Information for Researchers
Title: Frank J. Sommer photographs,
Collection No: P05-005
Sommer, J. Frank
San Francisco Maritime Museum
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (Calif.)
Historic Documents Department
Building E, Fort Mason
San Francisco, California 94123
Abstract: The collection consists of 8 photographs depicting and related to the sea life of Capt. Frank J. Sommer.
Physical Location: Historic Documents Department
The following are indexing terms related to the description of this collection.
Sommer, J. Frank
Mary Horlock (built 1919; steamship: British)
Information for Researchers
This collection is open for research.
There are no restrictions based on the condition of this material. However, you should be aware that access to collection
material is always at the discretion of NPS curatorial staff if the condition warrants restricting the access and handling
of the collection items at any time.
Conditions of Use
The San Francisco Maritime NHP possesses physical property rights through ownership of the materials. However, copyright may
reside with the individual or corporate body responsible for the creation of the materials, or with their heirs. It is the
user's responsibility to respect the provisions of the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Permission to reproduce or publish from this collection must be secured by the user from the copyright holders.
[Item title or description including date]. Frank J. Sommer photographs, P05-005. [Location within collection organization
identified by container number, series number, file unit number, or item number]. Historic Documents Department, San Francisco
Maritime National Historical Park.
Processing and Cataloging
Processed by Charles Miller and completed 2/28/2005.
ANCS+ Catalog No. SAFR 20643.
The collection is cataloged in the National Park Service (NPS) Automated National Catalog System (ANCS+). A portion of the
ANCS+ catalog record can be viewed on the NPS
Museum Collections on the Web Catalog
by searching on the catalog number 20643 at
. Do not include the acronym "SAFR" in the search.
Francis (Frank) J. Sommer was born in Germany on March 19, 1881. He came to America aboard the four-masted bark ALSTERDAM
around 1900, and decided to stay and became a naturalized citizen. He served aboard the STAR OF ALASKA as a seaman in 1904
when she was wrecked in the Sitkinak Strait in Alaska.
Mr. Sommer served in the Coast Guard at the Point Reyes Coast Guard station as a surfman for a while after being aboard the
STAR OF ALASKA, and joined the United States Navy. Starting as a petty officer, and rising in rank to lieutenant, he served
aboard the Navy ships VICKSBURG, BRUTUS, NEWPORT NEWS and GLACIER. While serving as captain of NEWPORT NEWS, he was placed
on inactive duty on June 30, 1922.
On January 26, 1924, Mr. Sommer was serving as first officer aboard the President Line ship PRESIDENT TAFT, when he participated
in the rescue of the crew of MARY HORLOCK (built 1919; steamship: British), in a typhoon 700 miles off the coast of Japan.
He later served in the U.S. Engineers at Mare Island, starting as pilot and eventually attaining the rank of chief pilot.
He narrated an oral history at San Francisco Maritime Museum, interviewed by Karl Kortum and Al Harmon on April 15, 1965.
Mr. Sommer died in Vallejo, CA on March 15, 1969.
The collection was generated by the San Francisco Maritime Museum in the process of compiling an oral history interview of
Frank J. Sommer. The items were donated on or around April 15, 1965, at the time of the oral history interview.
Accession number SAFR-00001.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of 8 photographs depicting and related to the sea life of Capt. Frank J. Sommer.
The images depict Frank J. Sommer at age 22 in San Francisco in 1904; Sommer and six Filipino seamen who participated in the
rescue of crew members of the MARY HORLOCK (built 1919; steamship: British), off the coast of Japan, January 26, 1924; and
Frank J. Sommer and Karl Kortum meeting together on April 15, 1965.
An oral history interview (call number: Tape, A5) and transcript (call number: P, VM, 6.5, B3S6) are on file at San Francisco
Maritime Museum. A two page excerpt from his oral history, dealing with the rescue of crew of the steamship MARY HORLOCK by
PRESIDENT TAFT in 1924; and a copy of newspaper article written by S. Miller Holland, regarding the rescue of the crew of
MARY HORLOCK, are located in the accession folder.
The photographs are arranged chronologically.