Arthur C. Pillsbury Photograph Collection

Interested in seeing panoramic photos of Seattle and Alaska at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush? We recently digitized 197 photographs taken by Arthur C. Pillsbury between approximately 1896 and 1900, documenting the Gold Rush and scenes from California, Oregon and Washington. The collection includes a mixture of photograph sizes, many of them panoramic images that measure nearly three feet in length.

Pioneer Square, Seattle, 1899

The majority of the photographs in the collection show scenes from the Klondike Gold Rush. Pillsbury first traveled to Alaska in 1898, shortly after his graduation from Stanford University. (By this time, his interest in photography was already well established. To help fund his education at Stanford he operated a combination bicycle and photography shop and for his senior project at the University, he invented the first circuit panorama camera.) His father accompanied him on his travels and the two men experienced a fair share of adventure on their journey.

After setting out from Seattle and traveling hundreds of miles up the coast, they wrecked their small boat in a storm near Cape Fox, Alaska. Miraculously, neither Pillsbury’s camera nor his camera supplies (which were in airtight metal canisters) were damaged in the wreck but they did lose their maps and navigation charts. Once ashore, Pillsbury and his father created a temporary shelter from the boat’s wreckage and Pillsbury walked ten miles to a Tlingit village (which he remembered being marked on the now lost maps) for help. Continue reading “Arthur C. Pillsbury Photograph Collection”