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The Arthur C. Pillsbury Collection
Brigham Young University

On Monday, November  28 - Saturday, December 2nd, Melinda spent days at the Horace B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University at Special Collections viewing the Pillsbury photos, letters and other items which were sold within hours of his death.  When Dr. Arthur F. Pillsbury, Arthur C's son arrived, having driven up upon being notified his father had died suddenly, AEtheline was trying to sell the grandfather clock, which had been in the family since before the American Revolution.  

Distressed at having these essential records sold, along with all of the original cameras his father had built, Dr. Pillsbury asked for the identity of the purchaser.  AEtheline refused to divulge the information.  

Father occasionally looked for signs of the collection but never spoke of his feelings on this until after reading a book by Shirley Sargent on the Concessionaires of Yosemite in the late 1970s. 

Father did not learn the photos had been found until the late 1980's.  This information was known to both Virginia and Ansel Adams who sent an associate of their's Steve Harrison, to BYU in an attempt to purchase the collection through him for themselves.  Harrison learned the collection was at BYU from Virginia, who was told by Ansel who  had learned of this from Mr. Rell G. Francis of Springville, Utah.  

Harrison did not tell Dr. Pillsbury, although he was in close communication with him at the time.  Read these letters for yourself.  

The Harrison Correspondence 
   1978 - 1993









Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation 
Extending Human Vision: 
 The Life and Work of Arthur C. Pillsbury
TV Report on the Pillsbury Collection, BYU

See images lost to the Pillsbury family since 1946, now available.  An issue of IMAGE will cover the full details and let you know about exciting revelations stemming from Melinda Pillsbury-Foster's week-long survey of the material.
Sign up to receive IMAGE.

Prolific Yosemite photographer’s work stored in HBLL Special  by Kiersten Johnson, The Universe

           Arthur C. Pillsbury was not only a photographer and inventor, he was a social visionary committed to ensuring people everywhere had access to information.
      Today we say, "Open Source."  He called it The Knowledge Commons.  
            The vision Pillsbury had for the National Parks was one which placed them in the forefront of placing the tools for knowledge in the hands of the people, directly.  Not limiting this to some lectures by less than exciting Park Rangers, he saw the Parks as a place where edge technologies could be used to awaken a love of nature along with real understanding of the complex systems of plants, animals, insects, microbes and all parts of the living and inorganic world.  
             His lectures on these subjects held his audiences spell-bound, fascinated by the world which existed just beyond their eyes.  
             This is his story, a story of a vision now within our grasps.  

Partial Autobiography

  Questions & Answers

If you don't do the research
 required you do not find the
answers.  On the Inquiry 
Page you can provide answers
ask questions, and help fill in
the holes in the stories you 
find here.   
Inquiry Page.

Yosemite - October ​14 - 16 - 1912
​National Park Superintendents meet in Yosemite.  The first film showing flowers blooming, using lapse-time, is shown on the afternoon of the 16th.  

If you wonderful there was no Centennial, so do we.  See Questions to be answered. 

The Work and Words of AC Pillsbury   

You and Arthur C. Pillsbury  

President Coolidge & the Wild Flower Man of Yosemite

​Letter - October 23, 1978 
- Ansel Adams to Mr. Rell G. Francis 
  Adams writes, "Thank you very much for your interesting letter of October 19th. I knew Mr. Pillsbury very well indeed when he had his studio and shop in Yosemite where he had developed his lapse-time photography of flowers." 
The Life of Arthur C. Pillsbury

1892 - Stanford University

1895 - First trip to Yosemite 

1897 - Circuit Panorama Camera 

1898 - 1899  - The Gold Rush 

                Yukon Panoramas

                The Yukon

1897 - 1899 - Alaska's first people

1899 - Meeting John Muir 

1903 - Tahoe in the Snow - Camera Craft

​1906  - A Trip Down Market Street 

             San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

              The Studio of the Three Arrows - in Yosemite

1908 - May 6 - The Great White Fleet enters S.F. Bay

1909 - The First Nature Movie 

              The Run-Away Balloon 

1910 - America's First Air Show in Dominguez Hills

1911 - June - Reporter Cleve Shaffer reports Adolph Sutro and
           Mr. Kierulf are building a plane which would be flown at
           the Pacific Exposition in 1915.  A. Kneiling and ACP were
           building an original biplane and motor.  (Guess who was
           building the motor.)

1911 - September 3 - Arthur's brother, Dr. Ernest S.
             Pillsbury is killed.  

             November 13 - Arthur legally adopts his brother's 
             children.  Adoption Papers 

1912 - The First Lapse-Time Camera - The Wildflowers
             October 14 - 16 -  Superintendents Conference,    
             Yosemite - First showing Lapse-Time flowers

1913 - Photographing Hawaii -  Sunset Magazine

1915 - David Curry and the Movie

             Ascent of Half Dome 

             AC Presents his film and lecture to the National Press
             Club, October 21.  Mather also makes a brief presentation

            John Muir, Sierra Club and Preserving Nature

1918 - Mass production real Photograph Post Cards 
            The invention is in use at the Studio in Old Village. 
            Pillsbury's son, Arthur Francis Pillsbury, is the operator.

1919 - First aerial photos and movies of Yosemite 

1921 - Color movies of flowers blooming

1922 - Nov. 22 -Mass Production real Photo Post Card Machine
            Patent application is requested.  

1924 - Pillsbury's Pictures  - New Village 
             May 24 - Article in the Mariposa Gazette

1925 - The Microscopic Motion Picture Camera

1926 -  Feb. 23 - Photo Postcard Machine - Patent granted.

              March 15 - Lectures to President Coolidge.  
​              Willard Hotel, Washington D. C. 

                A Motion Picture Director for Microbes

1929 -  X-Ray Motion Pictures and Camera

1930 - Underwater Camera and movie

1942 - Osmosis in Plants 
"To see a flower blossoming, its life so like our own, awakens in us a love for the flower,  and the wish to preserve it." - A.C. Pillsbury
There is History - and there is
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