About This Image

Calligraphic title and photographer credit.

Isaac H. Bonsall (1833-1909), an ambrotypist and photographer active in Leavenworth, KS, about 1858-1860, Kansas City, KS after 1860, and Cincinnati, Ohio, from about 1862-1865, served in the Army of the Cumberland as a photographer beginning in September 1862. He apprenticed under Mathew Brady. Initially, his duties were to photograph maps at their headquarters in Cincinnati, but he later traveled with the army to Tennessee and Georgia, broadening his subjects to include portraiture and Civil War-related landscapes. During the Union Army's six-month siege of Chattanooga, TN in 1863, Bonsall spent much of his time photographing the areas surrounding nearby battle sites, including Lookout Mountain, where the Army of the Cumberland contributed to the Union victory on November 24, 1863.

Following the Civil War, Bonsall ran a photography studio in Cincinnati, listed as being open from 1869-1871, but moved to Arkansas City, KS, in 1872, where he set up a gallery, photographing everything from street scenes to "Boomers" before they departed for Oklahoma Territory.

Bonsall was teacher to photographer William S. Prettyman, who subsequently became a primary source for photographs of American Indians in the Indian Territory. Although Bonsall also produced images of American Indians at this time, it has been said that his age kept him from traveling around the Indian Territory and from becoming a forerunner in American Indian photography.

Provenance: artist to Lawrence Gray, a descendant of Bonsall; estate of Lawrence Gray to an Indian Artifacts dealer; Andrew Smith Gallery.

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Backside of Maintenance Building, Chattanooga Railroad Yards, Tennessee
Isaac H. Bonsall Backside of Maintenance Building, Chattanooga Railroad Yards, Tennessee

Price $7,500
Sale Price $5,250

Main Image

Ref.# 13920

Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative

Mount on original mount

Photo Date 1863-64c  Print Date 1864c

Dimensions 10-3/8 x 13 in. (264 x 330 mm)

Photo Country United States (USA)

Photographer Country United States (USA)


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