Mammoth Plate Photographs
This group of mammoth plate negatives and photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company includes over 600 glass negatives and transparencies and more than 300 photographic prints. The images are a rich source of documentation for the study of the North American landscape and include photographs taken by William Henry Jackson along several railroad lines in the United States and Mexico in the 1880s and 1890s; views of Western states, including images of California and of Hopi people with their crafts; Jackson's photographs commissioned by the state of Wyoming in 1892 for display at the World's Columbian Exposition; views of the Canadian Rockies, photographed by Henry Greenwood Peabody; and photographs of paintings.
Mammoth plates are large glass plates measuring up to 18x22 inches. In order to provide access to this group of negatives, the Library of Congress created duplicate 8x10-inch film negatives from each original and unique mammoth plate. Original masks and cropping marks were preserved during the copying process. The images representing the negatives were made from the duplicate negatives.
The Library's mammoth plate prints may duplicate images in the negative set. The prints include vintage cyanotypes and albumen prints as well as modern prints made by the Library of Congress. The images representing the prints were made from the actual prints.
In some cases, the same image may appear more than once. For example, the same image may be represented as a mammoth plate negative, vintage mammoth plate print, and modern print made by the Library.
Search Tip: To search the collection for mammoth plates, try choosing mammoth plates from the alphabetical list of subject and format terms. Alternatively, if you know a mammoth plate exists of a specific location, enter, as your search term, the location and the words mammoth plate.