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100+ Images of Texas & the West from the Rose Collection

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471. [PHOTOGRAPHY]. ROSE, N[oah] H[amilton] (collector & historian). Collection of 104 gelatin silver prints, the majority with his ink stamp on verso. Most prints on 20.6 x 12.8 cm (5 x 8 inch) paper, image size varies. Overall very fine. Accompanied by printed brochure and two additional imprints (see below).

     The majority of these photographs are copy prints of earlier images collected by Rose, and many include typed labels at the bottom of the image identifying content. Subjects include: Native Americans (including Quanah Parker, Satanta, and Sitting Bull); Texas Rangers (five group shots, mostly ca. 1906, identifying individual Rangers), outlaws and lawmen (including Frank James, William Longley, Charles Siringo); firearms (Samuel Colt and Colt revolvers); Indian Wars (including several prints focusing on the Battle of the Little Bighorn); and a number of famous western personalities such as Kit Carson, Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, Texas Jack, and Brigham Young. A large number of the prints feature Texas scenes and personalities, including Judge Roy Bean, Bigfoot Wallace, longhorn cattle, and group shots of Texas cowboys and lawmen. There are a few duplicates or near duplicates among the prints. Although consisting mostly of copy prints, the collection contains a wide variety of images capturing personalities and events of a vanished era.

Brochure: The Famous Rose Collection of Old Time Photographs: Frontier Characters, Peace Officers, Outlaws, Indians, Etc. [wrapper title]. San Antonio: N.H. Rose, n.d. [ca. 1931]. [1] 2-36 pp. Narrow 8vo (22.7 x 9.8 cm), original printed gray wrappers. Light wear to fragile wraps around staples, staples rusted, text age-toned with some notes and check marks in ink and pencil, else fine. This brochure is a catalogue of photographs available from N.H. Rose. From p. [1]: Photos for Sale by N.H. Rose, Box 463, San Antonio, Texas: "For over thirty years I have been collecting and making photographs of early day characters and scenes. I am now offering copies of these photographs for sale at 50 cents each or $5.00 per dozen. Special price quoted on five dozen lots. Size 5 x 7 inches; single weight; glossy paper."

Additional imprints:

SONNICHSEN, C.L. & Frances Bramlette Farris. The Domestication of Bigfoot Wallace. Offprint from Southwest Review XXIX:3 (Spring 1944). 429-436 pp. 8vo, unbound, stapled. Outer leaves a bit worn and soiled, otherwise very good. Inscribed to John Wright by C.L. Sonnichsen and dated “El Paso, May 9, 1943.” Photograph of Bigfoot Wallace from Rose collection laid in (included in count of prints above).

SAN DIEGO CLUB LIFE. Photocopy of clipping from article in San Diego Club Life, dated August 21, 1935. The subject of the article is the Old West Card Room at the San Diego Club, which had walls lined with N.H. Rose’s photographs. Typed note at top of page: “Copy of page of Club Life. Will send you later the article in Frontier Times, if you care for it.”

     Handbook of Texas Online:

Noah H. Rose (1874-1952), printer, photographer, and collector of photographs of the frontier West, was born seventy-five miles northwest of San Antonio in Kendall County on April 9, 1874, the son of Newton C. and Loutilda (White) Rose. In 1884 his father, a carpenter, moved his family to Menardville (now Menard). Rose was educated in rural schools and in 1888 began working as an apprentice in the office of the Menardville Monitor. His family subsequently moved to Ballinger, where Rose worked on the local paper. In 1891 he returned to work on the Menardville Record. During this period he taught himself to take and develop photographs with a small box camera and printing supplies that he had received as a premium for selling subscriptions to the Youth’s Companion, a popular family weekly. In 1892 he left Menardville to work at the Mason Herald. He spent the next thirty years working as an itinerant printer and photographer in Sonora, Menardville, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, and numerous small towns in West, Central, and North Texas. In addition to standard portrait work, he documented events such as the flood at Menardville in June 1899 and the 1902 land rush in Junction. While working in the Eagle Pass-Del Rio area in 1901 Rose began taking pictures of news events and developing them into lantern slides ready for projection the same day. He focused on such violent events as hangings and shoot-outs and interesting frontier figures-gunmen, sheriffs, politicians, judges. Rose began seeking out old photographs and corresponded with Emmett Dalton and other noted personalities to obtain pictures. From 1904 to 1919 he operated a photography studio in Del Rio and continued to build his collection of frontier photographs. He subsequently worked in central west Texas before settling in San Antonio in 1921. Rose’s early years there were inauspicious: he endured a long illness and thereafter suffered a fractured skull when he was hit by a car. Faced by a large debt for medical bills upon his recovery, he decided to focus his business exclusively on photographs of the old West. He made up a list of negatives that he had collected, printed a catalogue, and soon developed a booming mail-order business selling photographs to magazines, collectors, and writers.

According to Rose, pictures of such outlaws as Jesse and Frank James, Billy the Kid, Belle Starr, Jim and Bob Younger, and the Dalton gang were most in demand, followed in popularity by pictures of peace officers, Indians, Texas Rangers, and pioneers. He supplemented his stock by buying the rights to photographs owned by A.A. Brack, owner of Brack’s Studio of San Antonio, and eventually collected over 2,000 images. With his childhood friend John Marvin Hunter, Rose published an Album of Gunfighters in 1951…. His collection of photographs was sold and is now in the collection of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.


Sold. Hammer: $1,600.00; Price Realized: $1,920.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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