Bigfoot Wallace AlbumenWilliam "Bigfoot" Wallace Albumen. Measures 4.25" x 6", n. p., 1872. The famous Texas Ranger and Indian fighter is standing tall in this albumen print by famed photographer Michael Miley. He is shown wearing a wide brim hat, hunting pouch, powder horn, and knife and holding his long gun at his side. Below the picture, is written in pencil, "Big Foot Wallace." On the verso, someone, likely in the photographer's studio, has written in an unknown hand:
"'Big Foot' Wallace/ 3 Coppies [sic] #51 Crayon/ -Crayon-/2 Coppies [sic] #51 Gray Eyes
"The hunting pouch &c was taken from the Indian Chief 'Big Foot' from whoom [sic] he derived his name. You can draw on your imagination for his costume & I expect we will sell 20 or more of these pictures."
This very photograph appears on page 47 of Marshall Fishwick's book "General Lee's Photographer: The Life And Work Of Michael Miley." Slight chipping and scratching near the lower edge of the photograph. Upper right corner damaged.
It is said that shortly after William A. A. Wallace moved to Austin in 1840, he was mistaken for an Indian who had recently pillaged a neighboring settler's home (Wallace was known to wear moccasins). The Indian was a large man whom the local citizenry dubbed "Chief Bigfoot" due to the size of the tracks he left. The people followed the trail back to Wallace's house and he was only cleared after he stuck his foot in the huge imprint (although he stood at 6' 2", it was claimed that he wore a size 9 boot), but the nickname "Bigfoot" stuck.
Michael Miley (1841-1918), known to the world as "General Lee's Photographer," is most famous for his postbellum photograph of the beloved southern general, in uniform, astride his horse, Traveller. What is less recognized, however, is Miley's contribution to color photography. In 1895, using a carbon process that utilized carbon paper in fifteen different colors to produce an image in one color, Miley and his son, Henry, superimposed several images in each of the primary colors. Perfecting the technique, they produced what is recognized as the first colored photograph in the United States. Their technique was patented in 1902.
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