Isaac Wallace Baker in front of Batchelder's Daguerrian Saloon, c. 1851; quarter-plate attributed to Isaac W. Baker

Collection of the Oakland Museum of California


"Walk in and examine specimens," invites the sign on Batchelder's Daguerrian Saloon, which plied the trade between Murphy's Camp and Vallecito. Such wagons proved an ideal method for bringing photography to the gold fields, where miners eagerly seized the opportunity to obtain a pictorial record of their sojurn in El Dorado. Wagons were also easy to move in case of fire, an important advantage in the ramshackle and temporary towns of early California, which burned on a more or less regular basis. As Batchelder wrote to Baker, his employee, "I hear Vallacita [sic] is burnt. If you were there I expect you had the benefit of being on wheels."

All images in this article from the collection of The Oakland Museum of California. All reproduction rights reserved.

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