Sep 30, 2021 - Sale 2580

Sale 2580 - Lot 262

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(WEST--MONTANA.) F. Jay Haynes; photographer. Views of the Villard "Gold Spike" excursion which completed the Northern Pacific. 8 imperial views of the Gold Spike ceremony on printed mounts; 2 smaller uncaptioned views; and one imperial view of an unrelated Montana Press Association gathering from 1886; minor dampstaining, a few with softening at edges or corners from moderate water damage; one Gold Spike view penciled on verso "Mr. & Mrs. J.H. Mills." Fargo, Dakota Territory, 8 September 1883 (images from Powell County, MT)

Additional Details

Construction on the Northern Pacific Railroad began in 1870 from Minnesota and the Pacific coast, and both sides met in Powell County, Montana. The railroad's president Henry Villard led a grand excursion to the site to lay a ceremonial final spike, which was driven in by former United States president Ulysses S. Grant (not shown here). Documenting the scene was the well-known western photographer Frank Jay Haynes (1853-1921), the official photographer for Northern Pacific. Two of the photographs show a delegation of Crow Indians at the site; another shows the festively decorated first locomotive to cross over the last spike. This lot includes:

8 of the 23 imperial views from Haynes's series, "The Villard Gold Spike Excursion, Opening of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Septe. 8, 1883," albumen prints about 6 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches on the photographer's printed mount with complete inventory list on verso, with the view's title marked in pencil: "1541 5th Infantry Band at Last Spike"; "1542 Iron Car-horse, 'Nig,' and Tracklayers"; "1543 Independence Creek Valley, Last Spike"; "1544 During the Oration at Last Spike"; "1547 Indian Council at Last Spike"; "1548 Crow Indians at Last Spike"; "1549 First Train over the Last Spike"; and "1550 Group of Section Four at Last Spike."

Two smaller albumen photographs of Northern Pacific trains, about 4 1/2 x 8 inches, uncredited and uncaptioned, on original plain brown mounts. One of these is a duplicate of "1549 First train over last spike"; the other is on a matching mount and is likely also a Haynes photograph from the same event.

Another later imperial-format albumen print by Haynes, 6 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches on mount with printed caption, "Montana Press Association, Yellowstone National Park, August 1886."

Provenance: personal copies of James Hamilton Mills (1837-1904), a Montana newspaper editor and territorial secretary; consigned by a descendant. Mills is said to be standing in the rear row of the Montana Press Association photograph, 6th from the right.