Daguerreian Saloon and the Alta California
Newspaper Office, San Francisco, 1851
Attributed to William
Shew (1820-1903), Shew's Daguerreian Saloon
and the Alta, California Newspaper Office,
San Francisco, 1851 Half plate daguerreotype.
Collection of the Oakland Museum of California,
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Willard M. Nott and Dr. Paul
S. Taylor by exchange
Shew, one of the most famous American daguerreotypists of
his day, maintained a photographic studio in a mobile
wagon, allowing him to travel to his customers, and
enabling him to maneuver out of the way of San
Francisco's many fires in its early years. On the side of
the studio, Shew arrayed a sampling of his handiwork to
advertise to potential customers.
The Alta California was one of
the most important early San Francisco newspapers. Owned
and edited by Edward Kemble and Edward Gilbert, it began
as a weekly in January 1849, and became the city's first
daily paper in January 1850. In 1867, Mark Twain sent his
letters from his tour of the Holy Land to the paper,
letters which were later republished as The Innocents
Abroad. The paper ceased publication in 1891.