We are BIG fans of Michael Harris. He was originally an antique bottle specialist, hunting for vintage bottles all over America, including many desert mine-shaft locations. It was here that he found another passion… for denim!
Michael’s interest in denim was piqued during a conversation with Ralph Tharpe of Cone Denim. Working closely with Cone and Levi’s, he was pulled into the world of denim garments and their manufacturers in late-1800s San Francisco and began looking specifically for denim pieces in abandoned mine shafts. After years of teaching himself the history of early denim, researching, and collecting he released his much acclaimed book, Jeans of the Old West, A History in August 2010. You can get it here on Amazon.
We came across his Flickr page the other day and wow – it’s worth looking at! There so many photos of his personal journeys across the U.S. looking for – and finding – denim; it also contains many archival articles about the subject and photos of miners taken at the time. We’ve picked out some of our favorites but his collection consists of over 90 pages of imagery.