As mapmaker and photographer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Henry Peter Bosse (1844-1903) took more than three hundred photographs of the Upper Mississippi River from 1883 to 1893, a time of unprecedented environmental and social change. Now recognized as the leading photographer of his time of the Mississippi, his work was almost unknown until five separate volumes of his photographs were discovered during the past few years. Since then, Bosse's work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian and other national museums and sold by leading auction houses to private collectors around the world.
Views on the Mississippi brings together for the first time almost one hundred of Bosse's most stunning images. These photographs-tracing the river from Minneapolis to St. Louis-capture the Mississippi as it was being transformed from an untamed natural wonder to a modern commercial highway. Presenting the wagon and railroad bridges, the towns and villages along the banks, and the steamboats that served them, Bosse's images depict the river at the fulcrum between the nostalgic era recorded by Mark Twain and the coming century of industrial development and environmental change, including the alterations wrought by the navigation projects of the Army Corps.
Bosse used the cyanotype process, which produced large-format photographs in crisp, vivid blue tones. This volume offers high quality reproduction with new captions providing the location and significance of each image, as well as historical context. Also included here is a detailed reproduction of Bosse's rare landmark map of the river, first published in 1887-88, giving the reader with a fascinating guide to the historic Upper Mississippi.
Views on the Mississippi is certain to delight and surprise those interested in nineteenth-century America, life on the Mississippi River, the environment, and fine photography everywhere.
Mark Neuzil is associate professor of journalism and mass communication and environmental studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Henry Peter Bosse (1844-1903), a German immigrant and grandson of a great Prussian war hero, worked as a mapmaker and photographer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1874 until his death. [via]