A guide to the Alaska fishing and fishermen photographs, 1899-1959

Processed by: M. Crawford and Amy Croft, April 2013.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Building E, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone: 415-561-7030
Fax: 415-556-3540
SAFR_Historic_Documents@nps.gov
URL: http://www.nps.gov/safr
2013

A Guide to the Alaska fishing and fishermen photographs

P03-005

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, National Park Service
2013, National Park Service

Title: Alaska fishing and fishermen photographs
Date: 1899-1959
Date (bulk): 1900-1930
Identifier/Call Number: P03-005 (SAFR 23369)
Creator: Unknown
Physical Description: 20 items.
Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
Building E, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
Abstract: The Alaska fishing and fishermen photographs, 1899-1959, bulk 1900-1930, (SAFR 23369, P03-005) are primarily comprised of photographs of Alaska Packers Association vessels and fishermen involved in the cannery trade, that were included in the article "The Great Star Fleet" written by Harold D. Huycke. The collection has been processed to the Series level with Items listed in the scope note, and is open for use.
Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
Language(s): In English.

Access

This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted.

Publication and Use Rights

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Processing Note

Each unique photographic image or printers' page proof has been assigned an Item number. When there are multiple physical forms of the same Item (e.g. two prints of the same photograph), they have been given the same Item number since the image is the same.
Description Notes: Dates refer to when the original photograph was taken. All of the photographic prints in this collection are copies that were made much later than when the original photograph was taken, and the dates of these reproductions were noted when known.
The descriptions in this collection guide were compiled using the best available sources of information. Such sources include the creator's annotations or descriptions, collection accession files, primary and secondary source material and subject matter experts. While every effort was made to provide accurate information, in the event that you find any errors in this guide please contact the reference staff in order for us to evaulate and make corrections to this guide.
Please cite the title and collection number in any correspondence with our staff.

Preferred Citation

[Item description], [Location within collection organization identified by Collection Number/Series Number/File Unit Number/Item Number], P03-005 (SAFR 23369), Alaska fishing and fishermen photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Acquisition Information

SAFR-01783
SAFR-01783 was transferred from the J. Porter Shaw Library of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park to the Historic Documents Department in 2003. When it was part of the library collection, it had the call number "up SH.467.A4." It is unknown who compiled this collection or when; old library catalog records were not available for consultation. The original enclosure of the materials had "Alaska fishing and fishermen. Collection of photographs of fishing in Alaska. The life of the fishermen, and some of the vessels making the Alaska trip in the early 1900's" typed on the front. Almost all of the materials in this collection were used for the publication of "The Great Star Fleet" written by Harold D. Huycke.

Historical or Biographical Note

Alaska Packers Association History:
The Alaska Packers Association (APA) was the best-known of several firms engaged in the operation of salmon canneries in southwest Alaska, operating from the 1890s until the 1960s. Consequently, it was involved in the development of fishing activities, land and labor rights, and conservation techniques which are still influential today.
The company was founded in 1893 by Henry Fortmann, as a result of the consolidation of twenty-five of the thirty-three floundering Alaska salmon cannery companies. APA came to be the predominant company in the fishing industry of the Pacific Northwest for nearly seventy years. APA operations were supervised and directed from central offices in San Francisco, California, with regional headquarters based in Seattle, Washington. In the early 1960s, under the corporate leadership of Del Monte Corporation, the regional offices were moved to Semiahmoo, Washington (Steele).
APA first chartered large sailing vessels to transport supplies, fishermen, and cannery workers north each spring; each fall they would return with the canned salmon. The canneries were operated seasonally, serving as bases for fleets of open sailing and rowing boats from which the fish were caught (HAER). Wooden sailing ships built in New England had been employed initially, but as of 1900, APA was beginning to favor the more easily maintained British-built iron and steel sailing ships that were made available by the annexation of Hawaii. Due to the seasonal nature of the work, these ships spent very little time at sea. Up to the early 1930s, APA was noted in particular for its "Star Fleet," of up to thirty large sailing ships whose name started with "Star," which sailed between San Francisco and Alaska. One of these vessels from the Star Fleet, BALCLUTHA, ex STAR OF ALASKA, ex PACIFIC QUEEN, has been restored and since 1954, has been a part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's historic fleet.
Written by M. Crawford and Amy Croft, 2013.

Sources:

  • Historic American Engineering Record. After 1968. Ship BALCLUTHA, 2905 Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA. Accessed on April 26, 2013. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ca1493/
  • Steele, Ruth. 2002. Guide to the Alaska Packers Association records 1841-1989. Western Washington University Heritage Resources. Accessed on April 26, 2013. http://nwda.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv77299
  • Balclutha History. San Francisco Maritime National Park Service. Accessed April 26, 2013. http://www.nps.gov/safr/historyculture/balclutha-history.htm
Harold D. Huycke biography:
Captain Harold D. Huycke, Jr. (1922-2007) spent about 45 years in the shipping industry, at sea as mate and master, and ashore as a cargo supervisor and later a marine surveyor. In 1957, he was employed by the state of California to prepare, man and deliver C.A. THAYER (built 1895; schooner, 3m) from Puget Sound, Washington, to San Francisco, California, and she is now one of the San Francisco National Historical Park's historic vessels moored at Hyde Street Pier. Beginning in 1973, he became an independent marine surveyor with a specialty in wooden vessels, including wooden hulled U.S. Navy minesweepers. He retired from his surveying practice in 1991.
Huycke was also a maritime historian of the Pacific Coast and a research associate of the San Francisco Maritime Museum for 57 years. "With John Lyman, Karl Kortum, and John Kemble he was part of the first generation of maritime historians on the West Coast. Huycke has written and contributed to several books on maritime history. His largest published project was the book, "To Santa Rosalia: Further and Back," a detailed history of a dozen German sailing vessels detained in a remote port in Mexico during World War I. He researched and wrote extensively on commercial sailing vessels including the Star Fleet of the Alaska Packers Association, steam schooners, Liberty and Victory ships, fishing barges and maritime businesses. Huycke located and collected primary source material and corresponded with hundreds of sailors, captains, collectors, and historians. He served as mentor and editor to many individuals, helping them to write and publish stories that would otherwise would not have been told. He conducted oral histories to preserve the stories of seafaring men and the vessels that they sailed on" (Hull).
Written by Amy Croft. For a full biography of Huycke, see the finding aid for the Harold D. Huycke Collection, (SAFR 22224, HDC1600) http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8542mw9

Sources:

  • The Herald Everett, Washington. Captain Harold D. Huycke Jr. Obituary. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/heraldnet/obituary.aspx?n=harold-d-huycke&pid=86546972 last accessed 6/13/2012
  • Hull, David. End of an Era for West Coast Maritime History: Harold Huycke: 1922-2007, An Appreciation. Relative Bearings newsletter, no. 6 (April 2007), p. 2-3.
  • Huycke, Harold D. "To Santa Rosalia: Further and Back." Newport News, Va: Mariners Museum, 1970. Print. Biography on inside cover jacket.

Collection Scope and Content

The Alaska fishing and fishermen photographs, 1899-1959, bulk 1900-1930, (SAFR 23369, P03-005) are primarily comprised of photographs of Alaska Packers Association vessels and fishermen involved in the cannery trade, that were included in the article "The Great Star Fleet" written by Harold D. Huycke. The collection has been processed to the Series level with Items listed in the scope note, and is open for use.
The collection contains photographs and printers' page proofs, 1899-1959. There are 15 unique photographic images (in 16 physical forms) and two pages of printer's page proofs (in 4 physical forms: 2 copies of each page).
"The Great Star Fleet" was originally written by Harold Huycke in 1953, and then re-written in 1958 for publication in "Ships and Seas." The article was published in the February/March 1960 issue of "Yachting" and reprinted in the "Sea Letter," a publication of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, at an unknown date. The article appears in "Yachting" and the "Sea Letter" in two parts: Part I (untitled) and Part II: Fate Writes the Final Chapter in the History of These Famous Vessels. It is unknown if there were subsequent parts to the article. This collection does not contain all of the photographs used in this article.
The photographs show vessels from the Alaska Packers Association's Star Fleet in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and in and around Alaskan fishing waters; views of crew on board these vessels working and at leisure as well as crew accommodations; and gill net fishing boats at the Northwestern Fisheries Cannery in Alaska. Locations of photographs outside of the San Francisco Bay Area include Menshikott Point; Naknek, Alaska; Nushagak, Alaska; Nushagak River, Bristol Bay, Bering Sea, Alaska; Unimak Pass, between the Bering and North Pacific Seas; and San Diego, California.

Collection Arrangement

Items are arranged into one Series due to the small size of the collection. Photographs are listed first: they are arranged in the order they appear in the publication, with two photographs not published in the article at the end. Printer's page proofs follow, arranged in the order that they appear in the publication.

Related Materials

Related photograph collection: Axel Widerstrom photographs of Alaska Packers Association ships, 1919-1921. SFMNHP, (SAFR 22053, P77-040). Contains cellulose nitrate film negatives of the Alaska Packers Association ships STAR OF FRANCE and STAR OF HOLLAND. Some of the photographs in the Widerstrom collection (P77-040) can also be found in this collection (P03-005); more specific details about this have been described in the Item descriptions in the Series level scope note.
Related manuscript collection: Harold D. Huycke collection, 1868-2007. SFMNHP, (SAFR 22224, HDC 1600). Personal papers and photographs of Harold D. Huycke; includes Series 4.06, File 006: "The Great Star Fleet" manuscript and proof materials, as well as numerous other File Units regarding Alaska Packers Association vessels.
Researchers should note that there are many other books and collections with materials related to the Alaska fishing trade and the Alaska Packers Association, some written by Harold D. Huycke, in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. They can search the Park's web catalog for more information.
  • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Pacific salmon fishing
Salmon canning industry--Alaska--History
Fisheries--Alaska
Salmon canning industry--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
Shipping--Pacific Coast (North America)--History--Pictorial works
Coastwise shipping--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
Cargo handling
Merchant ships--United States--History--20th century
Cargo ships
Merchant ships
Marine photography
Huycke, Harold D.
Alaska Packers Association
Star of Finland (built 1899; bark, 3m)
Star of France (built 1877; ship, 3m)
Star of Greenland (built 1892; bark, 4m)
Star of Holland (built 1885; bark, 3m)
Star of Poland (built 1901; bark, 4m)
Harvester (bark)
San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)
Pacific Coast (Calif.)
Pacific Coast (Alaska)
Black-and-white prints (photographs)
Printers' proofs

Collection Contents

Shared collection box in oversized shelving

Series 1.  Photographs and printers' page proofs, 1899-1959 (bulk 1900-1930)

Extent: 17 items (in 20 physical forms: 16 black-and-white photographic prints and 4 printers' page proofs, ranging in size from 3.5 x 6 in. to 11 x 14 in.)

Scope and Content Note

Items 01-17. Contains material used in the publication of the article "The Great Star Fleet," written by Harold D. Huycke and two photographs not used in the article (Items 14 and 15). There are 16 black-and-white photographic prints of various sizes, with annotations and printers marks, of Alaska Packers Association vessels and fishermen involved in the cannery trade, 1899-1959 (bulk 1900-1930). There are also four printers' page proofs of captions to accompany the prints in the article. Not all of the prints in this collection were used in the publication of the article.
All of the photographs have editorial marks or notes written on the back, and some have notes, editorial marks and/or captions attached to them as well. Some of those marks include "Yachting Editorial" stamps and the dates "FEB 1960" and "MAR 1960."
Items 01-09 were used for Part I of the article. Items 10-13 were used in Part II. Not all of the photographs used in the article can be found in this collection. Item List: Item 01: View off the starboard quarter of STAR OF FINLAND (built 1899; bark, 3m) being shifted among other Alaska Packers Association vessels at anchor, most likely at Alameda, California. There is a man visible standing on deck aft. The Crowley launch, DIXIE (launch) is in the foreground with a man visible standing on deck. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to the San Francisco Maritime Museum collection.
Item 02: View from the deck of one vessel looking out at other cannery vessels at the mouth of the Nushagak River, Bristol Bay, Bering Sea, Alaska, circa 1900-1930. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to the San Francisco Maritime Museum collection.
Item 03: Approximately 17 Chinese crew members gambling and at leisure on the fo'c'sle head of HARVESTER (bark), sailing from Cook Inlet, Alaska, to San Francisco, California, 1899. According to annotations on the front of the print, it was photographed by Harry Pidgeon, and was used courtesy of Charles Mohle. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to the San Francisco Maritime Museum collection. It is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified G09.08779.
Item 04: Deck view of fishermen talleying a full load of fish from PEARL (bunk scow) into a cannery lighter at Kvichak Bay, Alaska, 1921. DUCK (tugboat), RUBY (built 1896; bunk scow) and a lighter are in the background, along with other cannery vessels. Men are visible on the vessels in the foreground. Photograph by Axel Widerstrom. There is a typed piece of paper that used to be attached to the back of the print, which contains extensive notes regarding this photograph and the process of talleying fish, fishing limits, and cannery vessels, authored by Axel Widerstrom in July 1959. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back of the print, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited as a Widerstrom Photo. It is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified G11.02503.
Item 05: Talleyman Colonel Cody giving new talleyman Fowler a "Unimak Pass Shave" on board STAR OF FRANCE (built 1877; ship, 3m), 1919. Colonel Cody is holding a large straight razor to the temple of Fowler, who has wide eyes and fists held up and clenched. There is an unidentified sailor in the background observing. The "Unimak Pass Shave" is an initiation activity for sailors passing through the Unimak Pass on their way to Alaska for the first time. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" with no photograph credit in the article. This photograph is the same as SFMNHP Classified G9.02478.18, from the Axel Widerstrom Collection.
Item 06: Port broadside view of STAR OF GREENLAND (built 1892; bark, 4m) underway, circa 1900-1930. She is under full sail and there are men visible on deck. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited as a San Francisco Maritime Museum Association Photo.
Item 07: Italian or Scandanavian fishermen's quarters in the 'tween deck of STAR OF HOLLAND (built 1885; bark, 3m), circa 1900-1930. The mess table is seen stretching the length of the hold with bunks on either side. There are two black-and-white prints of this photograph. The larger print has a caption that was printed in the article, which is taped to the front of the print and has an extensive note regarding the differences between quarters for Chinese sailors on the back. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" with no photograph credit in the article.
Item 08: View off the starboard side of STAR OF HOLLAND (built 1885; bark, 3m) as she discharges lumber for the Diamond M Cannery, Naknek, Alaska, circa 1900-1930. Eight men are visible on the lumber scow which is alongside the bark. There are four square riggers in open water visible in the background. Photo by Axel Widerstrom. The caption used in the article is attached to the front of the print. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" but is not credited in the article. This is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified G06.08116.
Item 09: Chinese labor contractors loading their own stores on board a salmon packet, San Francisco, California, 1906 April 12. This was just six days before the big earthquake that struck the city. Six men are standing on the dock with bags of rice piled behind them. The vessel they are loading is visible in the background and there is a cart visible in the foreground. Photograph from the John W. Procter Collection. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to the John W. Proctor Collection of the San Francisco Maritime Museum. This is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified A12.24365.
Item 10: Captain Rasmussen and mate "One More Tub," on deck of STAR OF POLAND (built 1901; bark, 4m) with other crew members in the background, 1916. The Captain is standing left with the mate squatting. Photograph from Captain William Dianus. There is a note regarding the nickname of the mate pasted to the back of the print. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back of the print, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to Capt. Wm. Dianus. This is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified J09.05013.
Item 11: Crew of ABNER COBURN (built 1882; ship, 3m) gathered on the grass at Menshikott Point, 1918. Men are sitting and standing around cooking pots, eating. The vessel was forced aground by ice. The vessel is seen docked in the background. "G3.5249" is written on the back of the print, but this number does not match the SNFMNHP Classified photograph with this number. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" but is not credited in the article. This is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified G11.06500.
Item 12: Deck view of Italian fishermen eating a meal on board STAR OF FRANCE (built 1877; ship, 3m), 1918. Men are standing on deck eating because they did not want to be served three different meals, but to be served all at once and they would not all fit in the messroom. Photograph by Axel Widerstrom, son of the master of STAR OF FRANCE (built 1877; ship, 3m) at this time, Captain John Widerstrom. There is a typed piece of paper that was once taped to this photograph, which contains extensive notes from Axel Widerstrom. "Yachting Editorial" is stamped on the back, which includes width, depth, flush 4 sides, order number and article. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to Axel Widerstrom. This is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified G9.36630, from the Axel Widerstrom Collection.
Item 13: STAR OF INDIA (built 1863; bark, 3m) at dock in San Diego, California, view off port quarter, 1959. Photograph by Karl Kortum. The caption from the article is taped to the front of the photograph. This photograph appears in "The Great Star Fleet" and is credited to Karl Kortum. This is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified D01.09192.
Item 14: A man is sitting in a gill net fishing boat outside of the Northwestern Fisheries Cannery at Nushagak, Alaska, circa 1900-1920. Numerous gill net fishing boats are visible behind the man, on the beach. The cannery buildings are visible in the background. The Alaska Packers Association had around 900 of these boats stored in their canneries for the month-long fishing season. A caption is taped to the front of the photograph and credits the San Francisco Maritime Museum. This photograph does not appear in "The Great Star Fleet." It is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified G12.06496.
Item 15: STAR OF INDIA (built 1863; bark, 3m), underway, port broadside view, traversing Unimak Pass, 1918. The vessel is under full sail and there are men visible working on deck. A caption is taped to the front of the photograph and credits Lieutenant Commander M. A. Ransom, U.S.C.G. "From Jerry Mac Mullen" written on the back of the print. "J7.7841pl" is written on the back of the print. This photograph was not published in "The Great Star Fleet." It is the same photograph as SFMNHP Classified J07.16807.
Item 16: Printers' page proof of captions for the sixth page of the article, 1960. "Yachting" publishing information is at the top and captions for the four photographs that appear on this page are aligned on the right side. There are two copies of this page: one has each text block marked with a letter, A-F.
Item 17: Printers' page proof of captions for the last page of the article, 1960. There are three captions on this page, but only two photographs and captions made it to the final print version. There are two copies of this page: one has the caption that did not get published marked as G-C, the other has the two captions that did make publication marked H and J.