Brother of Albert Bierstadt, Charles and a third brother, Edward, worked together for a time as wood workers in New Bedford, Massachusetts. While Albert was traveling in the West with the Landers expedition in 1859, a fire destroyed the family business. Upon Albert's return he moved to New York, and Charles and Edward worked together in New Bedford selling his western photographs. They ran their photography studio until 1866, when Edward turned to commercial printing. Charles moved permanently to Niagara Falls, where he specialized in views of the falls for the tourist trade. In 1870 he visited California and photographed Yosemite.
Hendricks, Bierstadt, 68, 93, 97, 112, 188, 196, 268; Taft, Photography and the American Scene (1964 ed.), 362-63, 502 n. 374; Welling, Photography in America, 139, 173, 241, 290.
William Truettner, ed The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820–1920 (Washington, D.C. and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991)
Charles Bierstadt was the brother of Albert, a renowned landscape painter, and Edward, a photographer and publisher who had the American rights to the albertype printing process. All three of them had been initially drawn to photography, trading their established New Bedford, Massachusetts, woodworking shop for cameras and a stereo photography business. In 1867 Charles moved to Niagara. He later published books of stereo views with Edward, and in 1882 he was one of three photographers selected by the commercial stereo photography business of Underwood & Underwood to supply them with popular and historic views.
Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)