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”

Mary Ellen Mark: Eyeing Life

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that support the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

The undiffused difference between the placid suburb of her youth and the rough-edged city that surrounded it became quickly apparent. In she went with her lens widening as a jagged journey ensued. Lengths and dimensions of lives spread across cityscapes of lost dreams, nightmarish realities, and undying hope.

Pike
Tiny on Pike Street Seattle, Washington, 1983

Mary Ellen Mark made her mark when the book Streetwise was first published in 1988.  Within the reeking insides of a city, runaway children observed yet another stranger inserting herself into the frame of their lives.  Who else could she be except a question dangling itself before their eyes until it, too, disappeared after having received an answering look.

Look, I don’t have to tell you that in this world there are streets not meant to be crossed and sidewalks one dare not step onto less the last step at the far end of the block means curbing your own life. The innocent are not spared, the guilty go on to greater gory and there, midway, on that tumultuous street is a woman with a camera that haunts the harm.  She knows how, even absent the suburban enclave of a carefully manicured life, life remains hungry for itself.  A woman with a camera arrives a stranger and leaves with your face in her hands. Continue reading “Mary Ellen Mark: Eyeing Life”

Streetwise Revisited: Library Resources

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

Tiny Streetwise RevisitedThe Seattle Public Library is hosting the Streetwise Revisited: A 30-year Journey photography exhibit by Mary Ellen Mark exploring the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness.

It begins next Thursday, September 15 through Thursday, November 3 at the Central Library in the Level 8 Gallery.  Public programs will take place in library and community locations.

For more information about the Exhibit and a calendar of the programs and film screenings, please visit the Streetwise Revisited page. Continue reading “Streetwise Revisited: Library Resources”

The Story Behind a Modern Marvel: The Seattle Space Needle

 

Photographer George Gulacsik atop the Space Needle, ca. November 1961
Photographer George Gulacsik atop the Space Needle, ca. November 1961

Fifty-five years ago this month, construction began on one of Seattle’ s most prominent icons – the Space Needle.  Our newest digital collection, the George Gulacsik Photograph Collection, documents the construction of the Needle from its start on April 17, 1961 to its completion in 1962 with the opening of the World’s Fair. Continue reading “The Story Behind a Modern Marvel: The Seattle Space Needle”

Frank A. Kunishige and the Seattle Camera Club

Black Veil by Frank A. Kunishige
Black Veil by Frank A. Kunishige

This month at the Central Library, we are opening an exciting new exhibit dedicated to Frank A. Kunishige, a noted Pictorialist photographer and one of the first members of the internationally recognized Seattle Camera Club. The exhibit features a selection of 33 textura tissue photographs, donated in 1961 by Kunishige’s wife, Gin. The prints represent the full range of Kunishige’s artistic photographs, including flowers, landscapes, nudes and cityscapes. To accompany the new exhibit, we’ve created a new digital collection featuring our full set of 57 images. Continue reading “Frank A. Kunishige and the Seattle Camera Club”