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  • Writer's pictureNotes From The Frontier

Blood to Rubies IMAGE SHOWCASE: Ansel Adams

Updated: Mar 26

My debut novel, Blood to Rubies, is unique in historical fiction

in that it features 70 black-and-white images. Many are archival images from famous frontier photographers of the 1800s. Others are from some of the world's greatest contemporary photographers of the American West, landscapes, horses, and the Nez Perce.

During my many years of writing, researching and publishing my debut novel, BLOOD TO RUBIES, I met so many extraordinary people, among them Nez Perce elders and tribal members, photographers, authors, and historical scholars. I pored over hundreds of books with archival images of frontier photographers from the 1800s, some who became very famous, some who remain unknown today.


Perhaps the most famous photographer of the West is Ansel Adams. He lived from the turn-of-the-century (born in 1902) to modern times (died in 1984). In a sense, he bridged the "Old West" of the 1800s and our contemporary times. Today, descendants of Ansel Adams control the copyright of the bulk of Ansel Adams' work. However, during the war years of 1941-1942, Adams was commissioned by the U.S. government to photograph national parks and their monuments. Today, most of these images are public domain.

Perhaps Adams' most famous photograph, shown above,  “The Tetons and the Snake River," was used in the opening pages of Blood to Rubies on a dramatic double page spread, pages xii-xiii.  The image is relevant to the book because the Snake River is in Nez Perce territory, now the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, only thirty miles from Yellowstone National Park. The image showcases the opening prose poem that sets the tone of beauty and magnificence, mystery and lost legacies that the American West embodies.

“The Tetons and the Snake River," by Ansel Adams, photographed in 1942, was obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service. (79-AAG-1).


My debut novel is extremely unique in historical fiction since it features 70 black-and-white images. I searched high and low to find these images and worked with the world's most iconic libraries, including the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, National Archives, the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University, the National Park Service, the Nez Perce Historical Park Service, the Polish Digital Equestrian Library, special private collections, and many state historical societies. The images help tell the story of my main character, a fictional frontier photographer, Frederick Cortland. Many are 1800s archival images from real frontier photographers. But some are from the world's leading contemporary photographers of the American West, of horses, and of the Nez Perce.


You may also enjoy these related IMAGE SHOWCASES of other world-renown photographers featured in Blood to Rubies:

You may also enjoy this related post about Ansel Adams: "Blood to Rubies IMAGE SHOWCASE: Ansel Adams" was originally posted January 20, 2024 on and Facebook.


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Deborah Hufford

Author, Notes from the Frontier

Deborah Hufford is an award-winning author and magazine editor with a passion for history. Her popular blog with 100,000+ readers has led to an upcoming novel! Growing up as an Iowa farmgirl, rodeo queen and voracious reader, her love of land, lore and literature fired her writing muse. With a Bachelor's in English and Master's in Journalism from the University of Iowa, she taught students of Iowa's Writer's Workshop, then at Northwestern University, Marquette and Mount Mary. Her extensive publishing career began at Better Homes & Gardens, includes credits in New York Times Magazine, New York Times, Connoisseur, many other titles, and serving as publisher of The Writer's Handbook


Deeply devoted to social justice, especially for veterans, women, and Native Americans, she has served on boards and donated her fundraising skills to Chief Joseph Foundation, Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), Homeless Veterans Initiative, Humane Society, and other nonprofits.  


Deborah's soon-to-be released historical novel, BLOOD TO RUBIES weaves indigenous and pioneer history, strong women and clashing worlds into a sweeping saga praised by NYT bestselling authors as "crushing," "rhapsodic," "gritty," and "sensuous." Purchase BLOOD TO RUBIES online beginning June 9. Connect with Deborah on, Facebook, and Instagram.

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