The California gold rush was the first major event in American history to be documented in depth by photography. This fascinating volume offers a fresh, comprehensive, and critical look at the people, places, and culture of that historical episode as seen through daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of the era. After gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848, thousands made the journey to California, including daguerreotypists who established studios in cities and towns and ventured into the gold fields in specially outfitted photographic wagons. Their images, including portraits, views of cities and gold towns, and miners at work in the field, provide an extraordinary glimpse into the evolution of mining culture and technology, the variety of nationalities and races involved in the mining industry, and the growth of cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento. Including numerous images published here for the first time, this book provides an extraordinary glimpse into the transformation of the American West. Hardcover, 168 pages.