Eadweard Muybridge


Historic photos show early Alaska The earliest photo in the Alaska state archives is from 1868, a year after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia.  The photo is a landscape of Sitka, and is one of many taken by Eadweard Muybridge, a photographer who was hired by the government to travel with a party inspecting Alaska’s military posts and harbors. The oldest known photograph of Alaska, however, is not in the state archives. It is part of the University of California Berkeley’s Bancroft Library collection, and was taken by Charles Ryder, a photographer who traveled through Alaska two years prior, in 1866, as part of a Western Union expedition evaluating the possibility of a polar telegraph line. Ryder’s earliest photo shows three people standing in front of a wooden building, possibly a store because of a sign on top. In the background, an impressive Alaskan mountain rises from…