Collection of portraits of prominent
San Franciscans taken by Arnold Genthe between 1899 and 1920; photographs of the aftermath
of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire; and photographs Chinese American inhabitants of San
Francisco's Chinatown between 1895 and 1906. Collection contains film and glass negatives;
original photographic prints created by Genthe and copy prints presumably made from the
negatives in this collection.
Arnold Genthe was born in Berlin, Germany on January 8, 1869. He emigrated to San Francisco
in 1895 where he taught himself photography. He photographed the Chinese Americans living
and working in San Francisco's Chinatown. Genthe opened a studio in San Francisco sometime
between 1890 and 1900 where he made portraits of prominent San Francisco citizens, artists,
authors, dancers, and actors. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire destroyed his
studio, but provided him with the opportunity to document much of the destruction in the
city. Genthe rebuilt his studio in San Francisco in 1907 and published his Chinatown
photographs in 1908. He moved to New York in 1911, continuing to work in photography,
primarily in portraiture, until his death in 1942.
Materials in this collection, which were created between 1895 and 1906, are in the public
domain in the United States. Permission to publish is not required.