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Cover for Alexander Gardner

Alexander Gardner

The Western Photographs, 1867–1868

Jane L. Aspinwall, Keith F. Davis (Preface by), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Other primary creator)


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A glimpse into the development of the American West through startling photographs of the frontier landscape and the rich culture of American Indian tribes  

Best known for his Civil War photographs, Alexander Gardner (1821–1882) also created two extraordinary bodies of work depicting the transformation of the American West: Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railway and Scenes in the Indian County. In 1867, after joining the survey team for what became the Kansas Pacific Railroad, Gardner photographed the path of the proposed extension, emphasizing the ease of future railroad construction and economic development, while including studies of American Indians and settlements along the way. The following year, Gardner recorded peace talks with Indian tribes at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Distinctly sympathetic to the plight of the American Indian, Gardner made candid documentation of individual chiefs, their encampments and daily life, burial trees, and the peace proceedings themselves. With a full catalogue raisonné of these two rare series, Alexander Gardner offers a complete visual index of these remarkable photographs, made at a critical moment in the history of the American West.  

Praise For Alexander Gardner: The Western Photographs, 1867–1868

Shortlisted for the 2015 Kraszna Krausz best photography book award
— Best Photography Book Award

Nelson Atkins, 9780300208245, 180pp.

Publication Date: September 22, 2014

About the Author

Jane L. Aspinwall is associate curator of photography and Keith F. Davis is senior curator of photography, both at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.