Charles Belden

Photographer, Visual Artist

1887 – 1966


Who was Charles Belden?

Charles Josiah Belden was a photographer and rancher who was famous for his visceral photographs of the area around Meetseetse, Wyoming.

Belden was born into a wealthy California family. His grandfather, Josiah Belden, was an early California pioneer who made millions in San Francisco real estate. Charles Belden bought his first camera to record a European tour with his school friend, Eugene Phelps. The highlight of the tour was a journey through Russia in Belden's 1908 Packard, the first automobile to make such a trip in the country. After the trip, Belden went to work as a cowboy on the Phelps Ranch in Wyoming. In 1912, Belden married Eugene's sister, Frances. The couple had three children, Annice, Margot, and Mary Elizabeth, who died while still a toddler. Eugene's father died in 1922, leaving Eugene and Charles to take over management of the Pitchfork Ranch.

Airplanes became a fascination for Belden. In the late 1920s, Charles became involved in raising antelope and sending them by airplane to zoos around the world, including some to Germany in the Hindenburg. He helped to pioneer the process of planting fish from the air and filmed the experience for future reference. In addition, he helped the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission conduct a census of wildlife herd populations using aerial photographs.

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Nov 16, 1887
United States of America
  • United States of America

on July 23, 2013


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