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
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
1918

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

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