Grand Falls of Yellowstone River, From Point Lookout Diana's Terrace, Jupiter Terrace in Distance

The stereoscope is a hand-held binocular device that helped solidify photography as a popular form of entertainment in the 19th century. Stereographs, or the cards containing the images, were made with two nearly identical images of the same scene mounted side-by-side on a stiff board. When the cards were viewed through the eyepiece, the resulting image had a sense of depth and presence that viewers found compelling.

American survey images were a popular subject of stereographs, such as the image above. As they were affordable and could be printed in large editions, these images were available to a broad middle-class audience. Hence, the views taken by photographers like William Henry Jackson greatly informed American’s perception and understanding of the west.

Above the Angel’s Window, Cape Royal.<br />
Inset: Postcard of Angel’s Window, photographer unknown, ND  <br />
At the canyon’s edge:  figures on “The Devil’s Anvil” overhang, 3000 feet above the Colorado River. Back: Klett and Wolfe, 2010.  Figures on the Devil's Anvil. <br />
Overlay: William Bell, 1872. Devil’s Anvil, Sheavwitz Crossing Near Foot of Toroweap Valley, River 3000 Feet Below, Colorado River. (Courtesy National Archives).<br />

The contemporary photographs above by Klett and Wolfe reference the stereograph format that was a popular mode of viewing early landscape images. Historical images by photographers, who would have been peers of William Henry Jackson, are embedded in each photograph.