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HomeContents > People > Photographers > I.W. Taber

Born: Isaiah Taber 
Born: Isaiah West Taber 
Other: I. West Taber 
Other: I.W. Tabor 
Dates:  1830 - 1912
Born:  US, MA, New Bedford
Active:  US
American photographer who early in his career worked with his brother Freeman A. Taber with a studio in Syracuse, NY, USA !857-1864. Isiah moved to San Francisco and opened a studio there in 1871. In 1876 he took over the studio of Carleton E. Watkins. Taber continued to reprint from the negatives of Carleton E. Watkins after he went bankrupt in 1873/1874. Freeman A. Taber on March 17th 1896 patented a process for "embossed photographs" and there are "Taber bass-relief" postcards.
Some of Taber's negatives were printed by Wyland Stanley in the 1950s.
Captain S.H. Jones-Parry, My Journey Round the World via Ceylon, New Zealand, Australia, Torres Straits, China, Japan, and the United States, Two Volumes (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1881), Volume II, p.145-146.
In this travel account the visit is to the studio of "Mr. Tabor" but it is presumably a misspelling of "Taber":
I must not leave this part of my journey without a word on that for which this place bears a world-wide renown; I allude to photography. The first morning after my arrival, when I got up to take in my boots, I found outside my door two envelopes addressed to me, each containing a cabinet photograph of some evidently well-known actress, and a card requesting me to visit the studio of the sender. As I had already collected a large assortment of photographic views on my travels, I now determined to add to it a collection of portraits as specimens of the art in the States. I called at several studios to make purchases, and at each place a lovely specimen of art was gratuitously given, in addition to what I bought. I think, as I have before said, that the San Francisco portraits rank first in my collection. The photographers themselves were highly intellectual men, and I owe much to Mr. Tabor and Mr. Boyd, for many pleasant moments spent in their studios. The former took the trouble to send after me to New York a duplicate of a work of art that I had much admired in his collection. 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
San Francisco, CA, US 
[7-0] [Isaac West Taber] "Publisher"; "... Art & Photographic Gallery"; #8 Montgomery St. Issued "Pacific Coast Views"; pub. C.E. Watkins' old series stereos; pub. A.C. Varela views of So. CA; did tissue views from Watkins' negs, etc.; pub. Muybridge views of Sitka, AK. B. 30; early career unknown but came to San Francisco 64 and joined the firm of Bradley & Rulofsen; after opening his own studio, employed many staff photogs. and pub. under his own name; acquired Watkins negs. from that photographer's bankruptcy, 76. Listed in San Francisco 70-00; by 90s had studios in London and the Continent; D. 12. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the United States of America, (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

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I.W. Taber
[Portrait of Louise and Isaiah West Taber. Photograph by Isaiah West Taber.] 
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

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Internet biographies

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Internet resources

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Bancroft Library (Online Archive of California) 
Check out the search systems - they have particularly good material on-line by Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), Isaiah West Taber (1830-1912) and Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). 


Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 

In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections I.W. Taber was represented in 51 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
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