Photograph Album of the Cruise of the Revenue Cutter "Corwin" in Alaska: Finding
Finding aid prepared by Michelle Sanchez.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
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Overview of the Collection
Title: Photograph Album of the Cruise of the Revenue Cutter "Corwin" in Alaska
Dates (inclusive): approximately 1881-1883
Collection Number: photCL 97
36 photographs in 1 album; album 18 x 27 cm (7 x 11 in) + 1 preservation microfilm copy reel.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Abstract: This photograph album illustrates the sights and peoples experienced during a voyage of the United States Revenue Cutter
Thomas Corwin to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean during the early 1880s.
There are many views of native (Inuit) villages and inhabitants in Alaska and coastal Siberia,
along with scenery and seascapes. All photographs are accompanied by detailed manuscript captions by an unknown individual.
Photographs depict Alaskan nature scenes and harbors; Inuit people, dwellings and villages;
and documentation of the fur trade in the 19th century.
Finding aid last updated on April 28, 2014.
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Photograph Album of the Cruise of the Revenue Cutter "Corwin" in Alaska. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Purchased from Shorey Book Store (Seattle, Washington) in 1956.
Thomas Corwin was a United States Revenue Cutter that patrolled the Arctic Ocean and Bearing Sea, beginning in the late 1870s. In 1882,
Michael A. Healy (1839-1904) became commander
Corwin, and he rose to the position of captain in March of 1883. While in command of the
Corwin, Healy patrolled the Arctic to the prevent illegal sale of guns and
alcohol to the Alaskan natives and to control illegal fur seal hunting. The captain was also concerned for the well-being
of the Alaskan natives, and ferried Siberian caribou to help reestablish the natives' food supply,
since many seals and walruses were killed by white traders.
Scope and Content
This album contains photographs that were taken during a voyage of the USRC
Thomas Corwin to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean during the early 1880s. With images of the Inuit inhabitants
including portraits; views of homes and villages; and the killing and skinning of seals. There are also views of non-Indian
hunters and traders. The Inuit villages and dwellings
illustrated are in Sitka, St. Michael, King's Island, and locations in Siberia. There is one view of an "Eskimo" [i.e. Inuit]
grave at an unidentified location.
The photograph album has the title "Scenes in Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. 1883" embossed on the front cover. An ink manuscript
title page reads: "Cruise of the Revenue Cutter 'Corwin' 1881."
All photographs are accompanied by detailed manuscript captions in ink by an unknown individual.
Alternative Form of Materials Available
Related materials in the Huntington Library
Body piercing -- Photographs.
Corwin (Ship) -- Photographs.
Fur trade -- Alaska -- Photographs.
Graves -- Alaska -- Photographs.
Indians of North America -- Alaska -- Photographs.
Inuit -- Photographs.
Orthodox churches -- Photographs.
Russian Orthodox -- Photographs.
Sailing ships -- Photographs.
Whaling -- Photographs.
Healy, Michael A., 1839-1904.
Alaska -- Photographs.
Arctic Ocean -- Photographs.
Bering Sea -- Photographs.
Siberia (Russia)-- Photographs.
Item titles transcribed from handwritten captions.
Departure Bay. East side of Vancouver Island B.C. A coal depot; extensive mines 5 or 6 miles inland.
Fort Wrangell. A settlement in South Eastern Alaska. Indian village on the right.
Sitka. Capital of Alaska. Indian village on the left.
Town and harbor of Ounalaska [Unalaska]. Ounalaska [Unalaska] Island, Behring [Bering] sea.
Town of Ounalaska [Unalaska]. Behring [Bering] Sea. Headquarters and stove houses of Alaska Commercial Co.
Mountain Scene and waterfall. Island of Ounalaska [Unalaska]
Town on St. Paul's Island. Behring [Bering] sea.
Interior of Greek Church. St. Paul's Island.
Fur seals on the beach. St. Paul's Island.
Group of fur seals. St. Paul's Island.
Killing fur seals. The animals are killed by a blow on the head with a large club. Party on the right are the killers; on
the left are the skinners who strip the fur coats off of the dead bodies with sharp knives.
"Rocks beside the Sea". St. Paul's Island.
[Group of men, women, and boy sitting on rocks. Boy may be Fred Healy, son of Captain Michael A. Healy. Woman to the right
of the boy may be Mary Jane Healy, Healy's wife.]
Indian town, St. Michaels [Michael], Alaska.
Alaska Commercial Co's trading post. St. Michaels [Michael], Alaska.
Natives and traders. St. Michaels [Michael], Alaska.
Esquimo [Eskimo] natives of St. Michaels [Michael]. Skin canoe or "bidarka". Esquimo [Eskimo] dogs. (Mastodon tusk on the
"Western Fur Co.'s" trading post. St. Michaels [Michael].
Village on Kings' Island, Behring (Bering) Sea. Island very steep, rocky, and barren; rises about 1000 feet in height and
is about 1 mile across. Houses in view are of walrus hide, outer end supported by poles of drift wood. Some live in caves.
Natives very healthy, strong, and active.
Village at Plover [Providence] Bay, Siberia. Houses of walrus hide supported by drift wood poles lashed together.
Groups of natives at Plover [Providence] Bay, Siberia. Central figure is "Cornelius", a native who has been abroad and received
some education on Long Island. Speaks English well.
"Polunna" [Alaska native youth]. Plover [Providence] Bay, Siberia.
Village at Indian Point. Siberia.
Groupe [Group] of natives at Indian Point, Siberia.
Summer encampment of Esquimo [Eskimo] at Hotham Inlet Arctic Ocean.
Summer encampment, Hotham Inlet. Arctic Ocean. Frames erected for drying and preserving fish. Drying walrus hides. Seal skin
bags for holding oil.
Esquimo [Eskimo] tea party. Spafarief Bay. Kotzbue [Kotzebue] Sound. Arctic Ocean.
"Itit-karook". Showing peculiar lip ornaments worn by men, only, on the American shores of the Arctic & Behring [Bering]
Spafarief Bay. Kotzbue [Kotzebue] Sound. Arctic Ocean. Skin houses, canoes, oil bags &c
Original posts, Chamisso Island. Arctic Ocean. Erected in 1826 by H.M.S. "Blossom" in search of Sir John Franklin.
Groupe [Group] of natives from Point Hope, Arctic Ocean.
Cape Thompson, Arctic Ocean.
American whaler in the Arctic. Bark "Abram Barker" of New Bedford.
Sunset in the Arctic Ocean. July 27th 1883. 10:30 p.m.
Coal Mine Bluff, Arctic Ocean. About 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
Preservation microfilm copy
Advance arrangements for viewing the preservation microfilm must be made with the Curator of Photographs.
Microfilm reel of copy negatives held in cold storage.