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A guide to the Dudley Thickens photographs, 1916-1977
P06-030 (SAFR 22582)  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication and Use Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Historical or Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Content
  • Collection Arrangement

  • Title: Dudley Thickens photographs
    Date: 1916-1977
    Date (bulk): 1940-1965
    Identifier/Call Number: P06-030 (SAFR 22582)
    Creator/Collector: Thickens, Dudley, 1913-1993
    Physical Description: 4090 items
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The Dudley Thickens photographs (P06-030, SAFR 22582) contains approximately 3,450 photographs and 0.4 linear feet of manuscripts concerning vessels in the San Francisco Bay and other locations, along with photographs of lighthouses, transportation, family and other subjects. The documents consist of correspondence between Dudley Thickens and Charles and Ruth Loring.
    Physical Location: San Franicsco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
    Language(s): In English.

    Access

    This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted. Nitrate negatives are restricted from use. Digital use-copies of the nitrate negatives can be provided.

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item description], [Location within collection organization identified by Collection Number/Series Number/File Unit Number/Item Number], P06-030 (SAFR 22582), Dudley Thickens photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    SAFR-01945
    The materials were donated by Mr. Thicken's son John Thickens. Thickens dropped off all of his father's materials at the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association in 2002 and they separated out the maritime materials. Formally accessioned in 2006.

    Historical or Biographical Note

    Dudley Wold Thickens (1913-1993) was a life-long resident of the San Ramon Valley and avid photographer of railroads and vessels in the San Francisco Bay area. His vessel photographs are an important documentary record of the activities in the San Francisco Bay, much like the ship traffic records kept by the Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region.
    Dudley Wold Thickens was born on November 10, 1913. After his father passed away in 1917, he came to the Saranap, California area with his mother Emma Wold Thickens and younger sister Virginia E Thickens. Thickens went to the Saranap Elementary School for about five years, completing first through fourth grade and transferred to Walnut Creek school midway through his fifth grade year. He then attended high school at San Ramon High in Danville around 1927 or 1929. From 1932 to 1933, Thickens took a post-graduate course in "commercial subjects" in Concord. While in school, Thickens worked for Mrs. Jennie Bickerstaff Dewing, later known as Mrs. Rosenberg, making $3.00 for a half-day's work doing yard work. Thickens married Louise Odell and they lived in Lafayette where they had three children: Elizabeth (born 1954), John (born 1956), and Richard (born 1958).
    Thickens was fascinated by railroads in his youth, particularly the Sacramento Northern Railway. He began photographing railroads in 1932. In 1935 he started working for the Sacramento Northern and he took this opportunity to travel and document the Sacramento Northern operations. In 1940 he transferred to the Western Pacific Railroad Company where he worked in the Freight Traffic Department until his retirement.
    Thickens was a founding member of the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association and served in many official positions, including as President in 1950-1951. In June 1950, he co-wrote an article with Ira L. Swett, Arthur L. Lloyd, Vernon J. Sappers, and Addison H. Laflin Jr. titled "Sacramento Northern," in the special issue for the Electric Railway Association of Southern California. In the 1940s Thickens became interested in Pacific Coast shipping and started taking photographs of vessels in the San Francisco Bay and in other locations where he traveled. In 1961, Thickens started a correspondence and friendship with Charles Marshall Loring and they sent each other photographs and information about various vessels until Loring's death in 1973. He was a member of the local chapter of the World Ship Society and wrote many articles for their newsletter INTERCOM and he was also involved in Toastmasters. Dudley Thickens was a life-long resident of the San Ramon Valley and died on May 18, 1993.
    Sources: "Dudley Thickens: A Talk on the 1920's in Saranap and Lafayette Areas and the Vast Influence of the Railroad." Lafayette Historical Society. Accessed on August 10, 2011, from http://www.lafayettehistory.org/oral%20pdf/Dudley%20Thickens.pdf
    Email correspondence with Chuck Vercelli, Librarian, Bay Area Electric Railroad Assn./Western Railway Museum, August 10, 2011
    Note: In addition, Dudley Thickens is referenced in Train Life, December 1983, as a rail traveling companion of the author Albert C. Phelps. Dudley Thickens has photo credits in East Bay Hills Project and The Western Railway Museum.

    Chronology

    1913 Nov 10 Dudley Wold Thickens was born.
    1932 Began photographing railroads.
    1935 Started working for the Sacramento Northern Railway.
    1940 Transferred to the Western Pacific Railroad Company where he worked in the Freight Traffic Department until his retirement.
    1950-1951 Served as president of the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association.
    1954 Daughter Elizabeth born.
    1956 Son John born.
    1958 Son Richard born.
    1961 Thickens started a correspondence and friendship with Charles Marshall Loring.
    1993 May 18 Dudley Thickens died.

    Collection Scope and Content

    The Dudley Thickens photographs (P06-030, SAFR 22582) contains approximately 3,450 photographs and 0.4 linear feet of manuscripts concerning vessels in the San Francisco Bay and other locations, along with photographs of lighthouses, transportation, family and other subjects. The documents consist of correspondence between Dudley Thickens and Charles and Ruth Loring.
    The collection is predominantly comprised of black-and-white photographs that Dudley Thickens took of vessels in the San Francisco Bay in the 1940s-1970s. Most are American and foreign built merchant vessels. There are also photographs of tug boats, pilot boats, lightships, and government vessels. Most of the collection is made up of black-and-white negatives although there are also some photographic prints. There is a small amount of correspondence between Dudley Thickens and Charles Marshall Loring, 1961-1973 and Dudley Thickens and Ruth Loring, 1973-1975.

    Collection Arrangement

    Arranged into three series: Vessel photographs; Lighthouse, transportation, family and other photographs; correspondence.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ships--California--San Francisco--Pictorial works
    San Francisco Bay (Calif.)--Harbor
    Coastwise shipping--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Shipping--Pacific Coast (North America)--History--Pictorial works
    Merchant ships--United states--History--20th century
    Transports
    Government vessels--United states
    Loring, Charles M. (Charles Marshall), 1899-1973
    Loring, Ruth
    San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
    Port of San Francisco (Calif.)
    San Pedro (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Portland (Or.)
    Black-and-white negatives
    Negatives (photographic)
    Nitrate negatives
    Black-and-white prints
    Photographic prints
    Correspondence