Black Canyon, From Camp 8, Looking Above

Timothy H. O'Sullivan, American, 1840 - 1882


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1871; print about 1873

Albumen silver print from wet collodion negative, on original lithographed mount

Overall: 20 × 28 1/8 in. (50.8 × 71.4 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through gifts from the Class of 1955 in honor of their sixtieth reunion



Place Made: United States, North America


19th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Stamped, lower center, in blue ink: [in outer circle:] DIVISION OF PRINTS [inside middle circle:] L. C.; stamped, lower center, in purple ink: SURPLUS / DUPLICATE / LIBRARY / OF / CONGRESS; Numbered, lower center, in graphite: 47639 [the 9 of this number is overlapped with the beginning of the word “Duplicate” in the stamp previously described]


The US Government sponsored four major Western surveys between 1867 and 1879, charting the territories west of the Great Plains. Minutely recording these lands’ topography for the first time, the surveys were crucial for planning settlements, constructing railroads, extracting resources, and assessing Native land and people in order to facilitate their forced removal.

Timothy O’Sullivan took this elegant photo of a bend in the Colorado River as the photographer for George M. Wheeler’s survey of lands west of the 100th meridian. The man in the boat—likely geologist Grove Karl Gilbert—looks down at his notebook, perhaps preparing his own documentation of the area.

Below, John K. Hillers records the lush valley and dramatic cliffs of southern Utah’s Zion Canyon, one of many similar scenes he captured on John Wesley Powell’s 1871 expedition exploring the Colorado River region.

From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

SART 29, Photography I, Christina Seely, Spring 2019

SART 29, Photography I, Christina Seely, Fall 2019

ARTH 48.02, History of Photography, Katie Hornstein, Winter 2020

ANTH 7.05, Animals and Humans, Laura Ogden, Winter 2022

HIST 7.32, Civil War Photographs, Robert Bonner, Winter 2022

GEOG 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ARTH 5.01, Introduction to Contemporary Art, Mary Coffey and Chad Elias, Winter 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

SPAN 65.15, Wonderstruck: Archives and the Production of Knowledge in an Unequal World, Silvia Spitta and Barbara Goebel, Summer 2022

Exhibition History

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 12 - July 22, 2022.

Published References

Dingus, Rick. The Photographic Artifacts of Timothy O’Sullivan. Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 1982. Kelsey, Robin E. “Viewing the Archive: Timothy O’Sullivan’s Photographs for the Wheeler Survey.” The Art Bulletin. 85.4. (Dec. 2003) 702-723. LaFauci, Lauren E. “A Divided Portrait: Versions of Wilderness in Timothy O’Sullivan’s Survey Photography.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies. 7.1, New Connections in Ecocriticism (Fall 2005), 71-83. Snyder, Joel. American Frontiers: The Photographs of Timothy O’Sullivan, 1867-1874. Meridan, NY: Aperture, Inc., 1981. Wheeler, George M. Wheeler’s Photographic Survey of the American West, 1871-1873; With Landscape Photographs by Timothy O’Sullivan and William Bell. New York: Dover Publications, 1983.


The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Charles Isaacs Photographs, Inc., New York, New York; Sold to present collection, 2015.

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