This collection includes 24 classic, sepia-toned images of the missions from the late 19th and early 20th century. This is one of the first full sets of mission photographs ever produced.
In the early decades of the 20th century, as travel to the missions increased and everyone became fascinated with the new medium of photography, there were dozens of companies offering postcards of the California missions, initially in black and white. Many of the postcards were ultimately hand-tinted in bright colors and the images were romanticized. Most were sold individually.
The Cardinell-Vincent Company of San Francisco developed starker, more authentic views of the old Spanish missions, ferreting out simple, unadorned early images which it rendered in sepia tone. It offered these as a full set of 24 cards; all twenty-one missions plus the Royal Presidio Chapel in Monterey, the San Antonio de Pala Asistencia, and Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles, the original church of the pueblo (town) of Los Angeles. The 21 missions are listed by location, from south to north, with the other three historic buildings placed at the end.