River of No Return Collection
The River of No Return Collection consists of photographs created by Laura McPhee that document sites and persons in the Sawtooth Valley of Idaho, 2003-2008, related to her work as the initial Artist in Residence in the area underwritten by the Alturas Foundation, as well as project files, 2003-2014, which contain material related imagery and products from the project, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2006, and her book, River of No Return (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2009). Photographic material in the collection consists of approximately 2000 items including color and black-and-white photographic prints, transparencies, and film negatives. Project files include research, correspondence, and print lists as well as the artist’s maquette for River of No Return and multiple dummies reflecting the design evolution of the book. The collection also includes preparatory and promotional material related to exhibitions of her images.
Exterior images document sites in the Sawtooth Valley in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area of the Sawtooth National Forest, which encompasses portions of Blaine County and Custer County in central Idaho as well as the communities of Custer and Stanley.
Landscape photographs include views of the White Cloud Peaks as well as bodies of water and their surrounding areas including Alturas Lake, Champion Creek, Fisher Creek, Fourth of July Creek, Little Redfish Lake, Lost Creek, Pettit Lake, Redfish Lake Creek, Salmon River (also known as the River of No Return), Stanley Lake, and Valley Creek.
Ranches represented in imagery include Fourth of July Creek Ranch, H-Hook Ranch, Laverty Ranch, and Morgan Williams Ranch.
Enterprises documented in photographs include the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery operated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game near Stanley, the Grouse Creek Mine operated by the Hecla Mining Company in Custer, the Three Rivers Stone Quarry in Clayton, and deserted mines in Custer including the Bayhorse Lead-Silver Mine and the Clayton Silver Mine.
Discrete groups of images document forest fires in the region as well as fishing and hunting activities. The latter include the butchering of a harvested elk and examples of illegally harvested mammals, birds, and fish confiscated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Individuals with formal and informal portraits in the collection include Mark Anderson, Isaac Babcock, Robert G. Griswold, Mattie Griswold, Judy Ann Hall-Griswold, Matt Humphreys, Isobel McPhee, Gamaniel Tacza, Tom Thurber, and Rob Trahant.
- McPhee, Laura (Photographer)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Laura McPhee on the Frederick W. and Carrie S. Beinecke Fund for Western Americana, 2017.
Organized into two series: I. Photographic Material, 2003-2008. II. Project Files, 2003-2014.
40.0 Linear Feet (41 boxes)
The River of No Return Collection consists of photographs created by Laura McPhee that document sites and persons in the Sawtooth Valley of Idaho, 2003-2008, related to her work as the initial Artist in Residence in the area underwritten by the Alturas Foundation, as well as project files, 2003-2014, which contain material related imagery and products from the project, including a solo exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2006, and her book, River of No Return (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2009). Photographic material in the collection includes color and black-and-white photographic prints, transparencies, and film negatives. Project files include research, correspondence, and print lists as well as preparatory and promotion material related to exhibitions of her images and production of her book.
Laura McPhee (born 1958)
Laura McPhee is a photographer. Born in New York City and raised in central New Jersey, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Princeton University in 1980, and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1986. Her work, which ranges from portrait to landscape to still life, is widely exhibited nationally and internationally. She has been a member of the faculty at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design since 1986 and lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
- Alturas Foundation
- Black-and-white prints (photographs)
- Blaine County (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Bodies of water -- Idaho -- Sawtooth Valley -- Pictorial works
- Chromogenic color prints
- Clayton (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Color negatives
- Custer (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Custer County (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Dummies (Printed matter)
- Idaho -- Pictorial works
- Idaho. Fish and Game Department -- Pictorial works
- Inkjet prints
- Landscape photographs -- Idaho -- Pictorial works
- McPhee, Laura
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston -- Exhibitions
- Negatives (photographs)
- Sawtooth National Forest (Idaho and Utah) -- Pictorial works
- Sawtooth National Recreation Area (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Sawtooth Valley (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Stanley (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- White Cloud Peaks (Idaho) -- Pictorial works
- Guide to the Laura McPhee River of No Return Collection
- In Progress
- by Matthew Daniel Mason
- April 2018
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
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