50 Features of Special Collections: Eastman’s Originals Collection

50 for our 50th icon6/50

In celebration of the centennial of Lassen Volcanic National Park which occurs today, we are featuring our Eastman’s Originals Collection, which holds a number of historic images of the park. The Eastman Originals Collection contains photographs, negatives, and postcards for a wide variety of northern California locations and events, including dam construction, logging, mining, food processing, and community buildings and activities from circa 1890-1960.

Jervie Henry Eastman was born on July 20, 1880 in White Cloud, Michigan and moved with his family to northern California in 1886. In 1921, he moved to Susanville and established Eastman & Company as a commercial photography and post card studio. In 1936, Eastman hired Mirl Simmons, a young photographer from Hillsborough, West Virginia, to help with the postcard photography. Later, Eastman and Simmons became partners and the business expanded to provide photographic supplies to southeastern Oregon and studios in Westwood, Weed, and Susanville.

Eastman, who retired from photography in 1959 and sold his share of the business to Simmons, passed away in Susanville on February 11, 1969. Simmons ran the Eastman Studios until 1980, when he retired and sold the business to John and Shirley Castle. The Eastman’s Originals Collection (the historical postcards and negatives) was sold to Anne Fisher in 1982. She managed the collection until her retirement in 1994, when she donated it to UC Davis.

Special Collections has digitized 13,212 negatives in the collection. Those images can be viewed on Calisphere.

Several 16mm films from the collection have recently been digitized through our participation in the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP). The films, which are of scenes of Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity Counties, can be viewed here.

Cinder Cone and Butte Lake, Calif, 1938.Cinder Cone and Butte Lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park (Calif.), 1938.