View of Hoback Canyon in Teton County or Sublette County, Wyoming. Shows the Hoback River.
William Henry Jackson was one of the most influential photographers of the American West in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Born in Keesville, New York in 1843, Jackson joined the 12th Vermont Infantry during the Civil War, and after his regiment was mustered out in 1863 he left Vermont for the West. By 1867 he had settled in Omaha, Nebraska, where he opened a photography studio with his brother. By 1869 he had won a commission from the Union Pacific Railroad to document their route for promotional purposes. In 1870 he joined the U.S. government survey (a predecessor of the USGS) led by F.V. Hayden to survey and document the Yellowstone Region. Jackson became one of the most prolific and famous western photographers, often working in conditions that were incredibly difficult. Building on his reputation, he opened another studio in Denver in 1879 which lasted until an economic downturn occurred in 1893. That same year, Jackson accepted a commission to travel the world photographing and gathering specimens for a new museum to be opened in Chicago. By 1898 he had become president of the Detroit Photographic Company (later the Detroit Publishing Company), a firm which owned the exclusive ownership and rights to the photochrom process he used in his photography. By 1932, however, the company had ceased to exist. Jackson died in 1942 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
William Henry Jackson gave his collection of negatives from the Detroit Publishing Company to the Edison Institute in Dearborn, Michigan in 1939. In 1949, the Ford Foundation transferred the negatives to the Colorado Historical Society. The Society transferred part of the collection later that year to the Library of Congress. History Colorado, formerly the Colorado Historical Society, holds most of Jackson's negatives representing sites west of the Mississippi River. The Library of Congress holds negatives of sites east of the Mississippi.