William Henry Jackson

William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) was an American photographer, Civil War veteran, painter, and explorer who has become particularly famous for his early photographs of the American West. Following his participation as a Union soldier in the Civil War, Jackson won a commission from the Union Pacific Railroad to document the extraordinary scenery along the various routes for promotional purposes. This project led him to explore the West and initiated a life-long fascination with this frontier region of America.

Jackson’s photographs of the Union Railroad landscapes were of incredible quality and soon attracted the attention of other Western pioneers. Consequently, Ferdinand Vanderveer Hayden him to join his team of geologists on their expedition to the Yellowstone River. In addition to being one of America’s most important early photographers, Jackson was also the great-nephew of Sam Wilson, progenitor of the United States’ national symbol, Uncle Sam.

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