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A guide to the Don Maskell photographs, 1961-circa 2000
P02-022 (SAFR 23144)  
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication and Use Rights
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Historical or Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Content
  • Collection Arrangement

  • Title: Don Maskell photographs
    Date: 1961-circa 2000
    Date (bulk): 1962-1979
    Identifier/Call Number: P02-022 (SAFR 23144)
    Creator: Maskell, Don (Donald Bryan), 1926-2003
    Physical Description: 1695 items. Some items available online.
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The Don Maskell photographs (SAFR 23144, P02-022) consists of 1,695 photographs (4.8 linear feet) mainly depicting aerial views of merchant and U.S. Navy vessels in the San Francisco Bay, taken during his career as a marine photographer from 1961 to approximately 2000. The collection has been processed to the file unit level.
    Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
    Language(s): In English.


    This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted.
    Property rights to the physical objects belong to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Copyright was transferred to the National Park Service at the time of the donation. However, responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    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

    Note on Description: 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], P02-022 (SAFR 23144), Don Maskell photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    On June 6, 2002, the photographs in this collection were donated as a gift by Don Maskell and accessioned as SAFR-01763.

    Historical or Biographical Note

    Don Maskell was a professional maritime photographer in San Francisco from 1957 to the 1980s, and his work included, but was not limited to, passenger ships and contracts with the U.S. Navy. Maskell's business was located on Montgomery Street, at Fisherman's Wharf on Pier 35, and then on Jefferson Street near the Hyde Street Pier, all in San Francisco.
    Donald Bryan Maskell was born on November 12, 1926, in Reading, England. In his personal and professional life he was known as Don Maskell. At the age of 13, he started his nautical career and was on the training ship MERCURY in Hamble, Shropshire. He graduated in 1943 and served with the British Merchant Navy for a number of years. He was a cadet with the S.A. Saint Line and participated in North Atlantic, Malta and Mediterranean convoys. At one time he was under attack by German forces but sustained no personal injuries. Maskell rose to the position of third officer and obtained various 'tickets' under the direction of the British Ministry of Transport. He participated in the invasion of Europe and gave support to the British Second Army by way of Antwerp.
    After the war he joined the Canadian Pacific Coastal Steamship Co. He spent seven years on the "South American Run" and during this time he developed a love of photography. Later he sailed with the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company to obtain experience for his Chief Mates ticket.
    In 1954, Maskell immigrated to Canada from England and spent the next two years conducting trade from Vancouver, B.C. In March of 1955, he served as second mate on the steam ship WAITOMO, which sailed from New Westminster, British Columbia, to San Francisco and then on to Papeete, Tahiti. In 1957, Don came to San Francisco and started his business, Marine Photography. His work included, but was not limited to, passenger ships and contracts with the U.S. Navy.
    Maskell was a fan of the Liberty ship JEREMIAH O'BRIEN and first photographed her in May of 1980, on her inaugural voyage after her restoration. He later followed her epic voyage to Normandy in 1994 and took a photograph from a helicopter as she passed under the Golden Gate Bridge upon her return. That same day, he had the pictures developed and printed so that the prints would be ready for sale at the ship's store as the rush of visitors came aboard. He donated both lithograph negatives and money for the drydock fund to the JEREMIAH O'BRIEN.
    In 1982, he purchased a Ships Chandlery on Fisherman's Wharf which turned into "Maskell Marine Services." He later retired to Marin County with his wife Caroline.
    Maskell died on September 14, 2003. He was survived by his wife Caroline, his son Anthony and his daughter Elizabeth.


    • "Ship's Store Featured Item: Lithographs of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien." Steady as She Goes, No. 21 (Spring 2001): p.5, 8. http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.org/issue21.pdf, accessed February 7, 2012.
    • "Donald Bryan Maskell obituary." Marin Independent Journal, 16 September 2003. http://extras.marinij.com/obituaries.html, accessed February 10, 2012.
    • Donald Maskell entry. Ancestry.com. California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA. Series M1411: roll number 4. Accessed on February 10, 2012.
    Note: Some passenger lists indicate that Maskell was born in Twyford, England (very close to Reading).

    Collection Scope and Content

    The Don Maskell photographs (SAFR 23144, P02-022) consists of 1,695 photographs (4.8 linear feet) mainly depicting aerial views of merchant and U.S. Navy vessels in the San Francisco Bay, taken during his career as a marine photographer from 1961 to approximately 2000. The collection has been processed to the file unit level.
    Includes commercial photographs of U.S. Navy vessels, as well as foreign and domestic merchant vessels and tug boats in the San Francisco Bay. This collection consists of negatives, prints, contact sheets, color transparencies, color separation positives and lithographs; this material was used for production, draft and final products. The collection also includes several brochures of the vessels that he was photographing (which do not contain his photographs). Many of the photographs in this collection include views of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Additionally, there are aerial views of the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, Pacific Ship Repair, Willamette Shipyard, and various piers along the San Francisco waterfront.
    Maskell photographed the aircraft carrier CORAL SEA on separate occasions, and there are more photographs of her than any other vessel in the collection. Other vessels photographed in multiple photo shoots include the CANBERRA, COLORADO, ENTERPRISE, HAWAIIAN ENTERPRISE, J. H. TUTTLE, JEREMIAH O'BRIEN, ORIENTAL PEARL, RANGER, SAN JOSE, and SHASTA.

    Collection Arrangement

    Items were arranged in numerical order, using the numbers that Maskell assigned to the photographs. Maskell's numerical system is as follows: the first two numbers refer to the year the images were taken, and the remaining numbers refer to the number of the photo session. Thus, the material in this collection is generally in chronological order. The material was received in manila envelopes, most marked with this number on the outside. There were sometimes items grouped together within these manila envelopes; these sub-groupings have been maintained where possible. When there was no number indicated, the images were arranged alphabetically by the title of the vessel, and are listed after the numbered items.
    Box 7 can be found in oversized storage.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Aerial photography--California--San Francisco.
    Merchant ships--United States--History--20th century
    Ships--California--San Francisco--Pictorial works
    Shipping--Pacific Coast (North America)--History--Pictorial works
    Coastwise shipping--Pacific Coast (U.S.)
    United States--Navy--U.S. Fleet
    Aircraft carriers
    Maskell, Don (Donald Bryan, 1926-2003)
    Eppleton Hall (built 1914; tugboat)
    Coral Sea (Aircraft carrier)
    San Francisco Bay (Calif.)--Harbor
    Black-and-white negatives
    Black-and-white prints
    Color prints (photographs)
    Color negatives
    Contact sheets
    Color transparencies
    Color separation positives
    Color lithographs
    Photo CDs