Robert Vance Whole Plate Daguerreotype of San Francisco,
Schätzpreis: n. a.
Zuschlagspreis: 143.750 $
taken about May 15th or 16th, 1856 at the height of the activities of the city's second Committee of Vigilance. This striking image shows the front of Smiley, Yerkes and Company Auctioneers and Commission Merchants at the corner of Sacramento and Montgomery Streets. The black crepe and banner with The Great Man Has Fallen. We Mourn His Loss. commemorates the assassination of muckraking newspaper editor James King of William. On the evening of May 14th, King (who had legally changed his name adding "of William" to distinguish himself from another James King was gunned down by rival newspaper editor and local politician James P. Casey. Casey, editor of the Sunday Times, was incensed when King's Evening Bulletin ran an article accusing him of election fraud, and being an ex-convict; his response was the cold-blooded shooting of King as he walked down a San Francisco street. When King died a few days later, the city rose up in arms. A mob of vigilantes removed Casey from the sheriff's office and lynched him from an abandoned liquor warehouse. San Francisco's Committee of Vigilance was first organized in 1851 in response to lawlessness accompanying the Gold Rush boom. This group -- reputable businessmen and other citizens -- saw it as their reasonable duty to suppress crime when local law enforcement failed. Ne'er do wells and criminals were rounded up and forced to leave the city, and in some cases faced the ultimate penalty -- public lynching. In both 1851 and 1856, the Committee's actions proved successful in bringing order to what had become a virtually lawless city. T. J. L. Smiley, whose building is depicted in this daguerreotype, was a charter member of the first Committee of Vigilance. Robert Vance was one of the premier Gold Rush era photographers, covering the growth of the city of San Francisco as well as the mining camps that spotted the Sierras. More than three hundred of his whole plate California scenes were exhibited in New York City in 1851. The collection was acquired by Jeremiah Gurney and later by John Fitzgibbon, and then, around the turn of the 20th century, disappeared. A nearly identical image is curated in the collections of the Gilman Paper Company, and is illustrated in Silver and Gold: Cased Images of the California Gold Rush. (Johnson and Eymann, 1998:224). Provenance:Property of the Frankford Historical Society of Pennsylvania Condition:Plate EXC, brilliant, and still sealed. The cover glass of the image exhibits several spots and should be cleaned or replaced. The darker areas in the sky are clouds, and should not be considered plate wipes or flaws. Housed in a full leather case with the pad stamped with Vance's San Francisco and Sacramento imprint.
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