J.A. Sherriff Collection.

J.A. Sherriff.

1874-1898, bulk 1885-1890.

267 negatives (240 glass, 27 paper); 5 x 8 in.

Negatives: various numbers from 44-16620, including paper negatives 5505/0-22, 9756/A, and 9762/1.

San Diego History Center
Booth Historical Photograph Archives
P.O. Box 81825
San Diego, CA 92138

Transfer from Union Title Insurance and Trust Company, 1979.

Glass and paper negatives extremely fragile, access restricted to copy film negatives and modern photographic prints served for reference purposes.

For permission to reproduce or publish, contact the curator of the Booth Historical Photograph Archives of the San Diego Historical Society. Reproduction or publication of any part of this collection must include the following information next to the image(s) or in a special section of credits: J.A. Sherriff Collection, San Diego History Center, Booth Historical Photograph Archives.

Four reference books with modern photographic prints from copy negatives are provided for reference use. Copy film negatives are available for all original glass and paper negatives. Some original photographic prints by J.A. Sherriff can be found in various San Diego History Center photograph collections. Some photographs published in: Portrait of a Boom Town: San Diego in the 1880’s by Larry Booth, Roger Olmstead, and Richard F. Pourade ([San Diego, Calif.]: San Diego History Center, 1977). Forms part of: Union Title Insurance Collection.

Born in 1828, J.A. (John Alexander) Sherriff came from Canada to San Francisco in 1865 and worked in a photographer’s studio for the next 10 years. In 1876, he moved to San Diego where he purchased the studio of Charles P. Fessenden, one of San Diego’s first commercial photographers. Sherriff bought San Diego land and profited from the boom in the 1880s. He retired in 1896 and sold his photographic business to Herbert R. Fitch. The last San Diego City and County Directory listing for J.A. Sherriff was in 1903.

Photographs by early San Diego photographer J.A. Sherriff include chiefly scenic views and some portraits that chronicle San Diego’s boom and bust years from around 1885 to 1890. They show San Diego cityscapes and commercial street scenes, parades on 5th Street, Horton House, and various businesses, many with the owners or employees posing in front, including hotels, the First National Bank, C.E. May Harness Shop, Witherby and Johnson Undertakers, The Hole In the Wall saloon, and Go Ban Japanese Bazaar. There are also views of Coronado and Hotel del Coronado before, during, and after construction; ships, boats, wharves, and bathhouses around San Diego Bay; Mission San Diego de Alcala; First Baptist Church; U.S.-Mexico boundary marker; railroad cars and locomotives; land sales and auctions; an ostrich farm; school children; Stonewall Mine near Cuyamaca; La Jolla’s shoreline; and Escondido.

Hotel del Coronado (Coronado, Calif.) — Photographs.
Mission San Diego de Alcala (San Diego, Calif.) — Photographs.
City & town life — California — San Diego.
Parades — California — San Diego.
Commercial facilities — California — San Diego.
Commercial streets — California — San Diego.
Business enterprises — California — San Diego.
Piers & wharves — California — San Diego.
Railroads — California — San Diego.
Real estate development — California — San Diego.
Coronado (Calif.) — Photographs.
San Diego (Calif.) — Photographs.
United States — Boundaries — Mexico.


Negatives Description
Photograph reference book: J.A. Sherriff Collection, No. 1
44-1309 Contains copy prints from 45 negatives. Subjects include various views of Coronado, including Hotel del Coronado before and during construction, the boat house, beach, and Del Coronado Bakery; Arlington, Grand, and Orange Avenue hotels; Mission San Diego de Alcala, the courthouse, and other buildings; National City, Pacific Coast, and Santa Fe wharves and other waterfront views; Russ School [i.e San Diego High School], a parade on 5th Street, and a studio portrait of Elisha S. Babcock’s sons.
Photograph reference book: J.A. Sherriff Collection, No. 2
1310-1435 Contains copy prints from 58 negatives. Subjects include San Diego cityscapes and commercial street scenes from the 1880s and 1890s; businesses, many with the owners or employees posing in front, including Chase’s Music House, Witherby and Johnson Undertakers and Embalmers, Palace Crockery Store, C.F. Francisco, and Park Hotel; construction of the First National Bank Building on the corner of 5th and E streets and an interior view of the San Diego Trust and Savings Bank; Horton Plaza and Horton House; Mission San Diego de Alcala; Mission Valley in 1887; La Jolla caves; an interior view of tent lodgings for tourists in 1886 [at Coronado’s Tent City?] and a G.A.R. encampment near Mt. Hope Cemetery; also, coal bunkers and a California Southern locomotive.
Photograph reference book: J.A. Sherriff Collection, No. 3
1436-1853 Contains copy prints from 61 negatives. Subjects include San Diego cityscapes and commercial street scenes from the 1880s and 1890s; businesses, many with the owners or employees posing in front, including C.E. May Harness Shop, Marcus Cohen next to The Hole In the Wall saloon, City of Paris, and First National Bank; the Boston Raisin Ranch near El Cajon and an ostrich farm; Hubbard Brickyard and Stonewall Mine; land auctions in Morena and Point Loma; Pacific Beach; group portraits of school children on the beach and next to a [school?] building; a crowd of people at a barbecue; Coronado Beach Railroad; the cruiser USS Charleston, Chilean steamer Itata, and Mexican sailing ship Democrata; U.S. Army barracks at Kettner and Market streets; and a crowd gathered at the construction site of Turnverein, a German athletic association.
Photograph reference book: J.A. Sherriff Collection, No. 4
1854-16620 Contains copy prints from 78 negatives. Subjects include waterfront views, including Chinese junks, passenger ship SS Santa Rosa, SS Tallac, Santa Fe and Pacific Coast wharves; men and women in bathing suits posing in front of a bathhouse on 5th Street; St. James and Florence hotels; businesses, many with the owners or employees posing in front, including First National Bank, Cherry and Savage, Go Ban Japanese Bazaar, Handley and Macowsky, and Graham and Steiner in Escondido; views of Coronado, including the ferry, railroad, foundry, Masons lodge, botanical garden, and Hotel del Coronado during and after construction; a studio portrait of the Hamilton brothers; San Diego, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Railroad locomotive and passenger cars and San Diego’s first electric railroad cars; U.S.-Mexico boundary marker; First Baptist Church; a Luiseno Indian dance at 3rd and A streets in 1890; Southwest Institute; Cedros Island Mining Company; and the manager of the San Diego Branch of the Pacific Coast Land Bureau, Robert J. Pennell, sitting in front of a tent at La Jolla.
Paper negatives
5505/0-22, 9756/A, and 9762/1 Copy negatives from 27 paper negatives. Subjects include an ostrich farm; saddled horse; rural scenes; cliffs and caves along La Jolla shoreline; people on the beach, a land sale, and views of Escondido, including Graham and Steiner and Hotel Escondido.