William Rulofson  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

William Herman Rulofson (September 27, 1826 – November 2, 1878) was a Canadian-American photographer, who along with his partner, H. W. Bradley, was considered one of the leading photographers in the city of San Francisco, California. He was also the brother of Edward H. Rulloff, a notorious murderer who was hanged for his crime in 1871.

Rulofson also gained some notoriety for his role in the publication of the satirical The Dance of Death. Written by his son-in-law Thomas A. Harcourt and Ambrose Bierce and released under the pseudonym "William Herman", the book describes the "intolerable nastiness" of the waltz. A man engaged in the dance is described: "his eyes, gleaming with a fierce intolerable lust, gloat satyr-like over [his partner]." Bierce later said, "Rulofson ... suggested the scheme and supplied the sinews of sin." Rulofson himself said of the book, "I have shown society what a loathsome ulcer festers in its midst."

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