Lawrence and Houseworth

The Lawrence & Houseworth Database
This is an open access database of 1,495 historical photographs of California and Nevada reproduced from three catalog albums created during the 1860s by the renowned stereoview publishing firm of Lawrence & Houseworth.

Rights and Reproductions: To secure the right to use or reproduce photographs or other images in our collection, call (415) 957-1849 ext. 140 or email

The Lawrence and Houseworth Albums, in retrospect
from Scenes of Wonder & Curiosity:
In a confluence of forces unique in time and place, California after 1849 played host both to the growth of a new and exciting landscape and culture and to important developments in the world’s newest visual medium: photography. Among the most significant practitioners of this new art was the San Francisco firm of Lawrence & Houseworth, established in 1852. For some forty years the firm was the premier source in the West for landscapes, portraits and stereographs. Its three-volume set of images, used for the selection of prints by its customers, is one of the treasures of the rich collections of The Society of California Pioneers. The albums are, in the words of Gary Kurutz, ”without doubt the finest single pictorial record of the maturation of Northern California and the Pacific Coast following the rambunctious days of the Gold Rush and statehood.” ~ Thomas Weston Fels

For the most authoritative source on Lawrence & Houseworth see Points of Interest; California Views 1860-1870, the Lawrence & Houseworth Albums (Berkeley Hills Books & SCP, 2002) and Peter E. Palmquist’s Lawrence & Houseworth; Thomas Houseworth & Co., A Unique View of the West 1860-1886 (National Stereoscopic Association, 1980).

The Lawrence & Houseworth Albums Online
Funding for this project was generously provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services from 2003-2004 under the provision of the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) administrated by the State Librarian.

Return to collections page