Montana Historical Society

Big Sky ~ Big History

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Thomas J. Hine: One of Yellowstone's Earliest Photographers

By James S. Brust and Lee H. Whittlesey

Download and read the article in PDF format.


National parks- what are they, for what several reasons were they established, why are they so popular


1)    Why did William Henry Jackson go to photograph Yellowstone National Park, and how were his photos influential?

2)    What was General Sheridan's motivation for sending U.S. Army troops on a geological survey to Yellowstone?

3)    What qualifications did Captain John Whitney Barlow have that made him the right man to lead the survey expedition?

4)    Why are Thomas Hine's Yellowstone photographs so hard to find now?

5)    How were Hine's photos lost?   How were the found?

6)    What evidence is there to support the fact that Hine and Copelin enjoyed a business relationship?

7)    Why did it take so long to get from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park? What modes of transportation did travelers use?

8)    Why is Hine's photograph of Old Faithful so important?

9)    Why was taking a photograph in 1871 such an ordeal? What process did Hine use, and what steps did he have to go through to take and develop his negative and to print his photograph?

10)    What were some problems associated with the use of wet-plate negatives?

11)    What important Hine photographs, other than the Yellowstone ones, were lost in the Chicago fire?

12)    What effect did Barlow's words (his account of his trip) have on the national park debate?


-    Create your own national park brochure. In today's world of internet sites and tourism guide books, we sometimes forget how our ancestors learned about vacation destinations. Design and create a brochure for one of America's national park sites. You will need to do some research on the park of your choice and on what makes a brochure useful and attractive to tourists. Your objective is to design and create a brochure that will make people want to visit your site.