Have you been searching for stock photos of gold? When writing for a website about gold prices called CBMint, I am constantly on the lookout for free photos of gold. Along the way, I have collected several unique historic drawings from the Library of Congress. If you are looking for free domain clip art for your website, the Library of Congress has what seems like a million. These 15 gold mining history photos are ones I selected from hundreds just by searching for gold prices.
1. Mid-1800s Comedic Gold Mining Breakdown
Originally titled “The Mining Business in Four Pictures,” this drawing is captioned with, “Going in to it, making something, making nothing, going out of it” and depicts the creating of new gold prices in the San Francisco Gold Rush. It is a lithograph on blue paper that was printed between 1850 and 1860 published by Quirot and Company on the corner of Montgomery and California Streets in San Francisco.
2. The Eccentric Gold Rush Prospector
In archives, this drawing is captioned with “The Independent Gold Hunter on His Way to California: I neither borrow nor lend.” Published by Currier and Ives as a hand-colored lithograph, it was first created between 1849 and 1852. The comedic image shows a San Francisco prospector walking all the way to California with everything he needs for cooking and mining.
3. Spend Your Days Camping with another Dude
“Sunday Morning ; Log Cabin” was first published in San Francisco between 1849 and 1853. This lithograph on blue paper was printed by Britton and Rey. The scene may be simple, but it shows how quickly miners would set up cabins. Otherwise, they would be camping in a tent with another guy until further notice.
4. Weird 1897 Gold Politics Cartoon
“Better than Klondike!” was first published on August 25, 1897 by artist Louis Dalrymple. The chromolithograph image is telling a political tale of the times. One of the longest tariffs in US history, it was also the highest averaging about 47%. Protestors of the marine tariff depicted the US Government as panning for gold at the expense of shipping businesses.
5. Cheerful Gold Mining in Alaska ... but in Winter in the late 1800’s
Before television and radio, people preferred to get out to the theater. Marking the exploration of gold and gold mining in Alaska, legendary playwright, Scott Marble, wrote “Heart of the Klondike” in 1897. This poster lithograph was used to promote live performances of the play.
6. A Very Merry Golden Christmas?
Although gold prices surged from the mid-1800’s onward each time a new fertile territory for mining was discovered, miners were often depicted as lonely. In “Christmas in a Mining Camp” by artist Will Crawford, a miner barely has time to announce that new gold territory is discovered before other miners rush to get out the door to find it. First printed on December 4, 1912, this is an offset, color photomechanical print for Puck Magazine.
7. Rocketing to a Different Kind of Gold Investing
In the mid-1800’s, part of the appeal of the gold rush was using the event to make money without mining. A good example of someone who succeeded at that was the found of the Levi’s pants company. In this color print lithograph called, “Mr. Golightly, Bound To California,” a man is flying on a rocket as fast as he can in order to sell merchandise to 1849 gold miners.
8. Chinese Gold Miners Cutting Their Hair
In addition to European-descent people, there were also a large number of Black, Chinese, and Native Americans panning for gold. An 1857 wood engraving called “Mining Life in California--Chinese Miners,” shows Chinese gold miners getting their hair fixed and eating near their campsite tents.
9. Hate Flying? Try Covered Wagon
“Crossing the Platte” is a 1859 wood engraving that looks simple until you start looking closely at the wagons crossing the water. Because there were no bridges, covered wagons headed for gold mining territories throughout the Wild West of the mid-1800s were often tossed and turned trying to make it across the forge. Horses usually swam across tied to the wagons and many people or animals were swept away.
10. Disadvantages at Being a Gold Beginner
Finding out how to make your money with gold investing is easy today with several online options. On the other hand, 160 years ago, going out to make your name in gold mining meant getting your hands dirty. Often, new gold miners would get hazed by older gold miners that called these newcomers “Greenhorns.” This 1853 wood engraving called “The Greenhorn” shows a naïve lad being confronted by a grizzly-looking pro miner in California.
11. Is the Gold Worth the Shipping?
During the Gold Rush of 1849, California miners had a lot of trouble getting to this territory. In the 1849 lithograph by Currier and Ives titled, “The Way They Come from California,” it appears that getting back the way you came from was not always an option.
12. How Gold Enslaved a Generation
“The Slave of Gold” is an 1882 wood engraving that shows the down side of the Gold Rush of San Francisco. A man is shown moving from the mines, to a steak, and then on to consort with women that will sit on his lap.
13. All of the Gold; None of the Women
“Gold Is Not All” published in 1904 shows a common scene in the lives of miners. Even the best price for gold would not bring him he truly wants: A wife.
14. Gold Turns You into a Skeleton
Used as an illustration in the 1853 Sacramento publication “Alonzo Delano's Pen Knife Sketches,” a wood engraving shows the “Used-up Man.” This is a caricature of a gold miner that did not make it big and is therefore wasting away from poverty.
15. Is Knowing the Price of Gold Important?
“The Place We Hear About” was published in 1849, by Henry Serrell and S Lee Perkins. It paints a less than rosey picture of the life in the gold fields of California. The figures in the picture show violence, vomiting, and lewd behavior.