Besides the three albums of mammoth albumen plates that form the core of this exhibition – Photographs of the Pacific Coast, Photographs of the Yosemite Valley, and Photographs of Columbia River and Oregon – additional Watkins material held by Stanford Libraries as well as items not by Watkins but which relate to his life, career, and subject matter are also presented. The Carleton Watkins at Stanford Libraries site will continually update as more material is digitized and additional contextual information becomes available. Of the one hundred and fifty-seven plates in the three core albums, one hundred and fifty-two plates are presently scanned and present in this exhibition. An additional album of sixty-two albumen plates, Views of Thurlow Lodge by Carleton Watkins: photograph album, circa 1874, is yet to be digitized.

Plates from the Pacific, Yosemite, and Oregon albums were exhibited in the past, notably in “Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception,” an important nationally traveling exhibition curated by Douglas Nickel and Maria Morris Hambourg (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 28 - September 7, 1999; Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 11, 1999 - January 9, 2000; National Gallery of Art, February 6 - April 30, 2000). But it was not until their 2014 exhibition at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts that the three albums were published in toto with a full complement of scholarly essays, the exhibition catalog co-published by the Stanford University Press and substantially funded by the Stanford Libraries: Carleton Watkins: The Stanford Albums. For that exhibition and catalog, we are indeed grateful to:

  • Michael Keller, University Librarian, Publisher of Stanford University Press
  • Alan Harvey, Director, Stanford University Press
  • Connie Wolf, (former) John & Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center
  • Elizabeth Mitchell, Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator (and lead curator for the Cantor exhibition)
  • George Philip LeBourdais, Ph.D. Stanford, Department of Art and Art History, 2018 (and co-curator for the Cantor exhibition)
  • Roberto Trujillo, Director of Special Collections and Frances and Charles Field Curator of Special Collections

Furthermore, thanks are due to the David Rumsey Map Center, Stanford Libraries, whose exceptional cartographic material collections enliven all aspects of operations in the Libraries, including this Spotlight exhibition. The preservation treatment of the Libraries' three volumes of mammoth albumen prints, metadata creation for the digital files, and this current digital exhibition would not have been possible without the assistance of additional colleagues from the Cantor and the Libraries, notably:

  • Susan Dackerman, John & Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center
  • Tammy Fortin, Executive Assistant to the Director, Special Projects Coordinator, Cantor Arts Center
  • Catherine Aster, Services Manager, Spotlight at Stanford Exhibits, Digital Library Systems & Services (DLSS)
  • David Brock, (former) Book Conservator, Preservation Department
  • Debra Fox, Paper Conservator, Preservation Department
  • Maria Grandinette, (former) Head of Conservation Service, Preservation Department
  • Dinah Handel, Digitization Services Manager, DLSS
  • John Mustain, (former) Rare Books Curator, Special Collections
  • Sarah Newton, Conservation Technician, Preservation Department
  • Michelle Paquette, (former) Cataloging & Metadata Librarian, Special Collections
  • Elizabeth Ryan, Library Conservator, Preservation Department
  • Astrid J. Smith, Rare Book and Special Collections Digitization Specialist, Digital Production Group, DLSS
  • Kristen St. John, Head of Conservation Services, Preservation Department

The creation of Carleton Watkins at Stanford Libraries is yet another aspect of the Stanford Libraries Photography Initiative, launched in 2019. The Photography Initiative is primarily charged with acquiring significant photographers’ archives and related outstanding photographic collections and works, as well as making more discoverable existing photography collections held by the Libraries.