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Photograph Collection of the Revenue Cutters "Bear" and "Corwin" in Alaska: Finding Aid
photCL 131  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials in the Huntington Library
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of Collection

    Title: Photograph Collection of the Revenue Cutters "Bear" and "Corwin" in Alaska
    Dates (inclusive): 1880-1890s
    Collection Number: photCL 131
    Creator: Healy, Michael A., 1839-1904;
    Extent: 282 photographs in 8 boxes; photographs 19.5 x 24 cm (8 x 9 in) + 1 preservation microfilm copy reel.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: rarebooks@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The 282 photographic prints in this collection document voyages of the United States Revenue Cutters “Bear,” “Corwin,” and “Richard Rush” to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean in the 1880s and 1890s. The images depict the boats, Captain Michael A. Healy, and the crewmen, as well as Alaskan natives and their homes; and various views of the Alaskan wilderness and towns. The collection provides insight into the people and events the “Bear” and “Corwin” encountered on their voyages.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on April 28, 2014.

    Access

    The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Photograph Collection of the Revenue Cutters "Bear" and "Corwin" in Alaska. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Purchased from Michael Healy’s grandson, John K. Healy, on July 18, 1960. The collection also included the Michael A. Healy Papers and Nome, Alaska, newspapers that were cataloged separately and listed below.

    Biographical Note

    Michael A. Healy was born September 22, 1839, in Georgia to an Irish cotton planter, Michael Morris Healy, and a mulatto woman, Eliza Clark. Even though his father sent him and his brothers north to be educated (and hence escape slavery), Healy always ran away from the schools he was enrolled in, and eventually joined the clipper ship "Jumna" in 1855. For the next ten years, he sailed on merchant vessels until he was commissioned as a Third Lieutenant in the United States Revenue Service in 1865; that same year, Healy married Mary Jane Roach, the daughter of Irish immigrants to Boston.
    Healy served aboard a number of ships, but his Arctic command with the "Thomas Corwin" began in 1882, and he rose to the position of captain in March of 1883. While in command of the "Corwin", Healy patrolled the Arctic to 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. After the Revenue Cutter Service acquired the "Bear" in 1884, Healy became its commander and continued his mission of relegating illegal activities and assisting the Alaska natives with their food troubles. Also, the "Bear" became known for rescuing stranded sailors from whaling ships that had become stuck in the ice near northern Alaska. However, in the 1890s, Healy was charged for being drunk while on duty and for abusive treatment of his crew; he was found guilty by a court-martial and placed at the bottom of the captains’ list. He was given temporary command of two cutters before working his way back to the top of the list and receiving command of the cutter "Thetis". Healy retired from the revenue cutter service in 1903 and died of a heart attack on August 30, 1904, in San Francisco.

    Scope and Content

    The 282 photographic prints in this collection document voyages of the United States Revenue Cutters “Bear,” “Corwin,” and “Richard Rush” to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean in the 1880s and 1890s. The images depict the boats, Captain Michael A. Healy, his son Frank A. Healy, and the crewmen, as well as Alaskan natives and their homes; and various views of the Alaskan wilderness and towns. The collection provides insight into the people and events the “Bear” and “Corwin” encountered on their voyages while under the command of Healy. The collection also depicts Alaskan native graves; missionaries; whaling ships; ice fields in the Arctic Ocean; J. B. Vincent, a survivor of the shipwrecked “Napoleon”; Francis “Frank” Fuller, murderer of Archbishop Charles John Seghers; Alaskan native umiaks and various artifacts; and reindeer stations.
    Photographers who contributed to this collection include H. W. Bradley, Edward DeGroff, Lt. C. D. Kennedy of the USRC Maine, Geoff Knight, William H. Rulofson, and I. W. Taber.

    Related Materials in the Huntington Library

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Related Materials

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Bear (Ship) -- Photographs.
    Capes (Coasts) -- Photographs.
    Corwin (Ship) -- Photographs.
    Fur trade -- Photographs.
    Indians of North America -- Alaska -- Photographs.
    Missionaries -- Photographs.
    Reindeer -- Photographs.
    Sled dogs -- Photographs.
    United States. Revenue -- Cutter Service.
    Whaling -- Photographs.
    Inuit -- Photographs.
    Healy, Michael A., 1839-1904 -- Photographs.
    Alaska -- Photographs.
    Arctic Ocean -- Photographs.
    Bering Sea -- Photographs.
    Siberia (Russia) -- Photographs.
    Unalaska (Alaska)-- Photographs.

    Photographers

    Taber, I. W. (Isaiah West), 1830-1912, photographer.

    Forms/Genres

    Photographs.
    Marine photographs.