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William Henry Jackson Photochrom Collection

Identifier: whjph

Scope and Contents

119 of the prints are 3.5 x 7 inches, 33 are 4.5 x 6.5 inches, and 35 are 7 x 97 inches. 31 are monochromatic, while the rest are in color.

Most of the images are outdoor scenes. All but one of the prints have a publisher’s number and subject description printed at the lower left on the front or the back. The publisher's numbers , and these numbers are used to organize the collection.

Many are printed with “Detroit Photographic Co.” on the front lower right, some are printed “Copyright (date) by Detroit Photographic Co.” on front lower right, and a few say “Copyright, (date), by the Photochrom Co.” in that position.

Bracketed dates in the inventory below reflect dates recorded on a listing supplied by the donor, but not printed on the actual item.

The listing provided by the donor identifies several of the images as being included in the following publication: Hughes, Jim, and William Henry Jackson. 1994. The Birth of a Century: Early Color Photographs of America. London: Tauris Parke Books (Decker Library location: TR140 .J33 B37 1994)


  • ca. 1895-1908 and n.d.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are in the public domain, with no restrictions on access. Request access at the Research Help Desk of the Decker Library between 12-6 p.m. on Saturday - Thursday, 12-4:3000 p.m. on Friday, or email to make an appointment.

Biographical / Historical

William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) was an American painter, photographer and publisher. Already an accomplished painter, Jackson served in the Civil War, after which he traveled in the United States and abroad as a photographer under the auspices of several corporate and governmental entities, producing a large quantity of documentary images.

In the 1890s, Jackson joined the Detroit Publishing Co. and provided them with his stock of ~10,000 negatives, which became the bulk of the company’s inventory. From the negatives, the company produced for images for sale, ranging from postcards to mammoth-plate panoramas. The images form an extensive documentary archive of the United States and nearby geographical areas.

The collection here utilizes the Photochrom process, where colorized images are produced from black-and-white photographic negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates. The process is a photographic variant of chromolithography, a broader term that refers to color lithography in general.


187 items (1 Box with 17 folders Folders 1-3: Items # [000]1 - 0050. 31 items @ 4.5 x 6.5 inches. All monochromatic. Folders 4-14: Items # 51001 - 51426. 121 items @ 3.5 x 7 inches, unless noted 4.5 x 6.5 inches. All color. Folders 15-17: Items # [14142] - 53242. 35 items @ 7 x 9 inches. All color.)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of 187 photo-reproduction prints (most in color) made by the William Henry Jackson and the Detroit Photographic Company.


Arranged by size and by publisher’s print number.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Caroline B. Bowersox, 2014 and 2015

Related Materials

The Library of Congress holds visual materials pertaining to William Henry Jackson, including Photochrom examples from the Detroit Photographic Company, and other photographs by Jackson, as well as portraits of Jackson and his family and associates. Many of these are digitized.

The Newberry Library in Chicago, IL has a collection of Photochroms, known as The W.H. Jackson Photochrom Print Collection, 1898-1906.

William Henry Jackson Photochrom Collection
In Progress
Katherine Cowan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Decker Library Special Collections Repository

Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 West Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore MD 21217 U.S.A.