats
On Guard. Plate No. 7, Rocky Mountain Goat. From Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains.

The Wallihans produced two compilations of  wildlife photographs, Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains (1894),  with an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt, was published by Frank S. Thayer in Denver.  Camera Shots at Big Game (1901) was published by Doubleday, Page & Co. and also included an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt.  The Wallihan’s photographs were exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition and in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

Mrs. Wallihan died on September 27, 1922, after suffering a stroke.  She was 85 years old.  She is buried near her home in Lay, Colorado.

Allen G. Wallihan was born at Footville, Wisconsin, on June 15, 1859 to Pierce and Lucy (Flower) Wallihan.  He had ten older siblings. Wallihan arrived in Leadville, Colorado, in 1879, and worked unsuccessfully as a miner.  He lived in Colorado Springs and Alpine, before moving to a horse ranch in Routt County in 1882.  He homesteaded on 160 acres in Lay, a small town twenty-two miles west of Craig, where he lived for the remainder of his life.  

Wallihan served as the postmaster of Lay for about fifty years.  He spent the latter part of his career as a U. S. Land Commissioner, surveying, platting, and overseeing the sale of the public lands in the county.  He also owned an interest in a large tract of bituminous coal.  After Mary Wallihan’s death in 1922, Allen married Essaye Cook on September 26, 1927.  Allen G. Wallihan died on December 14, 1935, after a stroke.  He is buried in Lay, CO in a casket he himself made.

Bibliography:   https://www.historycolorado.org/sites/default/files/media/document/2018/ColoradoMagazine_v21n5_September1944.pdf   

Thank you to Beverly Brannan, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress, for proofreading.


Who Worked for William Henry Jackson? Part 2 (1884-1890)

Interior of bookstore
Duhem Bros., photographer. Chain & Hardy’s Bookstore, circa 1871. Denver Public Library Special Collections.

This post researches  William Henry Jackson’s employees between 1884 and 1890 when Jackson partnered with booksellers and publishers, Chain & Hardy.  James Albert Chain and S. B. Hardy opened their Denver bookstore in 1871. (Jackson’s first studio was across the street from the bookstore.)

Jackson and Chain became friends. They traveled together in a private Pullman train car, visiting the Southwest and Mexico.   Jackson photographed the scenery, while Chain’s wife, Helen, made paintings along the route.  This new partnership brought Jackson in direct contact with a publisher and distributor, so he could continue to concentrate on his photography while Chain & Hardy produced his books and sold his photographs.

The list below provides Jackson’s entries from the Denver city directories, followed by a list of his employees and their roles in the firm, with the dates of their employment. I have included all the names associated with Jackson’s photo studio.

1884  W. H. Jackson & Co.  (W. H. Jackson and Chain, Hardy & Co.) landscape photographers, 414 Larimer

Miss Helen Curtis, mounter, (1884)                                                               In 1884, Helen Curtis lived in Denver with the John Louville Curtis family.  Her relationship to this family is unknown.  As a mounter, Miss Curtis would adhere the photographs to a stiff backing board.

Miss M. E. Maynard, clerk  (1884-86)                                                          No biographical information found.

1885  W. H. Jackson & Co.  (W. H. Jackson and Chain, Hardy & Co.) landscape photographers, 414 Larimer

Louis C. McClure, printer, photographer (1885-89, 1895-97)          McClure (1867-1957) excelled at architectural photography.  After William Henry Jackson left Denver, McClure ran his own photographic business.  His clients included the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and his work was published frequently in newspapers.  I plan to feature him in a future post.

Louis C. McClure, photographer. [Unidentified landscape], hand-colored gelatin silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art.





1886  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 414 Larimer

Orrin C. Painter, assistant photographer                                                     Painter (1864-1915) was Jackson’s nephew. (Historically he has been identified as Jackson’s brother-in-law).  See The Baltimore Sun, September 9, 1915, p. 7, c.4.

1887 W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1609, 1611, 1613, and 1615 Arapahoe

Joseph A. Gilpin, photographer                                                                       No biographical information found.

Miss Kate M. Moran, clerk, colorist (1887-89, 1894-95)                     Moran moved to Colorado from Nebraska in 1881.  She worked for William Henry Jackson, as well as the Chain & Hardy Bookshop.  In the spring of 1898, she accepted a position with the Nonpareil Portrait and Publishing Company in Colorado Springs.  The Weekly Gazette (Colorado Springs) on May 17, 1898, referred to Moran as “one of the most skillful colorists in the country.” Her whereabouts after this date are unknown; although the Rocky Mountain News on October 5, 1898, reported the death of a Kate Moran from heart disease. Perhaps this is the same person.

1888  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson  J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1615 Arapahoe

George Reitze, photographer                                                                           Reitze (c. 1868-1920)  worked about one year with Jackson.  In 1890 Reitze and his brothers formed L. C. Reitze & Bros. Wall Paper & Decorating Company in Denver.

1889  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1615 Arapahoe

John Masonheimer, photographer, 1889-90                                           Possibly John K. Masonheimer (1871-1908).John K. Masonheimer came to Colorado in 1888.  He was employed as a civil engineer for the railroads.                       

George E. Mellen, photographer. Black Cañon at Curicanti Needle, D. & R.G. Ry., 1880s,  albumen silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

George E. Mellen, photographer, operator, 1889-90, 1892-93               Mellen (b. c1852-1915?) was an established photographer in Colorado before working for Jackson. In 1888, Jackson had even considered purchasing Mellen’s  Colorado Spring’s business. Mellen authored two photography books and spent the latter part of his career in Chicago. A blog post devoted to Mellen will appear in the future.

1890  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1615 Arapahoe

Frederick Caseman, photographer                                                                 After working for Jackson, Caseman (b. c1857) worked as a cigar maker and photographer in Rochester, NY.                                                                                    

city view
Smith-Hassell Co. View of the Buena Vista smelter in Buena Vista, CO, circa 1899. History Colorado Collection.

Gilbert Hassell,  photographer printer, finisher, 1890-1897         Hassell( 1871-1957) was born in Illinois, but grew up in Colorado Springs.  At the age of 19, he began his photographic career with Jackson. After leaving Jackson’s employ, Hassell formed  The Smith – Hassell Company.  They  were the official photographers to the C & S (Colorado & Southern) and Colo & Northwestern Ry. By 1901, Hassell had moved to California, where he became known for his large panoramic views.

Lewis E. Imes, printer                                                                                           Imes (1860-1932) learned photography in Chicago from Edward F. Hartley in 1880.  He was hired as a photographer in several western towns, including his time with Jackson, until settling in Lansing, Michigan in 1899, where he would remain working in the photography field until his death.

Fred. D.  Judson, photographer                                                                         No biographical information found.

Thank you to Bill Else for sharing information about Gilbert Hassell’s post Jackson career.  Thank you to Beverly Brannan, recently retired curator of photography, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, for her editorial assistance.