“John, the Cook, baking slapjacks,” 1874. This photo is a great example of everyday life on a geological survey of the American West.
Photographed by William Henry Jackson, a geological surveyor photographer and an American West explorer. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War and present during in the Battle of Gettysburg, but saw no action. After the war, he traveled throughout the west sketching and photographing the landscape and, in the summer of 1969, the new Union Pacific Railroad construction. His photographs of the latter caught Ferdinand Hayden’s attention. Hayden was organizing a geologic survey of the Yellowstone area (at that time it was unknown land). Hayden asked Jackson to come with the expedition and he agreed. Jackson’s photographs of Yellowstone helped to convince Congress to name the park as the first national park in 1872. This made Jackson the first photographer to successfully capture Yellowstone’s sights on film. From 1870-1878, Jackson accompanied other geological surveys conducted by Hayden of the west and southwest.