Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920


Browse Collection by:

Life of William Henry Jackson

The best known photographer represented in the Detroit Publishing Company is William Henry Jackson. He was an early leader of the company but personally produced only a moderate number of the company's negatives. The Detroit collection includes many of Jackson's views of the west (especially the "mammoth plates" from the 1890s), family photographs, and a few images of Jackson himself. Jackson was also well-known for his round-the-world expedition photographing railroads and other types of transportation in twenty-four countries for the World's Transportation Commission.

The following chronology highlights Jackson's career and some key events in the history of photography.


Invention of photography.


William Henry Jackson born in Keeseville, New York.


Collodion wet-plate glass negatives introduced.



Jackson opens a photography studio in Omaha, Nebraska.


Jackson begins photographing the landscape of the Rockies, especially the Yellowstone area and Colorado, for Francis V. Hayden's Geological and Geographic Survey of the Territories.


Gelatin dry plates become commercially available in the United States.

Jackson opens a photography studio in Denver.


Eastman begins production of nitro-cellulose film.


Jackson photographs for various railroad lines, including the Mexican Central, Baltimore & Ohio, and New York Central, using 18x22-inch glass plate negatives.


Jackson's photographs commissioned by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad are exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition.


Jackson photographs for the World's Transportation Commission.


Jackson joins the Detroit Photographic Company. His negatives become the basis for the Company's postcard and photographic view business.


Jackson dies in New York City.