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Peter Palmquist once wrote, "In my youth I was a compulsive list maker." It was his way of organizing ''tiny bits of information into a tidy and illuminating whole." Consequently, as a photo historian, it was only natural that he would one day adopt the task of compiling the ultimate list: the comprehensive sequence of captions for all of Carleton Watkins' "old series" of stereo views.
After Watkins lost his negatives to creditors during financial woes of the mid-1870s, he started over taking new photos and labeling his stereo views "New Series." For those he published his own list of captions, but apparently never did the same for the "old series." For Peter, as the definitive biographer of Watkins, this posed a challenge to find and compile the captions that would reveal the scope of Watkins' earlier stereo view production. The search took several years, and the list is still incomplete, however, Watkins may never have used many of the caption numbers.
Steve Heselton recently became obsessed with the list and has generously offered to create this website in order to aid in the continuing search for captions, as well as making the list available for its many uses. As with all of Peter's research, this furthers his goal of sharing information in whatever way it can be useful. This website is respectfully dedicated to Peter for his relentless efforts to seek out the details of photographic history.
Further information about Peter Palmquist
Women in Photography article on Peter
Books by Peter Palmquist available through Carl Mautz Publishing