Photographs of Alaska by Frank La Roche

Huntington Library. Photo Archives
Huntington Library. Photo Archives
Photograph Collections, 1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
(626) 405-2129

Descriptive Summary

Title: Photographs of Alaska by Frank La Roche
Dates: ca. 1892
Collection Number: photCL 95
Creator/Collector: La Roche, Frank (1853-1936)
Extent: 54 photographs in 1 box; prints 23 x 17 cm. (9 x 6.5 in.). See itemized list under "Additional Collection Guides."
Repository: Huntington Library. Photo Archives
San Marino, California 91108
Abstract: This collection consists of photographs of Alaska taken ca. 1892 by Frank La Roche, depicting Alaskan nature scenes, views of town life (mainly in Sitka and Wrangell), and some Alaskan Natives. This collection provides insight into the Alaskan environment just before the Klondike Gold Rush.
Language of Material: English


Access is granted to qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact the Curator of Photographs at the Huntington Library.

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

Photographs of Alaska by Frank La Roche. Huntington Library. Photo Archives

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Shorey’s Bookstore (Seattle, Washington) on July 25, 1956.

Biography/Administrative History

Frank La Roche (1853-1936) was born in Philadelphia. At the age of seventeen, he was employed at a photographic studio and learned the trade for two years. In 1872, La Roche left for Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania to start a general commercial photography business. From 1876-1878, La Roche had a variety of commissions, including making negatives of the planet Mercury for the United States and French governments. His workmanship was recognized in the form of six prizes at the Iowa state fair in 1888. In 1889, he traveled to Seattle, Washington just after the Great Seattle Fire and opened a photo gallery. La Roche took trips through Alaska and Canada, specializing in scenic and industrial photography. Perhaps his most intensive project was photographing the Klondike Gold Rush, which lasted from ca. 1897-1899. La Roche moved his studio to Sedro-Wooley, Washington in 1914. He retired in 1928, passing the business to his son. He died in Sedro-Wooley in 1936 at the age of eighty-two.

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection is particularly strong in images of Muir Glacier and the cities of Sitka and Wrangell, ca. 1892. In addition to images of these places, the collection includes images of Alaskan Natives; Alaskan Native totem poles; Killisnoo, Alaska; the Native American community of Kasaan, Alaska; the steamboat Star Queen; various glaciers; and Treadmill Mill and Mine at Douglas Island.

Indexing Terms

Indians of North America—Alaska
Metlakatla (Alaska)
Totem poles
Douglas Island (Alaska)
Juneau (Alaska)
Kasaan (Alaska)
Killisnoo (Alaska)
Sitka (Alaska)
Wrangell (Alaska)
Marine photographs

Additional collection guides