Al Williams Lantern Slide collection

MS 709
Lantern slide from Al Williams' studio

Hand-colored lantern slide from Al Williams' studio in San Francisco, California.

Collection area: Arizona and Southwest

Collection dates: circa 1894-1920

About this collection

Hand-colored lantern slides, about 40, showing oil drilling machinery, tent camps, employees, and landscapes in the area of the San Juan River Basin in southeastern Utah, east of Mexican Hat. One image shows men outside the "San Juan Drilling Co", a wooden building while another shows a oil-carrying train car marked "San Juan Drilling and Development Co.". Another image is labeled "First Goodridge well in the San Juan." E.L. Goodridge had drilled the first well in the area in 1907. There is one image of Navajo women and children, seated, with rugs hanging behind them. Landscape scenes show the Four Corners area including various striking rock formations, the San Juan River, and what are now Goosenecks State Park and Natural Bridges National Monument. Some slides are cracked and others are missing from the numerical sequence at the time of processing.

Historical background

Al Williams had an photography establishment at 964 Market Street in San Francisco that produced hand-colored lantern slides in the early 1900s. He was involved in the early motion picture business before 1906 in San Francisco. These slides were taken in Utah about 1910, when the area was experiencing a boom of oil exploration. The area has continued to been a major producer of oil and natural gas since the early 1900s.

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