Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Century Story - The Cover-Up by the National Park Service, Stephen Mather, Horace Albright and Ansel Adams



Today, we live in a world of Greed, Deception and Avarice.  This was created by men and women who saw only their own ambitions, ignoring every value which makes us human.  

It is time to understand them and change our direction. 



Pillsbury made and showed the first nature movie in 1909 at the Pillsbury Studio in Old Village.

Determined that people see the similarities between all life, he filmed 500 separate species
of wildflowers in just Yosemite, using his newly invented lapse-time camera in 1912.

And yet you have never heard of him or his accomplishments.

No Centennial for the first-ever Nature Movie, 1909, shown in Yosemite

No Centennial for the first-ever change in policy by showing one film. 
October 14 - 16 -  Superintendents Conference,  Yosemite 
(How often has THAT happened in history?)

Produced the First Lapse-Time Camera - The Wildflowers
        
First showing Lapse-Time Nature Movie - 1912.

Is it possible these accomplishments were overlooked?

Nope.  

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Have a Joyful Season and a Blessed New Year


There Comes a Time for the Facts

Arthur C. Pillsbury was a genius who changed our world and launched a movement to give all of us an understanding of our natural world - and ourselves.  

Stephen Mather was a psychopath whose only success in life was self-dealing and other felonies.  Get the Facts.

Merry Christmas

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster




Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Wildflower Man of Yosemite, Arthur C. Pillsbury



By Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, granddaughter of Arthur C. Pillsbury

For over a century the Mariposa Gazette has been covering this story, important to those of us who love Yosemite Valley.  The people who worked there, lived there, and build the human history, along with the original Miwok inhabitants are well known to Mariposa. 

This article begins with a story which includes David Curry, his family, Arthur C. Pillsbury, and the mission which drew him to the Valley and the roots of the National Park System.  Along with covering the day-to-day activities of people in Yosemite, the Mariposa Gazette ran articles about people and events of note, as did other local papers of the time.  Assembled, we see a lapse-time film on the lives of individuals.

On May 24, 1924 the Mariposa Gazette published an article by E. G. Reynolds titled, “Interesting Out-Door Men, Arthur C. Pillsbury, the Photographer Artist of Yosemite Valley.” 

Readers of the Mariposa Gazette perused a short biography, with accompanying sketch of Arthur C. Pillsbury. A brief overview of the plucky innovator providing insights from his college years at Stanford University, to plans for the new Pillsbury Studio then being built on what today is the footprint occupied by the Yosemite Visitor’s Center.   The Studio built by Pillsbury included an auditorium with seating for 375 people so that, as was printed in the Mariposa Gazette in 1924 “visitors may have opportunity to view Mr. Pillsbury’s moving pictures.   

The first of these films, recognizable today as a Nature Movie, was shown in 1909 at the Studio of the Three Arrows, or the Pillsbury Studio in Old Village.  This use of film stunned viewers.  In 1910, Pillsbury’s film shows & narration were regular attractions to the Valley, put on several times a week on the porch of the Studio.  As a small child, my dad’s first job was sweeping up the porch in the morning starting when he was eight years old. 

Father and his sister, Grace, were raised in Yosemite and would remember it as their childhood home. 

The old studio was small and cramped.  Dad told me when he was running the postcard machine there, beginning when he was around 15 in 1918, Ansel Adams, who worked there as a janitor, took the photographic workshops offered, instead of wages. Adams kept tripping over the machine and spoiling post cards, Dad told me.   

As small as it was, as many as ten people worked there at one time to wait on tourists, frame pictures, assemble products, tint photos, including the sets of Flower Specimen Cards sold     both as sets in finely finished wooden boxes and enclosed in a cardboard envelope.  There was always something new to be seen and purchased, which kept tourists coming back in after film showings to look.

The ‘staff’ was comprised mostly of students from Stanford and Berkeley along with local young people.  Young men and women, they occupied the small tents clustered in the area in back of the Studio, spreading back to also enclose the Yosemite Chapel. 

It was different in the new Pillsbury Studio at New Village. Measuring 40X60 feet, not including the auditorium, the building was designed of granite and logs.  Reynolds described this as, “conforming to the general scheme of architecture for the village.”

PHOTO OF THE PILLLSBURY STUDIO - New Village BYU Collection

Pillsbury had received, according to the article, a 15-year concession in the Valley.  This was longer than any business except the Yosemite Park & Curry Company (YP&CC) then headed by Don Tresidder, husband of Mary Curry. 

To obtain this concession, Pillsbury had rendered invaluable services to the Park Service for its campaign to establish the National Park Service.  Among these services was a showing of Pillsbury films, accompanied by a lecture presented to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on October 21, 1915, the Washington Post reporting, “Members of the National Press Club and their guests were taken on a tour of Yosemite National Park by Arthur Pillsbury, the California photographer, with the help of the pictures taken by himself of this wonderful country from seemingly impossible points.  Mr. Pillsbury added to these pictures a description of the grandest playground in the world.

The brief report goes on to mention, “At the conclusion of his lecture, Stephen T. Mather, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, in charge of national parks, spoke of the good roads movement now being conducted by his department.”   Mather was determined to establish himself as Director of a separate agency within the Department of the Interior to run the National Parks, but this would have nothing to do with the roads.



Who Was Arthur C. Pillsbury?

The article appearing in the Mariposa Gazette began with Pillsbury at Stanford.  While at Stanford, the article relates, Pillsbury had drawn attention with his mid-1890s photos of the first inter-class “rush” using a small vest-pocket Kodak which cost him $5. Participating students were still counting their bruises from the rush, while Pillsbury began developing his films. The set of sixty-four snapshots, taken in one hour, were reported as, “every one of them good,” and generated a strong demand from other students.  This early instance of photo-journalism sold over $100 worth of the snapshots, all printed by his own hand.  Pillsbury developed the film in the dark-room he had rigged up, very unofficially, on the unfinished top floor of Encina Hall. 

The Mariposa Gazette, which interviewed Pillsbury quoted him as saying, “I never will forget those pesky little solio prints,” says Arthur C. Pillsbury, the artist photographer of Yosemite Valley. “Every one had to be squeegeed and I was heartily sick of them before I was through, but they brought in the money.”  


PHOTO FROM STANFORD RUSH BY PILLSBURY
Rush Photo from solio Pillsbury College Album AC Pillsbury Foundation

This minor, but amusing incident in Pillsbury’s life, points to his application of the technology of photography which would not be recognized by the term “photojournalism’ until 1925.  Today these images would be categorized as Street Journalism, a form of photojournalism.  

Not long before, on December 12, 1892, we learn from The Daily Palo Alto, another local paper which published information about people, that Pillsbury had purchased a “new movie making instrument,” (a movie camera).  This would also be used to generate income by the young entrepreneur for recording sports events and, after 1895, for making nature movies.   

In addition to attending Mechanical Engineering classes, Arthur C. Pillsbury had opened a photography studio and bicycle shop. This was necessitated by the fact his parents could not afford to finance college educations for himself and his older brother, Ernest Sargent Pillsbury, who would follow his parents into practice as a physician. 

Arthur Pillsbury’s parents had relocated to California from Brooklyn, New York, where his mother, Dr. Harriet Foster Pillsbury, had received her medical degree, awarded in 1880.  The family lived in the barn located on their fruit farm, while building their home on the farm, located just outside Auburn, California. 

The kids called their mother Dr. Mama.  They understood their mother had decided to obtain a medical degree because so many women needed services which would not be provided otherwise.  Women being attended by a male doctor would not ask questions, and male physicians were constrained from offering information.  But women doctors could, in the privacy of their practice, provide such information, and did.  This answered the crying need for women to understand about their bodies, pregnancy, and the methods by which a woman could control when she wanted to have a child.  Otherwise, these subjects were closed to them. 

The rights of women to self-determination and full exercise of the individual freedom inborn to all of humanity were being denied to women.  It is easy to overlook this now, after the battles have been fought and mostly won.  But Transcendentalists had advocated freedom for everyone.  By taking up this kind of practice, Dr. Mama knew she was breaking the law, but recognized a higher authority.  Arthur Pillsbury would demonstrate this in how he ran his business, which included women routinely, and by making fun of accepted gender styles in clothing.  Pillsbury championed pants for women to explore Yosemite, and also held a contest in 1916 encouraging men to dress like women in bathing suits of the day.  The young men you see were mostly working at the Studio or taking photo workshops there.

PHOTOS OF 1916 BEAUTY CONTEST AND GIRLS IN PANTS – Grace Album – AC Pillsbury Foundation
Contest and Girls in Pants for the first time, the first figure on the Left is AC, wearing a wig, two students and last, Grace

Also active in the First Congregationalist Church of Auburn, Dr. Harlin Pillsbury served as Treasurer there until the family relocated to the Stanford area, where Drs. Harlin and Harriet started a small hospital. 

Both Pillsbury sons, Ernest and Arthur, could study whatever interested them, as well as attending the local Normal school.  The family remained close all their lives, tied by bonds of affection and commitment.   

On December 12, 1892, The Daily Palo Alto reported that, “Pillsbury,`96 is at work during his spare time on a pneumatic tire safety bicycle, which, when completed, will weigh only twenty- eight pounds. The framework of the wheel is made in a somewhat novel way and is of steel tubing. Pillsbury intends to make everything in connection with the machine except the tires, which he will get ready made."

By February 14, 1893, A. C. Pillsbury was the Rambler Bicycle agent, and business at his shop was brisk.  The same paper reported in December that year, “Pillsbury & Co. are making a new tandem bicycle one of the lightest roadsters ever run was made by Mr. Pillsbury and is used by him daily. Its weight is 17 pounds.”

During this period Pillsbury applied his mechanical skills to new products, which he cheerfully reported in his partial autobiography.  “The business grew rapidly, soon I was buying, selling + renting, and even building special kinds. I designed the engine and built the first motorcycle in California.   It was air cooled and without cooling rings, but it ran, even if it did burn our racing trunks when we trained for the  inter-collegiate races, then came a sociable wheel which was quite the rage, it had a wide handle bar, a saddle post, to a double set of cranks, a trip around the Stanford Quad with a pretty girl beside you would almost  break  up the classes.”
One can only imagine how A.C.’s youthful interest in all parts of the world around him was viewed by the school administration and professors.  While still living in Auburn, California, Pillsbury had been cross-breeding exotic types of chickens, selling the resulting eggs and off-spring as part of his inquiries in Biology. 
Arthur C. Pillsbury had learned early that authorities were often mistaken.
He recognized at age 13 he would need to see beyond what was then possible, to understand the inner workings of the systems within living things.  A. C. learned about microscopes as a small child, because his parents used them in their practice as physicians. 
The couple brought two microscopes when they came to California in 1883, the first such instruments to enter the state.   A. C. knew he was not seeing a living example of life on slides, but something dead, the life removed from it.  Producing a thin enough sample to be viewed, was a problem which he would solve while at Stanford; yet he was intrigued with seeing movement of life.
He was at the same time, intellectually alive to all parts of the world around him, a highly skilled mechanic and machinist, and an intellectual who carried with him small books of the classics, including Thoreau and Emerson.  Both Transcendentalist men had been well known to his family personally.  One of Emerson’s sons worked as a teacher in the co-educational school his grandparents ran in Sandown, New Hampshire. He integrated these innovative insights into running businesses, all of which were highly profitable.  Giving people what they wanted for reasonable prices and good quality, were standards followed in all of his businesses.  In addition, his salespeople were able to provide a flow of information which was both interesting and informative.  These elements were always the basis on which his success was founded.
He was a small man, standing about 5’5” in height, and describing himself in his partial autobiography as ‘stocky’. 
This self-perception came in comparison to his older brother, who was extremely thin and lanky, as was his father, grandfather and great-grandfather.  Dr. Harlin Henry Pillsbury, A.C.’s father, was the descendant of Transcendentalists, as was his mother, Dr. Harriet Foster Pillsbury.
In the previous generation, Benjamin Lewis Pillsbury and his wife, Sarah Jane Sargent Pillsbury, had maintained a stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves, while running the first co-educational high school in New Hampshire.  Their two daughters attended Mt. Holyoke College, the first of the Seven Sisters. All of the Seven Sisters were the work of women and men who lived the values of equality to end the exclusion of women from higher education.  
In 1895, a Bicycling Club was organized at Stanford.  Pillsbury would ‘Letter’ in Bicycling, and soon be exhibiting a new safety light. A.C.’s personal College Album contained multiple images of people on bicycles. 

PHOTO – AT PILLSBURY CO. BIKE SHOP ON TRIPLET BIKE, AC, KITTY AND ERNEST – AC College Album – AC Pillsbury Foundation

By April 19, The Palo Alto News announced that, “A. C. Pillsbury & Co., was building a large two-story store and flat in the lot occupied by their present store and the lot adjoining.”  This became necessary because his two businesses were growing rapidly. 

Pillsbury was also planning for a trip which would change his life, a journey by bicycle to Yosemite and Kings River Valley, with a friend and classmate, Frank Watson; and his cousin Bernard Lane.  The idea of visiting Yosemite sprang from a suggestion by Dr. Mama’s old associate, Susan B. Anthony, who was making her last trip to California that year. 

The young men, the paper reported, would carry with them, “their camping outfits, consisting of aluminum cooking utensils, 32 calibre rifle and shotgun combined, blanket, camera and fishing tackle, whole outfit weighing about ten pounds apiece. They expect to be gone about three weeks and anticipate a pleasant trip. Mr. Pillsbury will ride a 16 - pound rambler."

Standing in a Yosemite meadow, still clasping the handles of his bicycle, wildflowers up to his waist, Arthur C. Pillsbury was immersed in the beauty surrounding him.  At that moment he fell in love with the all-encompassing glories of Yosemite, sensing the connections between all living things.  He was a man who had found his life mission. 

Returning to Stanford, he turned his mind to making the living reality of all life accessible to all.  On November 28 The Palo Alto Times reported, “An Ingenious Piece of Work"...and it was for Mr. A.C. Pillsbury, our ingenious young bicycle man, to first introduce one [microtome] of domestic manufacture." Microtomes [are] used to cut insects so they can be seen in microscope."

Technologies of all kinds, many extensions of photography, were his tools of choice for carrying out his mission.  During this time, Pillsbury fell in love with Miss Ella C. Wing, the daughter of the professor who would be his senior advisor. 



PHOTO – ELLA – FROM AC COLLEGE ALBUM – AC Pillsbury Foundation

The two were married November 4, 1896 in San Jose.  But Ella was not enchanted when her new husband surprised her with his partnership with Julius Boysen for a photography studio in Yosemite.  Ella left him, rejecting the idea she should spend part of her time in the wilderness of Yosemite.  She began studies to become a nurse at Cooper’s Medical College, today’s Stanford Medical Center.  Soon after, Pillsbury sold his half-interest in the studio, including hundreds of photos he had taken of Yosemite, to Boysen. 

Throwing himself into work, Pillsbury produced the design of his chosen senior project, a Circuit Panorama Camera, spending the summer of 1897 in the beauties of Yosemite doing photographic work and considering the vistas which could not fit into the aspect ratio limitations of ordinary cameras.  Upon his return home he still hoped Ella would change her mind. 

Then, on August 28 he attended with his family a lecture at Nortree Hall to be given by Fernand de Journel, “To the Yukon Gold Fields - Klondike and how to get there.”  The event featured stereopticon views and promised to be interesting at a cost, per person of 50 cents.  The event drew only a small crowd, and the photos were reported as being poor.

On September 1, Professor C.B. Wing, Ella’s adopted father and Pillsbury’s Senior Advisor, returned to Stanford from a trip.  Pillsbury showed the design to his father-in-law, to be told tersely, not to bother to build it because it could not work, and that Ella was planning on having their marriage annulled.   A.C. built the camera.  It worked.  

Fired with enthusiasm for the challenge of photographing the unfolding action in the Yukon, The Palo Alto Live Oak notes on 8 September, “It is reported that A.C. Pillsbury will leave in a few days to try his fortune in the Klondike gold region."
Ella obtained her annulment on November 25, 1898, remaining single for the rest of her life, and continuing to work as a nurse.  She had finally told her husband she did not think herself suited to marriage with anyone, and why.  He respected her wish and held the reason confidential. 
Pillsbury closed his stores, sold off his inventories, including the Stanford Rush photos, and equipment and prepared to be gone for two years.  His father, Dr. H. H. Pillsbury decided to accompany him.  The family was concerned about his sudden decision.  The following report appeared in The Palo Alto Times on January 25: 
“A.C. Pillsbury accompanied by his father, Dr. Harlin Henry Pillsbury, leaves tomorrow [Tuesday, January 25] for the mining regions of Alaska.  Mr. Pillsbury's gasoline launch will be shipped to Seattle, from which place the launch will be employed as a means of conveyance to Dyea.  It is expected that this voyage will consume about a month's time. as stops will be made at a number of Indian villages for the purpose of photographing.  This ocean trip is a twenty-foot gasoline launch is considered a perilous undertaking by many, but Mr. Pillsbury, who is skilled in handling the boat, laughs at the idea of danger.
From Dyea the launch will be taken over the Chilkoot Pass by means of the gasoline engine and a tackle system which Pillsbury has invented.  Mr. Pillsbury goes to the Klondike primarily as the representative of Eastern magazines with mining as an incidental.
He will not, however, refuse to interest himself in any gold bonanza which he may run across.  He is an expert photographer and carries with him the most complete photographic outfit yet taken into the Klondike country.  He has a liberal contract with Frank Leslies' publications for a series of views.
Dr. Pillsbury will probably return to Palo Alto next fall while Arthur plans to remain away two years.  The TIMES joins their host of friends in wishing them a safe and profitable trip."

The version of the story which A. C. wrote himself, included in his Partial Autobiography, is somewhat different. 
“I procured a 22-foot gasoline launch and with almost no knowledge of boating equipped it as a photographic boat, packed film paper, chemicals, etc. in water tight cans, shipped it to Seattle, and then started through those 1500 (closer to 1,000) miles of inland channels for Alaska.
Although I knew almost nothing about the difficulties or dangers to overcome and my father who accompanied me knew less, we had the large scale charts and pilot book and managed in one way or another to find our way among the many islands and channels, we crossed Queen Charlotte Strait and Milbanke Sound, two places where there were no protecting islands, then came Dixons (Dixon) Entrance, a 45 mile ocean crossing a thousand miles from Seattle and the beginning of Alaskan water.
We made the crossing but in rounding Cape Fox, the last open water, a storm came up suddenly and blew us on shore, before we struck our cabin windows were stove in and we were almost flooded with the great waves that that went clear over the tiny boat. The tide was flood and turned just as an enormous wave, it looked 50 feet high, picked up the launch and landed it on top a reef just a little way off shore, the boat broke in two and the engine dropped out, with the anchor line we both scrambled over the rocks on shore and caught the bow from being carried off. The tide receded rapidly, and we were able to save a good deal of the wreckage, the film + cameras were not hurt, the food came ashore, the potatoes all peeled from beating on the rocks and the flour formed a crust sealing itself in.
It was in February and there was about a foot of snow on the ground. We build a cabin out of wreckage and dried out everything, the next day at low tide, we raised the engine + cleaned it up and got everything as well protected as we could. our charts were lost but I remembered an Indian village marked some ten miles down the coast. We concluded that was our only hope of rescue so on the fifth day with one dry match and just enough food for lunch I started to find it. Scrambling over rocks, through the snow and thick timber near shore, swimming an inlet 200 yds wide with my clothes on a log pushed in front of me, took all day. Just at dusk across another inlet nearly a quarter mile wide, I could see the village, shouting soon brought a canoe with half a dozen very much surprised Siwaskes.
They took me in and I was the honored village guest. A storm came up during the night, and it was the fourth day before I could rejoin my very much worried father. The wreckage was given to the Indians and they carried us and our equipment in their sloop to Mary’s Island, the custom house at the entrance of Alaskan waters.
Here was a larger launch with a disabled engine. 
I took the contract of repairing it and also bought a Columbia River open boat and put my engine into it. Some of the repair work required the use of a lathe, so in a borrowed 12 foot dingy I rowed to a cannery 110 miles away and did the machine work for both boats. The cannery people were so surprised at the job I did on their lathe they offered me a job but I was not looking for that kind of work so rowed back to Mary Island and soon had both launches running. 
The trip to Wrangle about 200 miles towing my smaller launch was made and delivery of the 35-footer to the delighted owner accomplished.  At this time my father concluded he would return to California and I cruised to the scenic parts of South Eastern Alaska, going into the bottle necked bay to Le Conte Glacier, then to the Windom + Foster glaciers and over to the Muir in Glacier bay. These trips I made alone camping on the beach at night. 

PANORAMA – NOME ALASKA JUST BEFORE WINTER 1899 from BYU Collection
Pillsbury returned home to spend Christmas with his family on December 2, arriving, according to the The Palo Alto Live Oak, “ACP brought home many fine AK photos... He had the good fortune to procure from another picture taking exhibitor one of the finest photographic outfits that money and skill can produce.  He expects to return to Alaska after Christmas.”
And he did.  In 1899, Pillsbury traveled to the headwaters of the Yukon River and, alone, set out on a journey of 2,600 miles down the mighty waterway photographing the opening of mining towns.  He began selling panoramas of each town taken from local mountains, and from the water.  Pillsbury established several studios in Alaska, and one in Seattle during this period. 
Pillsbury met John Muir, then aboard the Edward H. Harriman cruise, on a two-month expedition to explore the waters and coastal territory of Alaska.  On the ship, he photographed Muir, who he would encounter many times elsewhere, especially Yosemite.  Muir would later insist on having Pillsbury photos for his last book, “The Yosemite.”   The photo he took of Muir, was misattributed, which is true of so many of his images today, later published with correct attribution in Camera Craft, in 1901 in an article about John Muir by Olaf Ellison titled, “The Mountain’s Ease (John Muir)”.
Despite many attempts to persuade Muir, the famous naturalist would decline the use of film as a means to persuade America to save the Hetch-Hetchy from San Francisco land and water interests.   
Returning to live in California, A.C. relocated to the Los Angeles area, where his brother, Dr. Ernest Pillsbury, and parents were then living.  From Southern California, Pillsbury built up his business, providing images for postcards, his own and others, and photos for newspapers, magazines, and books.  The subjects included a photo chronicle of the California Missions, the Mount Lowe Railroad, most of the towns in Southern California, and Yosemite.  Pillsbury also worked as a stringer for Underwood and Underwood, a wire service. 
PHOTO OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT WITH JOHN MUIR – California Historical Society
In 1903, Pillsbury met Mr. Williams, manager of the San Francisco Examiner, who offered him a position in charge of the photographic department. A. C. held the position for three years, resigning to start the Pillsbury Picture Co., which was incorporated on March 27, less than one month before the Great Fire and Earth Quake which occurred on April 18, 1906.  


At the time, A.C. was living in Oakland and his home was fitted up with developing and printing rooms.  While at the Examiner, he also had a studio on Second Street, one block from Market Street. The shop burned on the second day.  All of Pillsbury’s effects including his priceless Alaska negatives went with it.  






On the morning of April 18th Pillsbury was in bed when, as related from his Autobiography, “the quake shook me out of bed.  It did some light damage to the house. 
I grabbed my cameras and started for San Francisco.  Fortunately, I had saved my press badge when I left the Examiner and knowing all the police in the city I could go everywhere. 
That Wednesday I covered the entire city, making 5 X 7 Graflex views and panoramas of the burning city.  It happened I was the only professional photographer who pictured the burning city. 
My newspaper experience taught me what to take.  Over 70 snap shots, and two panoramas one from the top of the Merchants Exchange Building covering the wholesale section and just at noon one from the top of the St. Francis Hotel showing almost the entire city in flames.” 

PHOTO  First Day Picture 1: 8 aspect ratio of the inventor’s Circuit Panorama Camera
“This negative 44 inches long brought in from $500 to $700 a day while the excitement lasted some six weeks.  The Panorama exhausted the film available + I took it out of the camera and carried it in my pocket leaving the camera itself in the check room of the hotel. 
It burnt up that night.  Among the snap shots was one of the burning of the Palace + Grand hotels.  The heat was so great it scorched the lens making the balsam run spoiling it and the bellows soon dropped to pieces. 
Our home was the only place that had running water and dark rooms in those troublesome times and so was soon a busy factory.  Sales men bought material in every city within 500 miles rushing it to us; Others filling orders. 
A set of pictures + a story was sent to every large paper in the U.S. and abroad.  New cameras were telegraphed for and the smoking ruins pictured every angle.” 
Over the next three days, flames swept across the city.  Efforts to make fire breaks by blowing up buildings only worsened the disaster, complicated by broken gas lines.  Over this time, Pillsbury built a set of 150 negatives which chronicle a disaster which still today awes and horrifies people.  It was inevitable, given the lack of training and preparedness of the city and government.
On the first day Pillsbury had rescued an old acquaintance from his years in Auburn who was fleeing from the fire with her brother, Jesse Banfield.   AEtheline had four brothers, three of whom would soon be working for Pillsbury.
AEtheline Banfield had lived near the Pillsbury family home in Auburn but married early to an older man named Arthur Seneca Deuel, who was a physician.  Dr. Deuel died soon after the birth of their only child, born July 16, 1892.  The boy was named Arthur for his father, Dr. Deuel.     The two were married May 13, 1906 in Marin County.  At the time of the marriage AEtheline’s son was 14. 
The funds earned over those weeks made it possible for Pillsbury to fulfill his long wish to have a studio in Yosemite.   Pillsbury purchased “The Studio of the Three Arrows” from Harold A. Taylor and Eugene Hallett, who had been operating it since 1903.  The likely reason for the sale was the increase in the yearly fee for operating in the Valley, which went from $1 in 1906 to $250 in 1907.  Taylor was a gifted photographer who would continue to come to Yosemite for many years. 
Pillsbury’s goal in establishing a studio in Yosemite began as soon as he arrived.  Over the next years he would survey the wildflowers of Yosemite, first identifying those which were best for the studies he would do with the lapse-time camera that he intended to design and build. 
Then, he would produce nature films which would emotionally connect the viewer to the lives of the flowers, animals, birds, waterfalls, and trees of all kinds around them.  Thinking out each problem which presented itself, he searched for ways to help us see the matrix in which all of us exist, the air which eddies around us, unseen but always present as we breathe, the clouds which carry water each flowing endlessly, and across the stones and earth which carry their own histories through time.  His intentions were not speculation, careful observation reveals his carefully planned direction, and his adjustments of mechanical technology to the life cycles of his topics. 

Arthur C. Pillsbury photographed the White Fleet both from on-board some of the vessels.  But as the Fleet entered the San Francisco Bay he had positioned himself to obtain the best image possible.   The event took place on May 6, 1908.

From the Pillsbury Autobiography: The arrival in San Francisco of our Fleet (1908) in command of Admiral {San Francisco was the last port-of-call for fleet commander Evans, still suffering from gout. He was relieved by Rear Adm. C. M. Thomas.) was an event of great moment. Photographers from as far as Chicago gathered to picture the arrival and who ever got the best pictures was sure of a great regard. The Examiner retained me for three days, with publication rights of everything I made. The fleet was to steam into the Golden Gate in single formation of the battle ships, with the destroyers on either side of this line; the logical location for the picture was Alcatraz Island in mid channel and most of the camera men were there including two of my men.
I had inspected every possible location + decided on Point Bonita, at the far outside northern entrance of the Golden Gate. There was a beautiful arch rock in the fore ground, and the setting most ideal. the rivalry was keen among the camera men, each watching the other. I had not even told the Examiner what I was going to do, only that I wanted a good launch at daylight and had obtained my permit from the army officer in charge of the fortifications.
Luck was with me. I was the only photographer on the Point. and the fleet came steaming in to the Golden Gate in perfect formation also in the northern channel nearest me the sky was overcast but the light perfect and my trusty panorama did its self proud, the fleet steamed on by me, the grey fog settled down and the proud procession disappeared into it. The other camera men could only see two or three of the battle ships at once, and my picture of the hundreds taken was the only one showing the entire fleet entering the Gate. It was so good the Examiner ran it full size 3 feet long across both pages and its sale almost equaled that of the fire pictures; it was a thing of beauty, as well as of historical value.”
The steps he planned began with his nature films, the first showed in 1909 in late summer on the porch of his studio after dark. Pillsbury used postcards to jumpstart attendance at his showings.

That same year, Pillsbury was active in the newly formed Pacific Aero Club, fascinated by the possibilities of flight, especially as these applied to photography.  There, in June 1909 he displayed “The Fairy” his newly purchased balloon, purchased from renowned early aviator,  Roy Knabenshue, who had built it.  The Fairy had a 10,000-cubic foot capacity, the smallest manned balloon in the Bay area.  Shown with it was Pillsbury’s panoramic automatic camera built to be used from the balloon.  From:  Wooden Wings Over the Golden Gate, Page 5 – 37.  
From the Pillsbury Autobiography: “It would seem that after the stress and adventure of my two years in Alaska, and the harrowing experiences attendant on the earth-quake and the burning of San Francisco that I might reasonably anticipate a season of comparative peace, as peaceful as the conduct of any business allows. this I found was not to be, for now followed what I mentally tabulate as tiny arial flight,” I had watched Jackson of Chicago, one of my competitors on the arrival of the fleet (White Fleet, 1908) send his camera up with a kite; I had experimented myself and made a few good pictures but did not consider the method dependable. Still air pictures had great possibilities and I wanted them. Roy Knabenshue, and Beachey, afterwards the star of the airplane, were making a cut-away ascension in what had been a captive balloon. I went with them and made my first air pictures we sailed over the city and the bay crossed the Berkeley hills and landed in a little meadow, all very fine with two such experts, but as it was foggy, the pictures were not so good.

Pillsbury was determined to have aerial photos.  After acquiring the Fairy from Roy Knabenshue, he waited for calm weather to capture aerial photos of the rebuilding of San Francisco.  The Day was to be October 30 with the Fairy tethered from a tugboat in the Bay. 

Marriage to AEtheline was comfortable for both of them.  AEtheline filled her time with a round of club meetings and time spent with her family.  A train of Banfield family members, young and old passed through their home but none of them shared Pillsbury’s interests, such as flight. 

Arthur had learned not to tell AEtheline when he planned an expedition she might consider risky.  Since this definition covered nearly everything he enjoyed he learned to be careful about what he told her.  Not really knowing your spouse is one of the hazards of suddenly assumed bonds of marriage. 

This was true of the flight of his aerial balloon acquired in 1909,” the Fairy,” planned out carefully for October 30, 1909.  When the Fairy rose from the deck of the tugboat in San Francisco Bay the wind was in abeyance.  A glorious day of sunshine and calm was exactly what Pillsbury needed to make the multiple panorama photos of the rebuilding of the great city, now rising from its ashes. 

From Pillsbury Autobiography:

“The Fairy, I named her, on account of her ethereal beauty. This I bought, and with the help of  one of my workmen, took it to the gas works at the foot of Powell St. for inflation. Next we filled our sand bags, stretched out the balloon and put it inside the net, which we placed inside out + had to change but finally we inflated it. then walked it over some telegraph wires to the bay, where  we tied it to a launch with about 500 feet of rope. Luck was with us, for it was not only a beautiful day, but what is much more unusual, in San  Francisco, a nearly windless one.
These conditions were ideal and I made picture after picture as the launch towed the balloon down the water front. This was a year after the fire and the city was rapidly recovering from the conflagration. I finished my film and signaled the launch to start back; in the mean time the wind had spring up and the balloon instead of being vertically over the launch was blown off on an angle of 45 degrees. Starting back, against the increasing wind the basket kept diving into the bay. So I was compelled to hold the cameras in the air to keep them dry. The wind increased in force and between the gusts the launch crew hauled in the rope & I passed the cameras to them.  The wind had now reached such velocity that the balloon acted as a huge sail and made progress by the launch impossible. Seeing my predicament, a launch was sent to my assistance from a battle ship then in  harbor,  but before it reached me, the rope parted close to the basket and I, shouting “Goodbye” to the anxious launch crew, shot up into the air in the basket whose sole ballast and equipment was  the one small man who was I. Although this was my first solo aerial flight, I realized that  to  prevent an explosion in the higher air I must open the neck of the balloon which had been tied at its inflation.
Accomplishing this in my besopped condition was far from easy or pleasant, but I finally managed to climb onto the ring above my head and untie the string closing the bag. I assure you the shivers chasing themselves over me were not all caused by the increasingly cold air.  It was about 4:30 it had taken all day to do the things that afterwards I could do in an hour and a half. 
I was wet + cold, the balloon shot up over 10,000 feet, a most wonderful sight, the entire peninsula of San Francisco was  below me. I could see the cities San Mateo, Palo Alto + San Jose to those south-ward Alameda Oakland + Berkeley across the bay Tamalpais (Mount) and the Golden Gate to the Westward and the Faralines (Farvaijone Islands) in the distance. I sat with my feet over the edge of the basket in the sun and every five minutes made notes on what I could see. about 5 as I drifted low over the bay I ran into a cloud bank, that condensed the gas + the balloon began to sink I had no ballast, but bits of paper throw out shot up above me. I was still over the bay and it looked a lost balloon + a dunking if nothing worse. Just before it struck the land breeze caught me and I came down in the tulles a hundred yards in shore, we bounced up 50 feet came down again in a slough plowing through it making a big splash + a thump climbed out went through a fence knocking it down and across the marches as fast as a horse could run, finally the basket dropped into a slough + the overhanging edge caught the basket, + by sitting in the water I held the balloon down till the bas had escaped, this all took less time than it  does to write it.
Well I climbed out looking like a mud hen without a hat, mine went on the first bounce, the balloon was not even wet, it had stayed in the air while I acted as the dragging anchor. I folded it up and was just starting with  it on my back when some engineers on the Bumbarton cut off just being built who saw me come down and then disappear as the balloon emptied its self of gas, came out to find me, they came in a row boat up one of the sloughs, even then my troubles were not over, we started for the Rail road the tide  went out + left us stranded in the mud, so holding clothes tied around our necks we waded ashore dragging one leg after the other through the thick mud, at last we reached shore and the R.R. a train came along and I sat in  the smoker by the stove to thaw out.
At home Mrs. Pillsbury knew nothing about my adventures the papers had telephoned saying I had made a noteworthy ascension and asked for pictures but did not say I had not been found. One reporter was still there and was busy getting my life story, when I popped in covered with dried mud. She seemed quite disappointed, to think I was alive. She had lost her scoop;
I called up the Examiner and their city editor Jimmy Nourse told me he had just won $20.00 on me, from “Heine” of the Marine Exchange, who had watched the balloon break loose and shoot up above the clouds through his marine glasses. Heine had bet Jim Norse I would never come back, when Norse  took the bet Heinie claimed Norse must have some late dope on it, Norse was a good friend and enjoyed telling me about it.
The evening papers had carried heavy headlines saying I was lost in the sky from which their was no return. The morning papers said I had ascended into heaven with my films, had with angels for them and came out victorious. The film had got wet and sealed themselves up the  moisture only going in an eighth of an inch, when they were cut apart and developed, they came out wonderfully well and we had a big sale on them.
Everyone said I had cut loose for the publicity story, but they bought them just the same. All the old time aeronots (aeronauts) seemed to think I was an experienced balloonist after that + they came to me for advice, this was before the days of the aeroplane,”
The evening papers had carried heavy  headlines saying I was lost in the sky from which their was no return. The morning papers said I had ascended into heaven with my films, had with angels for them and came out victorious. The film had got wet and sealed themselves up  the  moisture only going in an eighth of an inch, when they were cut apart and developed, they came out wonderfully well and we had a big sale on them.

In January of 1910, Pillsbury was in Los Angeles filming and photographing the Dominguez Air Show from 300-feet in the air.  Also attending was his brother, Dr. Ernest Sargent Pillsbury, and his nephews and niece.  Dr. Ernest had participated in the first road rally sponsored by the Automobile Club of California in 1900 and enjoyed the edge technologies of the naught years with his brother.  Arthur Pillsbury spent the evenings with his brother and family, which included their mother, Dr. Mama.  Their father, Dr. Harlin, had died in December of 1907 at Ernest and Sylvia’s home in Hollywood. 
Arthur’s article for Sunset Magazine includes some of his photos and provided an overview of the event and this was also covered in his partial Autobiography.  
“I took my “Fairy” to Los Angeles had it captive at the first flights of Paulham, Beachey and others and made the first pictures from above looking down on them as they circled below me. Knabenshue had a dirigible he had made. It was a long limber sausage like affair and would cave in at the flew (sp?) when under way. he walked a pole underneath to keep its nose pointed up or down when the small engine pushed it forward and all sorts  of other queer contraptions were being tried out. one big three storied  affair got up headway enough to run a couple of hundred yards across the field then tipped over.
Beachey flew from a circle and around the field landing in the same circle. Paulham flew an monoplane with the aerolons (ailerons) strapped showing he did not need the device patented by the Wright Bros.
“The Examiner was using my pictures + I wanted a set from the ground so one of the regular photographers went up the second day which turned out very windy and the little Fairy whipped back + forth on her anchor line. the first time it almost touched the ground the photographer lost his camera and the next time out he tumbled himself which ended his aireal ambitions.
Charlie Field editor of Sunset Magazine made a cut away ascension + when they landed they had to pry his hands loose from the guy rope they were so cramped from hanging on.
                 A week later all the aviators came to S.F. for exhibition flights and prepared to do the same thing in pictures for the S.F. Examiner. We inflated in the lee of a row of trees and some half dozen of us walked the balloon across the field to the starting point. the wind was shipping it so much  we  could hardly hold it, suddenly it ripped from top to bottom and what had  been  a beautiful silk bag 25 feet in diameter disappeared like a bubble.”

This scene was played out not long after Pillsbury showed the first nature movie ever made at his studio in Yosemite.  He does not mention the event, which thereafter was repeated several times a week the next season, in early 1910.  We know this because Pillsbury had had post cards printed which provides a unique form of advertising. 

PHOTO – FRONT AND BACK OF ADVERTISING POSTCARD  1910– AC Pillsbury Foundation

In 1911 Pillsbury’s life changed abruptly and permanently.  As with all major changes, some things were dropped for lack of time.  Other things became routines.  In June of that year Arthur C. Pillsbury was still active in the Pacific Aero Club and with another gentleman, Mr Kneiling, was at work building an original biplane and motor.  We believe this was designed to become an aerial photographic platform. 

Then, on September 3, Arthur Pillsbury’s brother and sister-in-law Sylvia, were killed in an auto accident on their way to celebrate their wedding anniversary with their children in Santa Barbara.  Within hours, AC was on a train on his way to meet the children, who had also been in the car, in Ventura, where the bodies had been taken. 

The court system in Los Angeles was notoriously corrupt, and what followed was a struggle for custody of the three minor children and control of the large estate which Ernest and Sylvia had left without protection as they had died intestate.  Instead of a family member, Title Insurance Company, then struggling to evade bankruptcy, was granted control of the estate. 

But what mattered most was the children.  Still in shock from watching their parents die so horribly, the three clung to their grandmother, Dr. Mama and to their Uncle Arthur.  When Title Insurance floated the idea they should have physical custody of the children, AC had the children’s possessions and family heirlooms packed up from the home in Hollywood and shipped to his house in Berkeley, taking the children out of the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Court.  He immediately sat the children down, and asked if he could adopt them.

The papers were filed, and the children ages six to 13, went into the court in Alameda County on November 13th and affirmed their wish to have their Uncle Arthur become their father.  But AEtheline would not be their mother.  She refused to join in the adoption, instead allowed to control the support money which would be allotted to the children by the Title Insurance Company.  For the time, this was not a small amount for ordinary families, but it was far less than Ernest and Sylvia had spent on their children routinely.  In today’s purchasing power this amount was $2,503.71 a month. 

The probate would not close until young Arthur turned 18 and the bodies of Ernest and Sylvia, also seized by Title Insurance and cremated, would not be buried until then.    

The requests of Title Insurance to the court document the flow of property they sold, which includes pages of stock holdings and real estate in Los Angeles along with personal property. 

The agreement between AEtheline and Arthur to obtain her consent to allow her husband to adopt the three children included his guarantee he would be the one who cared for them for six months of the year.  This is why they were raised in Yosemite at the Pillsbury Studio. 

Yosemite would always be, for them, their childhood home. 

The three went on photo shoots with their new father, who they continued to call Uncle Arthur and worked, as was expected in the Pillsbury Family.  This was true of all of the generations back to at least the Revolution.  It would be true of Young Arthur’s family as well when he married and had children of his own after earning his PhD from Stanford University in Civil Engineering.    

But having AC as a father was a magic experience for them in most ways.  Yes, they had lost much, their parents, their home, their friends.  But they had also gained amazing richness in many ways. 

Their new father included them in carrying out his experiments with new inventions, with his lapse-time work, and on his photo shoots they delighted in picnicking with him as they waited for the light and clouds to be just as he wanted. 

My own father, young Arthur, did the same with me and my siblings.  If we had any inclination we were included in his work, learning first hand about such subjects as soil chemistry and composition and water quality from a man who knew.  My father, Dr. Arthur F. Pillsbury, retired as Director of the Water Resources System for the University of California.  He was a world respected expert on this and related subjects.   When he returned from consulting jobs on which he could not take us I always received a briefing.  In this way I learned about my grandfather, who was a good man, kind, filled with a lively sense of the ridiculous and, as Dad said, “The hardest working man he had ever known.”

I was so inclined to work at a young age, too.  I had my first business, a lemonade stand, when I was six.  I kept at it until Junior High School.  In 1962, Dad took me with him when he went into the Brentwood Fire, which was still burning, so we could record burn patterns.  He was then serving on the first committee for peripheral fire danger.  

My father recounted to me experiments with kites intended to perform aerial photographs which, if they worked or not, would be followed by a finale of ice cream or other treat at a local shop with his father. 

My father followed the custom taught him by his father, ‘Uncle Arthur,’ for making Christmas a time to record their upward growth and share images with friends and family.  Father also became a highly skilled mechanic and machinist able to alter anything or invent something which did the job as a matter of course.  While at UCLA, he received from Rain Bird their new model of sprinkler.  Testing it, he realized it failed to cover the area intended and re-machined it, returning the working model, with instructions, to the company. 

When, as a family, we raised our glasses of orange juice in the morning and saluted each other with “Happy Days!”  we knew where the custom originated. 

Fatherhood, parenting, is in the love and attention provided.  At the end of his life, Father had come to realize how many people in the NPS and elsewhere had intentionally misrepresented the relationship between the children and the man who loved and cared for them.  I asked him who, in his heart and mind, was his father.  Without hesitation, but with eyes glazed with tears he told me it had been ‘Uncle.’

Grandfather had never expected to have children because he knew he was sterile.  Adopting his brother’s children would be as close as he could come to children descended from him biologically.  This mattered to him.

 Dad began learning about machining and mechanics as he watched, and then ran the first Photo Postcard Machine his father invented.  He was not yet 15. 

These experiences spanned the time from 1912 to the time my dad left for college and was no longer spending all summer in Yosemite.  By the time he was 14, he was a competent projectionist and able to provide the narrative if for some reason his father was not there for films at the Studio.

My dad shared with his new father the delight in knowing the mowing of the meadows had ceased after his father’s first lapse-time movie of flowers forming, blooming and dying was shown to the Conference for National Park Superintendents meeting in Yosemite in 1912.  ‘Uncle’ had ended the mowing of meadows, merely for horse fodder, which was destroying the wildflowers at an ever faster rate each year. 

As Grandfather aged, it was my father he called on for help.  This was a real Father – Son relationship. 

The understanding between father and son was that my dad would have the cache of materials which represented Grandfather’s life’s work.  But when Dad arrived, he discovered these materials had already been sold for $100 by AEtheline immediately after her husband had died.  She was, in fact, haggling with a prospective buyer over the grandfather clock which had been handed down to the oldest Pillsbury son since before the Revolution.  Father managed to stop the sale. 

Father made sure all of us knew and appreciated our Grandfather.  Dr. Ernest was never mentioned, and I did not see a photo of him until I encountered one in the photos family members contributed as I started to rediscover and rebuild Grandfather Arthur C. Pillsbury’s legacy.  A photo of Sylvia, his mother, always stood on Father’s dresser, however.  I came to understand Dr. Ernest was not an ideal parent, despite the family’s wealth.

The partial autobiography is included in this article so you can read the words Arthur C. Pillsbury himself wrote.  How he used technologies to create a narrative from and for the living world, is important today.

Below is a section from his Autobiography on his use of photography:
“From 1906 till 1927 I held a government photographic concession in Yosemite National Park, where in 1912 I started taking motion pictures of the wild flowers of the Sierra. I had bought an old almost worthless camera, remodeled it and began getting scenic pictures; those of the water falls were wonderful, full of action but the cliffs were not as good as still pictures having no movement except that shown by the jerky movement of all cameras of those days. I conceived the idea of making the individual pictures in the film at one or two second intervals, and at once my pictures of the cliffs sprang into life, the clouds went drifting by and the cloud shadows on the cliffs added to its life-like effect.
It took more skill as I had to judge the speed of the clouds or they would race across the screen when projected at the normal rate of 16 pictures a second, but the method had wonderful possibilities.
At this time, I had made still pictures of many of the Sierra flowers and they, like motion pictures of the cliffs lacked life and movement so I decided to do in motion pictures the life of the flowers as I had the cloud shadow movements on the cliffs. it was of course impossible to make pictures at uniform intervals by hand day + night of flowers as they opened, and out of doors the wind would blow them about + the light could not be uniform, so I designed a motor gear arranged I could get any speed I wanted transmitted through a belt to a wheel on the camera that replaced the crank. Having figured out these requirements, I made notes on the flowers when they started to open + how long it took + I knew a scene had to be very dramatic to hold the interest over 30 second. and a picture 30 second or 30 feet long contains 480 individual pictures, so if it took a flower 4-days to live its life story it was only necessary to divide the 5760 minutes in 4 days by the 480 the desired pictures which gave 12 minute intervals between each picture.
I soon found that flowers if properly handled would live and grow in my laboratory by electric light just as they do out of doors in their natural habitat. that they have their fixed regular habits just as we do; that they opened & closed at these accustomed hours. I found out I could almost set my watch by their opening and closing so regular was their accomplishment of their processes of survival.
All of these various things took a great deal of time and study to master. My training in mechanical engineering at Stanford taught me to look on each step as an engineering problem and work it out from that standpoint. the mechanical steps first, designing a motor reduction gear that would run constantly + night with the least liability of accidents, and the necessary changes of speed for the slow or fast growing flowers; if the flower grew faster or slower at certain periods of its life or if the actual dying or changing into its seed pod took too long, I must speed it up on the screen by slowing the camera down.
The first motor gear I built is still running after 20 years of service, the motor has worn out + been replaced twice but the gearing is as good as ever.
All the steps in this lapse time photography had their difficulties to overcome. the lighting, the effect of the light on the growth of the plant or flower, the tiring of the plant by the continuous 24-hour duplication of day, what its size and position would be in the camera during its entire...”
Above are the last words of Grandfather’s Partial Autobiography.  It was during this period J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and London, published Arthur C. Pillsbury’s book, “Picturing Miracles of Plant and Animal Life.”  
The book provides instructions for all his cameras, so others could build them.  What today we call ‘Open Source’ he called ‘Knowledge Commons’. He understood how innovation builds on innovation, taking the human mind to new insights.  As if he was assembling a machine, Pillsbury designed and built what we need to directly understand our world and each other.  
He believed we could accomplish anything if we had the tools.  Enjoying the beauty of nature is only the beginning.  Now, we need to understand nature and ourselves as one. 
End of Part One.