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September 22, 2021

35 Amazing Vintage Photographs Record Life in Wyoming From Between the 1900s and 1910s

Laura Webb Nichols (1883–1962) got her first camera on her 16th birthday, October 28, 1899, as a gift from Bert Oldman, a miner who would become her first husband the following year and the subject of many of her early photographs.

The earliest photographs are of her immediate family, self-portraits, and landscape images of the cultivation of the region surrounding the mining town of Encampment, Wyoming. In addition to the personal imagery, the young Nichols photographed miners, industrial infrastructure, and a small town’s adjustment to a sudden, but ultimately fleeting, population increase. The images chronicle the domestic, social, and economic aspects of the sparsely populated frontier of south-central Wyoming.

As early as 1906, Nichols was working for hire as a photographer for industrial documentation and family portraits, developing and printing from a darkroom she fashioned in the home she shared with her husband and their children. After the collapse of the copper industry, Nichols remained in Encampment and established the Rocky Mountain Studio, a photography and photofinishing service, to help support her family. Her commercial studio was a focal point of the town throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Elva and Carrie Hinman, 1902

Mabel Wilcox, 1902


Bert Oldman, 1906

Nora and Irwin Fleming, 1906

Family, 1906

Nora and Irwin Fleming, 1907

Charlie Fate, 1907

Jenny, Hank, and Carl Ashely, 1907

Maggy and Mary Nichols, 1909

Helene and Monte, 1910

Al Anderson and Ot Huston, 1910

Mrs Bill Malody, 1910

Helene Wolfard, 1911

Guy Nichols and Hank Beecher, 1911

Mary Anderson, 1911

Louis Martin and Dave Nichols, 1911

Maud and Nina Platte, 1911

Alva Martin, 1911

Ruth Winkleman, 1911

Bert Oldman, 1911

Joe Pixley, 1911

Nina Platt, 1911

Lizzie and Sylvia Nichols, 1912

Mac, 1912

Sylvia Nichols, 1912

Bert Oldman, 1913

Guy Nichols, 1913

Sylvia Nichols, 1914

Helmer Peterson, 1914

Vivian Ledbetter, 1914

Mr. and Mrs. Shafe and Agnes Brackley, 1914

Mary Platt, 1915

Frances Heaton and Russel Parr, 1916


(Photos by Lora Webb Nichols / Lora Webb Nichols Photography Archive)


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