Views of San Quentin Prison and Events, ca. 1925-1935

Processed by Chris McDonald.
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-6000

Views of San Quentin Prison and Events, ca. 1925-1935

BANC PIC 1905.11240 -- ALB

The Bancroft Library

University of California

Berkeley, California 1996
Finding aid and digital representations of archival materials funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
    Processed and encoded by:
    California Heritage Digital Image Access Project staff in The Bancroft Library and The Library's Electronic Text Unit
    Digital images processed by:
    The Library Photographic Service
    Finding aid completed:
    August 1996
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Views of San Quentin Prison and Events,
Date: ca. 1925-1935
Collection Number: BANC PIC 1905.11240 -- ALB
Collector: Mooney, Thomas J.
Extent: No. of photographs: 355 photographic prints, all measuring 10 x 14.5 cm.; collected in album measuring 28.5 x 38.5 cm. 355 digital objects
Repository: The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection stored off-site. Advance notice required for use.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item] Views of San Quentin Prison and Events, BANC PIC 1905.11240--ALB, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Digital Representations Available

Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

Related Collections

Title: Thomas J. Mooney Papers, 1906-1942,
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 410

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Views of San Quentin Prison and Events album was transferred from the Thomas J. Mooney Papers, 1906-1942, BANC MSS C-B 410.

Scope and Content

The Views of San Quentin Prison and Events album contains 355 photographic prints taken circa 1925-1935. The album features views and scenes of the the prison grounds, interiors of many of the structures, and various recreational acitivities. Besides general grounds views, the album contains views of the large garden; scenes from the prisoners' yards; several guard stations; and exterior views of the cell blocks, officer residences, guard quarters, and the dairy and ranch. Interior views feature prisoners' cells, factories, shops, dining halls and guard quarters. Prisoner activities pictured in the album include entertainment events--featuring musicians, dancers, clowns, and female impersonators among the performers--and athletics. Also pictured in the album are views of the surrounding Marin County vicinty and scenes of the San Quentin Prison Quarry.
The album may have been compiled, if not photographed, by Tom Mooney, though this is not verified. The diversity of subjects pictured in the album suggest that the photographer had great access to many areas of the prison, while the caption information suggests a strong familiarity with everyday prison life.
Photographs of womens' cell blocks indicate that at least some of the photographs were taken prior to 1927, the last year women were housed at the prison.

Container List


:1 General view of San Quentin Prison.


:2 Prisoners marching in Front Gate.


:3 Approaching Front Gate.


:4 Entrance Front Gate.


:5 End of Reservation.


:6 Guards Recreation Hall.


:7 Officer's Homes.


:8 Fire House.


Garden Beautiful Views.


Main Yard.


More Main Yard Views.


Machine Gun Towers.


:28 Arsenal.


Machine Gun Towers.


More Guard Towers.


:36 Nut Alley (on left).


:37 Educational Building.


:38 Furniture Factory.


:39 Prison-made Furniture.


:40 Cell Block Guard.


:41 Wall Guard.


:42 Tailor Shop.


:43 West Wing Yard.


School House for Guard's Children.


Guards Children.


:50 Administration Building.


:51 Guard Residences.


:52 Officers & Guards Dining Room.


:53 Officers & Guards Mess Crew.


:54 Pot Washers Corner.


:55 Kitchen.


:56 Married Guards Quarters.


:57 Womens Department.


:58 Outpost Guard.


:59 Edge of Reservation.


:60 Old Hospital in Background.


:61 Old Cell Block.


:62 Garden Beautiful.


:63 "The Porch"


:64 Mess Hall's [sic].


:65 Mess Hall's [sic].


:66 Jute Mill Road.


:67 Mess Building.


:68 Outpost Guard.


:69 Wardens Private Garage.


:70 Back Gate.


:71 Machine Gun Tower.


:72 Wardens Residence.


:73 Women's Department.


:74 Guard's Garage.


:75 Guard Tower.


:76 Back Entrance to Mess Hall.


:77 Spud Locker.


:78 Mess Hall Building.


:79 Mess Hall.


Furniture Factory.


:85 Mount Tamilpias [i.e. Tamalpais].


:86 Lumber Yard.


:87 Quarry in Background.


Some Prison Gardens.


:92 Head Gardner's Quarters.


:93 His "Bonarue" Kitchen.


:94 Dairy Building.


:95 Hog Ranch.


:96 Booster Pump House.


:97 Booster Pump.


:98 Pump House Quarters.


:99 Chicken Ranch.


Ranch Activity.


Dairy Buildings.


Rock Crusher.


:110 Taking it Easy.


:111 Washing Clothes.


More Quarry Views.


At the Prison Quarry.


:120 Steam Shovel.


:121 Quarry Guard.


:122 Rock Crusher.


:123 Quarry Barber Shop.


:124 Prisoners.


:125 Booster Pump House.


:126 Guard Tower.


:127 General View San Quentin Prison.


:128 Outside the Walls.


:129 Women's Department.


:130 Small Gardens.


:131 Another General View.


:132 Filling In.


Old Cell Blocks.


:135 Old Cell Block.


:136 Old Prison Cells.


Prison Construction.


:139 More Prison Construction.


:140 Old Cell Block.


On the Prison Waterfront.


:145 General View of Prison.


:146 Warden's Residence.


:147 Ranch Buildings.


:148 Rock Separator at Quarry.


:149 Warden's House.


:150 General View of San Quentin Prison.


:151 The Porch.


:152 Warden's Residence.


:153 Prisoners Marching In.


More Waterfront Views.


:158 Wall Guard.


:159 Prison Construction.


:160 New Mess Hall.


:161 Jute Mill.


:162 Old Prison Cells.


:163 Shelter Shed.


Main Yard Again.


:166 The Porch Again.


:167 Wall Guard.


:168 Officers & Guards Dining Room.


:169 Old Cell Blocks.


:170 General View of San Quentin Prison.


:171 Alley Way.


:172 Jute Mill Road.


:173 Roof Tops.


:174 Spud Locker.


Along the Waterfront.


More Waterfront Views.


Prison Laundry.


In the New Prison.


:191 New Prison Cell Block.


:192 Inside View.


:193 Jute Mill.


:194 Ball Diamond.


:195 Overlooking Lower Yard.


:196 Alley Way.


:197 Road to Mess Hall.


:198 Main Yard.


:199 Blacksmith Shop.


:200 Mess Hall Entrance.


New Prison Cells.


:204 Old Prison Cells.


:205 Spud Shack.


:206 Orchestra Pit.


:207 Main Line Dining Hall.


:209 Main Line Kitchen.


Gun Rail.


:212 Photo Gallery.


:213 Old Cell Block.


:214 West Wing Yard.


:215 Wall Post.


:216 Alley Stairway.


:217 New Prison Cell Blocks.


Gun Rails.


:222 Old Cell Block.


:223 East Wing Entrance.


:224 New Prison Entrance.


:225 Crazy Alley on Left.


Wall Guard Towers.


:228 Jute Mill Yard.


:229 Jute Mill.


:230 Guard Tower.


:231 West Wing Yard.


:232 "Crazy Alley".


:233 Alley Way.


:234 Laundry Washers.


:235 Main Line Showers.


:236 New Laundry.


:237 Change Room.


Tiers of Cells.


:241 Guard at New Prison.


:242 New Prison Stairway.


:243 Old Cell Blocks.


:244 Bake Ovens.


:245 Photo Gallery.


:246 Run Way.


:247 Prison Construction.


:248 Alley Way.


:249 New Prison Cells.


:250 Open Air Lavatories.


:251 Sunday in the Lower Yard.


:252 4th. of July Lemonade.


:253 Prisoner & Trained Cat.


:254 Laundry Presses.


:255 Laundry View.


Tin Shop.


:258 Tailor Shop View.


:259 Mexican Quartette.


:260 San Quentin Band.


:261 On the March.


:262 Band Stand.


:263 Contestants.


:264 "Nuts".


:265 Cutting Up.


:266 Clowns.


:267 Custard Pie.


Floor Show.




At Rehearsal.


:280 Jap Tug-O-War.


:281 Female Impersonator.


:282 "Lifer".


:283 Spectators.


:284 Field View.


:285 Finish of Mile Race.


:286 Tug-O-War.


:287 Pulling Hard.


:288 Looking over Field.


:289 Finish 880 Yard Dash.


:290 Frank G. O'Kane.


:291 Frank G. O'Kane Announcing.


:292 Hammer Throw.


:293 Spectators.


:294 Mill Contestants.


:295 Centepede [sic] Race.


:296 Cup Presentation Warden Holohan Center.


:297 Frank G. O'Kane Announcing.


:298 Olympic Club Visitors.


:299 "Outside" Singers.


:300 Tug-O-War Judge.


:301 Olympic Club Officials.


:302 Frank G. O'Kane.


:303 Announcing Events.




High Jump.


Pole Vault.


:312 2 Mile Run.


:313 2 Mile Run, Last Lap.


:314 Pole Vault.


:315 Hammer Throw.




:318 Finish of Hundred Yard Dash.


:319 Broad Jump.


At Rehearsal.


:324 Announcing Events.


:325 Rehearsal.


:326 Tug-O-War.


:327 More Nuts.


Obstacle Race and Winner.


:332 Final.


:333 Harmony Four.


:334 Olympic Club Officials.


:335 Orchestra.


:336 A Gag.


:337 Female Impersonators.


:338 "Nuts".


:339 Rehearsal Again.


:340 Prison Baseball. Spectators.


:341 Prison Baseball. Safe at First.


:342 Prison Baseball. Score Keepers.


:343 Prison Baseball. Guards and Visitors.


:344 Prison Baseball. A Hit.


:345 Prison Baseball. Talking it over.


:346 Prison Baseball. Home Run.


:347 Prison Baseball. Safe At First.


Prison Baseball. Action.


:352 Prison Baseball. Substitutes.


:353 Prison Baseball. Safe at First.


:354 Prison Baseball. Walking Home.


:355 Prison Baseball. A Wild Swing.