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Cabinet Albumen Photograph - The Royal Gorge Colorado

By W. H. Jackson

Denver: W. H. Jackson & Co.. Near Fine. Measures 4.5" x 7"; photo is mounted on card stock with the rear imprinted "W. H. Jackson & Co / Photographs of / Rocky Mountain Scenery / Denver, Colorado." The image shows railroad tracks going through a narrow gorge. The image is fine and bright and there are no chips to the edges; Pencilled initials at bottom margin appears to be "PL.


Albumen Photograph of the USS Swatara at Cape Town on Its Transit of Venus Expedition in 1874

This is an albumen photograph measuring 4.75 in. x 7.75 in. and in mounted on stiff card stock measuring 9.5 in. x 12 in.. Very slight chipping along lower edge of image and a small darkened spot in the sky. The card stock is chipped at the corners. On the rear is written: "Our Transit of Venus Expedition / 1874 / No. 2 / Swatara / U. S. Man of War / Lying off Cape Town." On Monday, June 8, 1874, the U.S. steamer Swatara, under Comdr. Ralph Chandler, U.S. Navy, sailed from New York Harbor - her destination, the remote sub-Antarctic Crozet and Kerguelen Islands, Tasmania, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands. Three years previously, in 1871, a committee that had been established under the authorization of the U.S. Congress had completed earlier plans whereby a series of astronomical observatories would be established in various parts of the world during 1874, to conduct scientific observations on the transit of Venus scheduled to take place during December 9th of that year. In addition to the five scientific parties which the U.S. Government planned to send into southern waters, three stations were scheduled for the Northern Hemisphere; at Nagasaki, Peking, and Vladivostok. The Swatara, with its complement of 26 astronomers and photographers, comprising the Southern Hemisphere contingent of the Transit of Venus Expedition along with stores, instruments, and equipment for establishing five observatories, set sail from New York for the 46° south latitude. The first call was at Bahia (Salvador, Brazil) on Friday, July 10 from which the vessel proceeded to Cape Town where she arrived at Table Bay on Wednesday, August 5th. From here, on August 17th, she rounded the Cape of Good Hope heading for the Crozet Islands where the first observation party was to be landed. However, the high winds and heavy seas that were encountered on August 31st when the islands were reached, precluded a landing, so the Swatara continued on her easterly course towards the Kerguelen group, the site selected for the next observatory. Three Island Harbor was reached on Monday, September 7th. A camp was established at the northern end of Royal Sound and the scientific party landed, equipped for a long stay both to carry out the astronomical observations and to conduct additional biotic studies of the island. On September 13th, the Swatara departed and headed for Hobart, Tasmania, where the next observatory was due to be sited. At Hobart, on October 3d, equipment and stores were unloaded for establishing this station and the instruments and personnel of the Crozet party were landed so that an additional observatory might be established at Campbelltown. Bluff Harbor, Southland, New Zealand, was reached on Friday, October 16th, and the New Zealand party under Prof. C. H. F. Peters was met by Lieut. E. H. Bass (assistant astronomer to the New Zealand party), who had spent 2 weeks in the country selecting the most suitable site for the Transit observatory. The Swatara sailed from Bluff Harbor on Saturday, October 17th, and after a brief stop off the Tairua Heads at the entrance to Port Chalmers, headed for the Chatham Islands. Chatham Island was reached on Monday, October 19th, and the final party of nine under Edwin Smith, the chief astronomer, disembarked at Port Hutt (northwest shore of Petre Bay), where a station was established on rising ground to the west of Whangaroa Bay. The Swatara sailed from Petre Bay on Monday, October 26th, for New Zealand, then to Hobart, where she remained until after the Transit.