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A guide to the Tapley family photograph album and photographs, circa 1885-1900
P82-080 (SAFR 23363)  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication and Use Rights
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Historical or Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Content
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Related Materials

  • Title: Tapley family photograph album and photographs
    Date: circa 1885-1900
    Date (bulk): 1900
    Identifier/Call Number: P82-080 (SAFR 23363)
    Creator: Tapley family
    Physical Description: 50 items.
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The Tapley family photograph album and photographs, circa 1885-1900, (SAFR 23363, P82-080) are comprised of one photograph album of one or several voyages of Captain Robert M. Tapley and his wife, Agnes, aboard ST. JAMES (built 1883; bark, 3m) and several loose photographic prints. The collection has been processed to the Item level and is open for use.
    Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
    Language(s): In English.


    This collection is open for use unless otherwise noted.

    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

    Each photographic image has been assigned an Item number; for some of the images, multiple physical forms of each image (e.g. a print and a copy negative) occur. This has been noted in the physical description field. The photographs were numbered by SAFR staff when the collection was received. During processing in February 2013, these numbers were kept, and the material was intellectually organized into two Series. SAFR staff made copy negatives of some of the prints in the album and one of the loose prints, and these have been included in the extent.
    Description Notes: Dates refer to when the original photograph was taken. It is not known if any of these photographs are the original prints made from the original negatives. It would appear as though there are several versions of these photographs in various collections across the country (see Related Material section). If these are in fact copies, the dates of their creation are not known.
    Copies of some of the photographs from the album can be found in the SFMNHP Classified photograph collection. Several of these photographs had specific information about either the date or the circumstances of the photograph. Details from these photographs were used in describing the images in the album.
    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], P82-080 (SAFR 23363), Tapley family photograph album and photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    The album and two photographs were purchased from Ryan M. Cooper, an antique and collectible dealer, in August 1982.
    SAFR-00001 is a blanket accession that was transferred from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in September 1988. GGNRA had previously acquired the collection from the San Francisco Maritime Museum when it became a unit of the National Park Service in 1977.
    GOGA-00789 was transferred from the J. Porter Shaw Library to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in February 1985.

    Historical or Biographical Note

    Captain Robert M. Tapley (born 1863) was a master mariner that commanded both sail and steam vessels, beginning in the late 19th century. He and his wife both came from families involved in maritime trade. The Tapley family lived on both the East and West Coasts of the United States. Mrs. Tapley, and later their children, accompanied him on voyages, notably traveling from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast via Cape Horn.
    Captain Robert Morris Tapley was born August 13, 1863, in Brooksville, Maine, to Captain William Parker Tapley (born October 19, 1826) and Maria M. Macomber Tapley (born January 23, 1833). Robert had four siblings: Angier Wallace (born December 17, 1854), William Converse (born December 30, 1856), Emma Lewis (born October 30, 1859), and Alice Maria (born December 26, 1861) (Tapley, 39).
    Robert first went to the sea at age 16, and became Master Mariner at age 24. The first vessel he commanded was ELLEN CRUSOE (schooner) in the African trade. In 1900, Robert married Agnes Gould (1880-1965), the daughter of sea captain William H. Gould of Kennebunkport, Maine. Robert and Agnes had three daughters: Adelaide, Agnes, and Roberta.
    Captain Tapley's occupation took him to live on both coasts of the United States, including Alameda, California (1910 Census), Brooklyn, Kings County, New York (1920 Census) and Portland, Maine (1930 Census). He was a lieutenant commander in WWI before becoming the commander of American-Hawaiian Steamship Company's (AHSC) steamers, most likely beginning working for the AHSC sometime around 1910 but before 1920, as the family was then living in Alameda, California, at that time.
    Captain Tapley commanded the vessels ANNIE LEWIS (bark), CHARLES G. RICE (bark), ONAWAY (bark), ST. JAMES (built 1883; bark, 3m), MAY QUEEN (built 1885), MONTANAN (steamship), PENNSYLVANIAN (built 1913; freighter) and ARIZONAN (steamship) (Penobscot Maritime Person Record; Tapley, 40).


    • 1910 United States Federal Census. Alameda Ward 4, Alameda, California. Roll: T624_69; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 1374082. Accessed on February 22, 2013. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/iexec?htx=View&r=5542&
    • dbid=7884&iid=31111_4327259-00278&fn=Robert&ln=Tapley&st=r&ssrc=&pid=857487
    • 1920 United States Federal Census. Brooklyn Assembly District 18, Kings, New York. Roll: T625_1172; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1103; Image: 1021. Accessed February 22, 2013. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?rank=1&new=1&MSAV=0&msT=1&gss=angs-g&gsfn=robert+morris&gsln=tapley&msbdy=1863&uidh=z65&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=66191195&db=1920usfedcen&indiv=1
    • 1930 United States Federal Census. Portland, Cumberland, Maine. Roll: 831; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 57; Image: 128.0; FHL microfilm: 2340566. Accessed on February 22, 2013. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com/iexec?htx=View&r=5542&dbid=6224&iid=4584731_00134&fn=Robert+M&ln=Tapley&st=r&ssrc=&pid=4709344
    • "Captain Tapley Married," New York Times (New York, NY), May 20, 1900. Accessed February 21, 2013. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F10714FC3D5811738DDDA90A94DD405B808CF1D3
    • "News of the Water Front." San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File), Jan 28, 1905. http://ezproxy.sfpl.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/365711715?accountid=35117.
    • Tapley, Harriet Silvester, 1870-. Genealogy of the Tapley Family. Danvers, Mass.: [Endicott Press], 1900. Retrieved on March 4, 2013 from HathiTrust, http://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89066373150
    • "Tapley, Robert M." Person Record, Penobscott Marine Museum. Accessed February 25, 2013. http://pmm.pastperfect-online.com/36272cgi/mweb.exe?request=record;id=Tapley,%20Robert%20M.;type=702
    • Weinstien, Robert A. "God Bless Our Happy Ship" (n.d.) description as advertised on ebay.com by Geneology Images of History. Accessed February 21, 2012 from http://www.ebay.com/itm/Whidden-Family-Sails-Aboard-The-St-James-Bark-Duncan-Tapley-Weinstein-Whidden-/390430511863.

    Collection Scope and Content

    The Tapley family photograph album and photographs, circa 1885-1900, (SAFR 23363, P82-080) are comprised of one photograph album of one or several voyages of Captain Robert M. Tapley and his wife, Agnes, aboard ST. JAMES (built 1883; bark, 3m) and several loose photographic prints. The collection has been processed to the Item level and is open for use.
    There are 44 unique photographic images, in 50 physical forms (14 black-and-white photographic prints, 30 cyanotypes and 6 copy negatives). The photograph album primarily contains photographs of the Tapley family and sea faring life aboard ST. JAMES (built 1883; bark, 3m) circa 1900. There are also several photographic prints of unidentified people and places most likely in or around Maine.
    The collection also contains one photographic print of WRAY CASTLE (built 1889; ship, 3m) underway at the Golden Gate, and one photographic print of whalers anchored near Oakland Creek, Oakland, California. It is unclear how these prints relate to the Tapley family.

    Collection Arrangement

    The photographs were arranged into the following series: Series 1: Tapley family photograph album; Series 2: Square-rigged vessels in the San Francisco Bay. Item numbers that were assigned by previous SAFR staff were maintained.

    Related Materials

    There are various photographs in the SFMNHP Classified photograph collection of the Tapley family on board ST. JAMES (built 1883; bark, 3m), circa 1900. Some of these photographs can also be found in the photograph album and this has been noted at the Item level when applicable. The other photographs of the Tapley family in the SFMNHP Classified photograph collection that are not found in the photograph album include their daughter, Adelaide, and other unidentified people.
    Harold D. Huycke collection, 1868-2007. SFMNHP, (SAFR 22224, HDC 1600). File Unit 022: Downeasters, Atlantic built, S. Mostly undated, contains several photographs of the Tapleys on board ST. JAMES (built 1883; bark, 3m) and contains hand-written notes on the vessel's history.
    • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    Three photographs of the Tapley Family; LB2008.3.433 (Agnes ringing laundry), LB2008.3.434 (Agnes feeding chickens) and LB2008.3.432 (Robert, Agnes and Adelaide).
    • This material is located at Penobscot Marine Museum

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Seafaring life
    Marine photography
    Merchant marine--United States--History--20th century
    Cargo ships
    Merchant ships
    Tapley, Robert Morris
    Tapley, Agnes Maud Gould, 1880-1965
    Tapley family
    St. James (built 1883; bark, 3m)
    Wray Castle (built 1889; ship, 3m)
    San Francisco Bay (Calif.)--Harbor
    San Francisco Bay (Calif.)
    Oakland (Calif.)
    Golden Gate (Calif.: Strait)
    Black-and-white negatives
    Black-and-white prints (photographs)
    cyanotypes (photographic prints)
    Gelatin silver prints
    Photograph albums