Carl S. Dentzel Photograph Collection of the American West: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Michelle Sanchez.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
© 2013
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Carl S. Dentzel Photograph Collection of the American West
Dates (inclusive): 1870s-1890s
Collection Number: photCL 98
Collector: Dentzel, Carl S.
Extent: 84 photographs in 2 boxes; photographs 18 x 24 cm. (7 x 9 in.) and smaller.
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Rare Books Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Abstract: Photographs of the American West, dating from the 1870s to the 1890s, collected by Carl S. Dentzel (1913-1980), director of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California, including a disbound album of photographs of Alaska taken by A. L. Broadbent. These views show Revenue Cutter Service ships and officers; Alaskan natives; towns; scenery; the fur trade and mission schools. Other notable photographs in this collection include portraits of John C. Frémont, Harrison Gray Otis, and John A. Sutter; a series of Lake Tahoe card photographs; and views of early western settlers around the time of the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889.
Language: English.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carl S. Dentzel Photograph Collection of the American West, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Purchased from Paul and Elizabeth Dentzel on March 24, 1992.

Biographical Note

Carl Schaefer Dentzel (1913-1980) served as director of the Southwest Museum in Highland Park, California, from 1956 until his death in 1980, and was integral in the founding of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board in 1962. Privately, Dentzel assembled large collections of Western American art and photographs, and Asian and Native American artifacts.

Scope and Content of Collection

This collection contains 84 photographs of the American West that were collected by Carl S. Dentzel (1913-1980), director of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California. The photographs date from the 1870s to the 1890s and include a disbound album of photographs of Alaska taken by A. L. Broadbent.
The Alaska album (items 30-84) has a title page inscribed "Mr(?) Baldwin, Dutch Harbor, Unalaska / Compliments of A. L. Broadbent." These photographs all have manuscript captions in ink, presumably written by Broadbent. Scenes include: Alaskan natives, homes, graves; missionaries and schools; walrus hunting; whaling ships; totem poles; portraits of officers in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service; Greek and Russian Orthodox churches; the first grand jury in Nome, Alaska; James Gilchrist Swan; and a portrait of photographer A. L. Broadbent.
The other photographs in the collection are a series of Lake Tahoe card photographs; a few views of the logging industry; Kingston, Nevada; homesteaders and miners in Oklahoma; and some portraits. Of note is a portrait of "D. S. Mitchell, Photographer" and his camera and tent in Oklahoma.
Photographers who contributed to this collection include William C. Billington, Alfred Lee Broadbent, F. Davey, Edward De Groff, Charles D. Kirkland, David Sedgley Mitchell, C. H. Shaffner, Julius Ulke, and Raper James Waters.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  
Bear (ship) -- Photographs.
Church buildings -- Photographs.
Grand jury--Alaska -- Photographs.
Hotels -- Photographs.
Indians of North America—Alaska -- Photographs.
Logging -- Photographs.
Missionaries -- Photographs.
Oklahoma—History—Land Rush, 1889 -- Photographs.
Photographers--1880-1890 -- Photographs.
Reindeer -- Photographs.
Sutro Baths (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Photographs.
Totem poles -- Photographs.
United States. Revenue-Cutter Service -- Photographs.
Walrus hunting -- Photographs.
Broadbent, A. L. -- Photographs.
Frémont, John Charles, 1813-1890 -- Photographs.
Otis, Harrison Gray, 1837-1917 -- Photographs.
Sutter, John Augustus, 1803-1880 -- Photographs.
Swan, James Gilchrist -- Photographs.
Alaska -- Photographs.
Oklahoma -- Photographs.
San Diego (Calif.) -- Photographs.
Siberia (Russia) -- Photographs.
Sitka (Alaska) -- Photographs.
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.) -- Photographs.
Unalaska (Alaska) -- Photographs.

Collection Contents

Box 1

Photographs 1-29


Lake Tahoe Series by R.J. Waters, Gold Hill, Nevada

Box 1, Item 1

Emerald Bay; Looking West

Box 1, Item 2

Maggie’s Peaks from Emerald Bay

Box 1, Item 3

Marlett Lake. Source of Virginia City’s water supply

Box 1, Item 4

Fallen Leaf Lake. Altitude 6320 feet. Gilmore’s Glen Alpine, illustrated.

Box 1, Item 5

Tallac Range from Sugar Pine Point

Box 1, Item 6

Lumbering at Lake Tahoe. Loading the truck

Box 1, Item 7

Log chute on the Truckee River. View taken at the moment the log enters the water

Box 1, Item 8

A mountain stream

Box 1, Item 9

Tallac Hotel

Box 1, Item 10


Box 1, Item 11

Hot springs

Box 1, Item 12

Grand Central, summer

Box 1, Item 13

Grand Central, winter


California scenes: various

Box 1, Item 14

Rodeo at San Diego, California in early 80’s [1880s]

Box 1, Item 15

[Men, women, and children at wooden structures in desert. C.H. Shaffner, photographer]

Box 1, Item 16

Swimmers in the Sutro Baths [W.C. Billington, photographer]


Western Scenes

Box 1, Item 17

Cowboy [C.D. Kirkland, photographer]

Box 1, Item 18

Oklahoma views: Hunting a claim [Man in suit and hat with packhorse. Mitchell and De Groff, photographers]

Box 1, Item 19

Breaking land in Oklahoma [Two men with oxen plowing field.]

Box 1, Item 20

Boomers in Oklahoma [Men, women, and children crossing field in oxen-pulled covered wagons]

Box 1, Item 21

[Three men and child in front of wooden shed. Mitchell and De Groff, photographers]

Box 1, Item 22

[D.S. Mitchell’s photography tent with two men in front. Mitchell and De Groff, photographers]

Box 1, Item 23

[Group of civil engineers and surveyors]



Box 1, Item 24

General [John A.] Sutter [Julius Ulke, photographer]

Box 1, Item 25

John A. Sutter [Photo by Shew’s Pioneer Gallery]

Box 1, Item 26

Harrison Gray Otis Brig. Gen. U.S. [Rest of caption unknown due to tear] [F. Davey, photographer]

Box 1, Item 27

General [John C.] Fremont


Kingston, Nevada

Box 1, Item 28

West Main St. Kingston, Lander County, Nevada. About twenty-five miles from Austin. Ghost town. Flourished from about 1864 to 1869. See history of Nevada, edited by M. Angel; Thompson West, 1881, page 473.

Box 1, Item 29

[Does not exist]

Box 2

Photographs 30-84


Alaska photos by Alfred Lee Broadbent

Box 2 , Item 30

Whaling bark “Hunter”. Arctic Ocean.

Box 2 , Item 31

Windom [Wynham] Glacier, Taku Inlet, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 32

Revenue cutter fleet at Unalaska. July 4, 1895.

Box 2 , Item 33

Officers of the Revenue Cutter fleet, 1895.

Box 2 , Item 34

Reindeer station at Port Clarence, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 35

The “Bear” in the ice off King’s Island

Box 2 , Item 36

Officers of Her Majesties’ Ship “Pheasant”, 1895

Box 2 , Item 37

Esquimo [Eskimo] reception day on the “Bear,” Arctic Ocean

Box 2 , Item 38

Indian River, near Sitka, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 39

Indian women curio sellers refuse to have their photographs taken. Sitka, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 40

Judge [James Gilchrist] Swan’s office and Indian curios. Port Townsend, Wash. [Washington]

Box 2 , Item 41

Greek church [Sts. Peter and Paul Church], St. Paul Island

Box 2 , Item 42

Reindeer on the beach, Siberia

Box 2 , Item 43

Skowles village at Nass Bay, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 44

Walrus scull [skull] house at Cape Prince of Wales

Box 2 , Item 45

Scenery from Portage Bay, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 46

Indian mission schools at Sitka, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 47

View near St. Paul, Kadriack

Box 2 , Item 48

“Concord.” Capt. [Caspar F.] Goodrich, 1894

Box 2 , Item 49

Dutch Harbor. Unalaska Island

Box 2 , Item 50

Chilkat post office, Col. Rapinski P.M. and Pilot Keene.

Box 2 , Item 51

Indian Ranche [Ranch?], Sitka, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 52

St. Michael, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 53

Alaska Commercial Co.’s post at St. Michael, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 54

Port Simpson, B.C. [British Colombia]

Box 2 , Item 55

Mount Edgecombe [Edgecumbe], near Sitka, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 56

Aleute [Aleut] natives. Unalaska Island.

Box 2 , Item 57

Group of Indians at New Metlakatla, Port Chester, Annette Island, Alaska. [Native men in Caucasian dress, one man with camera]

Box 2 , Item 58

Attu [Island]

Box 2 , Item 59

Half-breed [Part Alaskan native, part Caucasian] children, St. Michael, Alaska.

Box 2 , Item 60

Totem poles, Fort Wrangell, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 61

Mission school children, Unalaska

Box 2 , Item 62


Box 2 , Item 63

Public buildings, Sitka, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 64

Lieut. White. R.C.S. [Revenue Cutter Service]

Box 2 , Item 65

Hoisting a walrus carcass aboard the “Bear”

Box 2 , Item 66

Lieut. M.C. Connell

Box 2 , Item 67

Baldwin and Nice

Box 2 , Item 68

Lieut. [Alfred Lee] Broadbent. R.C.S. [Revenue Cutter Service]

Box 2 , Item 69

Esquimo [Eskimo] camp scene, Port Clarence, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 70

Siberian woman with child asleep

Box 2 , Item 71

Grave totem, Hoonia [Hoonah], Alaska

Box 2 , Item 72

Town on St. George Island

Box 2 , Item 73

Haines Mission School, Chilkoot, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 74

Tuck’s Mission School. Unalaska

Box 2 , Item 75

Old Russian block house, St. Michael, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 76


Box 2 , Item 77

Salmon cannery, Alaska

Box 2 , Item 78

Unalaska Brass Band

Box 2 , Item 79

Old Russian church and custom house, Unalaska

Box 2 , Item 80

Mission school house and natives, Cape Prince of Wales

Box 2 , Item 81

The town on St. Paul Island. Bering Sea

Box 2 , Item 82

Sitka, from the top of the old castle

Box 2 , Item 83

Esquimo [Eskimo] summer house, St. Matthew’s Island

Box 2 , Item 84

First Grand Jury at Nome, Alaska