JUNE 2014


In 1940, Ansel Adams made a photograph of a lone tree atop Sentinel Dome, the second highest peak on the Yosemite rim. Though he wasn’t the first photographer to capture the tree’s unlikely existence atop a barren granite dome that distinction belongs to Carleton Watkins  he has been credited for its fame. Over the years, countless photographers professionals and amateurs alike photographed the solitary Jeffrey pine in its gnarled, windswept formation. The tree grew right out of the crevices of solid granite, about 4,000 feet above Yosemite’s valley floor and some 8,000 feet above sea level. Over time, it became one of the world’s most photographed trees. During a severe drought in 197677, people flocked to the tree, hauling buckets of water in hopes of saving it. Though it finally fell in August 2003, the Jeffrey pine of Sentinel Dome remains a familiar icon of Yosemite’s landscape.

Above, left: Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe (Photographers), The trunk of the Jeffrey Pine, killed by drought, Sentinel Dome, 2002. Inkjet print. Courtesy of Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe.

Above, right: Photographer unknown, Two Women atop Jeffrey Pine on Sentinel Dome, date unknown. California Historical Society Collections. 

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Past-and-Present 2   Exhibition-Preview   Digitizing-History
California Past & Present(ly) Processed

The California Bear Flag was first flown on June 14, 1846 during the aptly named Bear Flag Revolt. This flag, depicted in the illustration above, featured a grizzly bear and the words “California Republic” — features that were formally codified by the State of California in 1911. This image of the Bear Flag, and others, were created and collected by the photographer Charles C. Pierce who operated a studio in Los Angeles from 1886 to 1946. The 10,100 prints assembled in the C.C. Pierce Collection of Rare, Historical and Curious Photographs, Illustrating California, the Pacific Coast and the Southwest are entirely digitized and available online through an enduring partnership with the University of Southern California

In Yosemite, a cultural landscape of profound natural beauty, we find stories that are utterly surprising, funny, poignant, revealing, and sometimes tragic. On June 29, 2014 — the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, in which President Lincoln dedicated the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove “for public use, resort, and recreation . . . inalienable for all time” — the California Historical Society presents Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, an exhibition, enhanced eBook, and public program series that uncovers a human history of Yosemite as complex and diverse as our state itself.
  Digitizing History

May was National Bike Month, and to celebrate CHS Archivist Jaime Henderson sought out a slew of photographic and archival materials relating to bicycling in California. This set, full of remarkable photographs and amazing advertisements, is now available in the public domain as part of the California Historical Society Commons on Flickr
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