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In the summer of 1861 Watkins, a San Francisco based photographer, hauled a ton of photographic equipment 200 miles into the recently discovered Yosemite Valley. His large format photographs created a sensation in the East and convinced Congress in 1864 to preserve the valley as a future national park.
“Without crossing the continent . . . we are able to step from our study into the wonders of the wondrous valley and gaze at our leisure on its amazing features.” —The Philadelphia Photographer, 1861
(Lee Marks Fine Art, Shelbyville, Indiana); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1994 (1994.38).