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Kern County, California: Photographic Views by Carleton Watkins in the Library of Congress

Collection Strengths & Sample Images

The photographs depict ranch buildings, livestock, the propagation and processing of fruit and ground crops, methods of irrigation, and antimony mining operations, and include views of Bakersfield, the county seat. Captions provide extensive geographical, historical, and commercial information for each scene, and also connect the photographs to locations on the accompanying maps.

Watkins had already achieved renown as a landscape photographer at the time of the commission. The photographs show his skills in depicting expanses of land and topography, but many feature people--especially workers, including a few Chinese workers. Families are also shown, including some from Indigenous communities.

Sample Images