Saturday, January 09, 2010

Oliver Denny, photographer

From: "Barry Swackhamer" barry_sue90@hotmail.com

I am interested in the photographs of Oliver Denny. The Canadian born photographer is known to have worked in Grass Valley, Sacramento, Nevada City, Suisun and Marysville between 1865 and 1871 before moving to Portland, Oregon. While he was at Marysville, he issued a series of stereographs entitled “California Pacific Railroad.”

There was in fact a California Pacific Rail Road operating between Sacramento and Vallejo with a branch from Davis to Marysville at this time. Several of Denny’s views that I have seen (online) only make sense if Denny was photographing the California Pacific.

However, there have been some references to Central Pacific Rail Road views published in the “California Pacific Railroad” series “some of which may have been from negatives by Alfred A. Hart” (Palmquist, Pioneer Photographers of the Far West, pg. 200). I have one of these views, a variant of Hart 61 Hydraulic Mining, in my collection.

There is also an interesting CDV take by Denny of “Virginia Street, Reno” in the Union Pacific Museum. Item X364 from the Southern Pacific Collection. It is quite similar of Hart 286 of the same name and appears to have been taken about (but not exactly) the same time. See Myrick, Railroads of Nevada, pg. 15.

I would like to obtain more examples (copies?) of Oliver Denny’s images so that more light may be shed on the subject. Any information would be helpful.

—Barry Swackhamer