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A guide to the Walter P. Miller photographs, circa 1920-1932
P77-028a (SAFR 23359)  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication and Use Rights
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Historical or Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Content
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Title: Walter P. Miller photographs
    Date: circa 1920-1932
    Identifier/Call Number: P77-028a (SAFR 23359)
    Creator: Miller, Walter P.

    Huycke, Harold D. (Collector)
    Physical Description: 134 items.
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The Walter P. Miller photographs, circa 1920-1932, (SAFR 23359, P77-028a) are comprised mainly of photographs of tall ships underway off the Pacific Coast of Washington state. The collection has been processed to the Item level and is open for use.
    Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
    Language(s): English


    This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted.
    Nitrate negatives are restricted from use. Use-copies 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.

    Processing Note

    Each photographic image has been assigned an Item number; there are often multiple physical forms of each image (e.g. a nitrate negative, a copy interpositive and a copy negative) which has been noted in the physical description field.
    In the 1980s, nitrate negatives 1-13 and 15-44 were duplicated and contact interpositives and copy negatives were made for each nitrate negative. It should be noted that there is both a contact interpositive and a copy negative for Item number 14 as well.
    Description Notes: Dates refer to when the original photograph was taken. The contact interpositives and copy negatives in this collection were made by SAFR staff in the 1980s. Dates given to the photographs by processing staff in 2013 were taken from the enclosures that were prepared by SAFR staff prior to 2013, and most indicate that the photographs were taken in 1932. However, some of the photographs in the SFMNHP Classified collection which match those in this collection have the date 1927 associated with them. Gordon P. Jones notes that Miller was "responsible for capturing the last flurry, in 1927, of windjammers in the area as they left Cape Flattery with lumber" and this seems to indicate that the dates of 1927 might be correct (Jones, 12). It is unclear where the SAFR staff got the dates outside of 1927 (perhaps they were on the original enclosures). Many of the photographs have the date, Miller's photograph number, the vessel name, or some combination of these, written on the frame, outside of the image area. It is not known who wrote these numbers and dates on the nitrate negatives, but it is likely that the numbers are the photographer's marks of Walter P. Miller. When the photographs in this collection were compared to photographs in the Walter P. Miller photograph album (SAFR 22224, HDC 1600, Series 12.1.04, File Unit 1), these numbers match the photographs in the album in all but one instance. When photograph numbers were written on the image, they appeared to certainly be photographer's marks, and this was noted at the Item level.
    The descriptions in this collection guide were compiled using the best available sources of information. Such sources include the creator's annotations or descriptions, collection accession files, primary and secondary source material and subject matter experts. While every effort was made to provide accurate information, in the event that you find any errors in this guide please contact the reference staff in order for us to evaulate and make corrections to this guide.
    Please cite the title and collection number in any correspondence with our staff.

    Preferred Citation

    [Item description], [Location within collection organization identified by Collection Number/Series Number/File Unit Number/Item Number], P77-028a (SAFR 23359), Walter P. Miller photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    These photographs were given to the Maritime Museum by Harold Huycke in October 1976. They were formally accessioned on May 4, 1977. It is likely that Huycke obtained these photographs from Roger Dudley between 1957 and 1976.
    SAFR-00001 is a blanket accession that was transferred from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in September 1988. GGNRA had previously acquired the collection from the San Francisco Maritime Museum when it became a unit of the National Park Service in 1977.
    GOGA-00789 was transferred from the J. Porter Shaw Library to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in February 1985.

    Historical or Biographical Note

    Walter P. Miller (1877-1938) was a photographer of the Pacific Northwest, primarily of the Seattle, Washington, area. His body of work is varied, a significant portion documenting the town and people of Seattle, and is valuable for documenting life in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Although it seems as though the majority of his work did not depict maritime culture, he took a particular interest in documenting or collecting maritime photography and was a sailor himself.
    Walter Miller was born to Henry Miller and Ida Belle Pritchard around 1887 in Chimney, Illinois. He joined Dr. Fredrick A. Cook's 1903 expedition around Mount McKinley as a photographer for an unknown amount of time. Walter married B. Elma Baker in 1911 in Seattle. She died, the circumstances unknown, and he married Aimee Farnsworth (circa 1878-1935) in 1921.
    Primarily a commercial photographer, Miller partnered with Asahel Curtis as Curtis & Miller from approximately 1911-1920, in Seattle ("Asahel Curtis Photo Company Photographs").
    Miller had a studio that was at one time in the basement of the 1 Stuart Building in Seattle, and he contributed to the Seattle newspaper, the POST-INTELLIGENCER and the tabloid, SEATTLE NEWS-LETTER (Dorpat). His studio was known to be a marine gallery in its own right, the walls covered with murals of sailing vessels and a collection of copies of H. H. Morrison maritime prints that he was always willing to show (Jones, 12). Roger Alonzo Dudley, Sr. (1895-1954) worked for Walter P. Miller, and in the mid 1930s bought out the business (Dorpat).
    Walter Miller died while sailing his ketch MON REVE in the straits in and around Skagit County, Washington, on September 14, 1938 (Jones, 12).


    • "Asahel Curtis Photo Company Photographs," University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, WA. Retrieved on February 7, 2013. http://content.lib.washington.edu/curtisweb/index.html
    • Beckey, Fred W. Mount McKinley: Icy Crown of North America. Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers, 1993. Retrieved on February 8, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=nXGOq8MhZYcC&lpg=PA76&dq=Walter%20Miller%20Seattle&pg=PA76#v=twopage&q=Walter%20Miller%20Seattle&f=false
    • Dorpat, Paul. "Seattle Now & Then: Street Photography:Auto Row," DorpatSherrardLomont (blog), October 11, 2009, retrieved December 14, 2011. http://pauldorpat.com/washington-then-and-now/auto-row/.
    • Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. 1930 United States Federal Census: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Seattle, King, Washington; Roll: 2499; Page: 20B; Enumeration District: 409; Image: 213.0; FHL microfilm: 2342233. Retrieved on February 11, 2013. Ancestry.com.
    • Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920: National Archives, Washington, D.C. Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. Seattle, King, Washington; Roll: T625_1929; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 341; Image: 191. (NARA microfilm publication T625, 2076 rolls). Retrieved on February 11, 2013. Ancestry.com.
    • Jones, Gordon P. Short Biographies of Photographers Who Helped to Record the Maritime History of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: Puget Sound Maritime Historical Association, 1966.
    • Miller, Walter P. "Hubbard Coil Runs Boat On Portage Bay Ten Knots An Hour; Auto Test Next" photographs, The Post-Intelligencer (Seattle, WA), Jul. 29, 1920. Retrieved on February 11, 2013. http://amasci.com/freenrg/hubbard1.txt
    • Washington, Deaths, 1883-1960. Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington. Retrieved on February 11, 2013. Ancestry.com.
    • Washington, Marriage Records, 1865-2004. Washington State Archives, Olympia, Washington. Retrieved on February 11, 2013. Ancestry.com.

    Collection Scope and Content

    The Walter P. Miller photographs, circa 1920-1932, (SAFR 23359, P77-028a) are comprised mainly of photographs of tall ships underway off the Pacific Coast of Washington state. The collection has been processed to the Item level and is open for use.
    The collection contains photographs of schooners, barks, barkentines and other square-rigged vessels taken by Walter P. Miller from circa 1920 to 1932. There are 46 unique photographic images, in 134 physical forms (44 nitrate negatives, 44 contact interpositives, and 46 copy negatives).
    Vessels pictured include ANNE COMYN (built 1919; barkentine, 5m), C.S. HOLMES (built 1893; schooner, 4m), COMMODORE (built 1919; schooner, 4m), CONQUEROR (built 1918, barkentine, 4m), FOREST FRIEND (barkentine, 5m), HELEN B. STERLING (built 1920; schooner, 6m), JAMES TUFT (built 1901; barkentine, 4m), JOSEPH DOLLAR (built 1902; bark, 4m), MARGARET F. STERLING (schooner, 4m), TUSITALA (built 1883; full-rigged ship, 3m), VIGILANT (built 1920; schooner, 5m), and unidentified vessels laid-up at Lake Union, Washington. The photographs of vessels appear to have been taken from the deck of a tugboat, possibly ROOSEVELT. There are two photographs of people: a portrait of Captain E. R. Sterling and his son, Captain Ray Milton Sterling; and an unidentified group of people aboard STAR OF HOLLAND (built 1885; bark, 3m).
    All but three of the photographs in this collection can also be found in the Walter P. Miller photograph album in the Harold D. Huycke Collection (SAFR 22224, HDC 1600, Series 12.1.04, File Unit 1): only Item numbers 12, 45 and 46 are not found in the album. There is a typed note attached to the inside of the front cover of the album in HDC 1600 that says: "The following photos were taken by Mr. Walter P. Miller of Seattle, and eventually came into the possession of Mr. Roger Dudley, a commercial photographer of Seattle. Mr. Dudley kept out a few of the negatives of FOREST FRIEND, JOSEPH DOLLAR and TUSITALA when the collection was sold to H.D. Huycke, March 1957. However there were three albums included in the sale, and photos of most, if not all of the missing negatives are included." It appears that Harold Huycke eventually got the remaining Walter P. Miller negatives from Roger Dudley, since the negatives in this collection match the photographs in the album found in HDC 1600. (See collection file for a photocopy of this note.)

    Collection Arrangement

    The photographs are arranged in one Series and are in numerical order by Item number. It is unknown whether this is the original order, or an order imposed by previous SAFR staff. In their current order, the photographs are arranged mostly in numerical order by numbers written on the negatives (most likely assigned by Walter P. Miller, as they appear to be photographer's marks). The numbers written on the negatives also place the images mostly in chronological order.

    Related Materials

    Related photograph collections: Robert Dollar Company photographs, 1858-1960. SFMNHP, (SAFR 17919, P77-007). Includes photographs taken by Walter P. Miller of Robert Dollar in Seattle, Washington, and the vessels H.F. ALEXANDER (passenger vessel), PRESIDENT GRANT (passenger vessel), PRESIDENT MADISON (passenger vessel), RICHARD HOLYOKE (tugboat), and SEA MONARCH (tugboat).
    Charles Clarkson Photo Albums, 1931-1946. SFMNHP, (SAFR 10121, P79-022a). 2 photo albums of sail and steam vessels in the Pacific Northwest, of stranded and otherwise damaged or disabled vessels. Includes 6 photographs taken by Walter P. Miller of the hulk of ALAMEDA (passenger vessel) after the November 28, 1931 fire in Seattle, Washington.
    John B. Goodman photo collection, circa 1920-1930. SFMNHP, (SAFR 9367, P79-089a). Photographs of movie vessel construction/research. Contains 1 black-and-white photograph taken by Walter P. Miller, of LANAKAI (schooner, 2m) at Lake Union, Seattle, Washington, view of deck from stern, October 1936.
    San Francisco Chronicle photographs, circa 1906-1966. SFMNHP, (SAFR 9368, P81-052a). Consists of black-and-white photographic prints of West Coast maritime shipping and vessels. Contains 1 black-and-white photograph taken by Walter P. Miller, of PRINCIPIA (power yacht) underway in Seattle, Washington.
    Pillsbury and Margitoni Photo Collection, 1914-1963. SFMNHP, (SAFR 17923, P84-120). Black-and-white prints, primarily of shipwrecks and disasters. Contains 5 black-and-white photographs taken by Walter P. Miller, of PRESIDENT MADISON (freighter) lying on her starboard side at dock in Seattle, Washington.
    Walter P. Miller photographs of steam schooners, circa 1920s. SFMNHP, (P98-002, SAFR 22073). (3) black-and-white copy negatives of the wreck of the schooner KING CYRUS and the stranded steam schooners TAMALPAIS and RAINIER. Harold Huycke attributes the latter two to the photographer Walter P. Miller. Purchased by Harold Huycke from a photographer named Roger Dudley of Seattle, WA in 1957.
    The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park also has Walter Miller photographic prints of sailing vessels. Some of them are duplicates of prints that can be found in photograph album #1 in this subseries (12.1.04), while others are not duplicates. See accession card for Harold Huycke dated December 1, 1960 for call numbers of other Miller prints that are found in the album.
    There are many SFMNHP Classified photographs taken by Walter P. Miller (about 75 photographs); most of these are copies of photographs in this collection (P77-028a) and this has been noted at the item level when applicable.
    Related manuscript collection: Harold Huycke collection, circa 1870-2004. SFMNHP, (SAFR 22224, HDC 1600). Series 12.1.04. Roger A. Dudley, Jr. photograph collection, circa 1890s-1940s, File Unit 1 (Walter P. Miller photograph album). All but three of the prints in this collection (P77-028a) can be found in this album.
    • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    Asahel Curtis and Walter P. Miller photographs at the Washington State Historical Society, some of which can be accessed from http://digitum.washingtonhistory.org/index.php
    • This material is located at Washington State Historical Society

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Marine photography
    Shipping--Pacific Coast (North America)--History--Pictorial works
    Coastwise shipping--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    Merchant ships
    Miller, Walter P., photographer
    Dudley, Jr., Roger A., (1917-2003), photographer
    Anne Comyn (built 1919; barkentine, 5m)
    C.S. Holmes (built 1893; schooner, 4m)
    Commodore (built 1919; schooner, 4m)
    Conqueror (built 1918; barkentine, 4m)
    Forest Friend (barkentine, 5m)
    Helen B. Sterling (schooner, 4m)
    James Tuft (built 1901; barkentine, 4m)
    Joseph Dollar (built 1902; bark, 4m)
    Margaret F. Sterling (schooner, 4m)
    Tusitala (Square-rigger)
    Vigilant (built 1920; schooner, 5m)
    Pacific Coast (Wash.)
    Union, Lake (Wash.)
    Flattery, Cape (Wash.)
    Black-and-white negatives
    Cellulose nitrate film