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A guide to the Gordon Riehl photograph collection, circa 1935-1965
P78-132a (SAFR 23382)  
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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: Gordon Riehl photograph collection
    Date: circa 1935-1965
    Date (bulk): circa 1935-1940
    Identifier/Call Number: P78-132a (SAFR 23382)
    Compiler: Riehl, Gordon
    Physical Description: 823 items.
    Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
    Building E, Fort Mason
    San Francisco, CA 94123
    Abstract: The Gordon Riehl photograph collection, circa 1935-1965, bulk circa 1935-1940, (SAFR 23382, P78-132a), is comprised mainly of photographs of sailing vessels in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. 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.
    Nitrate negatives are restricted from use. Use-copies can be provided.

    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; there are often multiple physical forms of each image (e.g. a nitrate negative, a contact interpositive and a copy negative) which has been noted in the physical description field. Information about numeric stamps on the back of the photographs has been included in the physical description notes, because in the early 20th century the stamp often signified the customer number. This might help to identify which photographs came from particular people.
    According to the accession paperwork, the collection originally contained 291 nitrate negatives. In September 1980, 35 nitrate negatives were withdrawn due to their poor condition. An additional nitrate negative (Item 121) was marked for disposal in February 1988; however, this negative was located in the Nitrate Discard Box in August 2013, and the decision was made to retain the Item in the collection and re-file it in the regular nitrate storage. It is possible that additional negatives were discarded but not noted on the original paperwork. At the time of processing in August 2013, only 252 nitrate negatives were located.
    The accession paperwork also notes that contact interpositives and copy negatives were made for Items 001-121; 123-175; and 177-253. During processing in 2013, contact interpositives and copy negatives were found for Items 001-253. Finally, the accession paperwork notes that there are 47 photographic prints, but 65 were found during processing.
    Description Notes: Dates refer to when the original photograph was taken.
    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], P78-132a (SAFR 23382), Gordon Riehl photograph collection, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Acquisition Information

    Gordon Riehl donated this collection on an unknown date. It was formally accessioned by the National Maritime Museum, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, on March 27, 1978.
    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

    Gordon Riehl (1921-2007) was a seaman from Portland, Oregon. He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II and was a crew member aboard KAIULANI (built 1899; bark, 3m), the last American-built square rigger, during the vessel's last commercial service voyage in 1941-1942.
    Gordon "Jim" Clarence Riehl was born on April 16, 1921, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Henry (1897-1977) and Emily (1897-1991) Riehl. He had one brother, Alfred Riehl (1919-1970). The family immigrated to the United States in 1923 or 1924 and settled in Portland, Oregon, where Gordon lived for the rest of his life.
    Gordon Riehl served as an ordinary seaman (deckhand) aboard the bark KAIULANI in 1941-1942, alongside Karl Kortum, founder of the San Francisco Maritime Museum. As a result of his voyage around Cape Horn aboard KAIULANI, he was eligible for membership in North American Cape Horners Association, a section of the International Association of Cape Horners. He joined in 1995.
    In addition to KAIULANI, Gordon served as an able bodied seaman aboard the steamships ROGER GRISWOLD and DONALD MCCLEAY in 1947 and PORTLAND TRADER in 1948. Gordon was also a seaman aboard C.A. THAYER (built 1895; schooner, 3m) in 1957, when she was sailed from Puget Sound, Washington, to San Francisco, California, to become part of the San Francisco Maritime Museum (now known as the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park).
    Ashore, Gordon was employed as a draftsman for the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Oregon. It does not appear that Gordon ever married. He had one niece, Virginia Parham, and one nephew, Alan Riehl.
    Gordon Riehl died in Portland, Oregon, on August 10, 2007, at the age of 86.


    • Gordon C. 'Jim' Riehl obituary. "Obituaries." Oregonian (Portland, OR), August 15, 2007.
    • New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. From Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls); Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Accessed August 22, 2013, from Ancestry.com.
    • Oregon, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1888-1957 [database on-line]. From Oregon. Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Astoria, Portland, and Other Oregon Ports, Apr. 1888-Oct. 1956, and Passenger Lists of Airplanes Arriving at Portland, Oregon, Nov. 1948-Oct. 1952. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Micropublication M1777. RG085. Rolls, 1-46. Accessed August 22, 2013, from Ancestry.com.
    • Riehl, Gordon, membership application to the International Association of Cape Horners. Harold D. Huycke Collection. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (HDC 1600, Series 5.1, File Unit 014).

    Collection Scope and Content

    The Gordon Riehl photograph collection, circa 1935-1965, bulk circa 1935-1940, (SAFR 23382, P78-132a), is comprised mainly of photographs of sailing vessels in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The collection has been processed to the Item level and is open for use.
    Contains photographs of sailing vessels and steamships docked, anchored, and underway, in Washington, California, and Oregon, primarily circa 1935-1940. There are 267 unique photographic images in 823 physical forms (252 nitrate negatives, 253 preservation contact interpositives, 253 preservation copy negatives, and 65 photographic prints). Riehl is possibly the photographer; however this could not be confirmed.
    There are only a few vessels in this collection that Riehl sailed on during his time as a mariner; the rest are of unknown relation to his career. Some of the vessels featured in the collection include BALCLUTHA (built 1886; ship, 3m), C.A. THAYER (built 1895; schooner, 3m), CHARLES R. WILSON (built 1891; schooner, 3m), FANTOME (built 1927; schooner, 4m: yacht), IDLE HOUR (built 1922; ketch: yacht), ST. PAUL (built 1874; ship, 3m), SIR THOMAS J. LIPTON (built 1919; schooner, 4m), SOPHIE CHRISTENSON (built 1901; schooner, 4m), STAR OF FINLAND (built 1899; bark, 3m), STAR OF INDIA (built 1863; bark, 3m: museum ship), WAWONA (built 1897; schooner, 3m), and WILLIAM TAYLOR (built 1917; schooner, 4m), among others.
    A majority of the photographs show vessels prior to the United States' entrance into World War II in December 1941. The U.S. government acquired many sailing vessels for use in the war effort, often reducing their rigging to serve as barges, although this was not the fate of all the vessels in this collection.
    Some locations have been identified as California (Alameda, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Pedro), Oregon (Astoria and Portland), Washington (Seattle and Winslow), and the East Coast (Baltimore, Maryland; Chesapeake Bay; Long Island Sound; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Many locations are unidentified.

    Collection Arrangement

    The collection is physically arranged and accessed in Item number order, which reflects a numbering scheme imposed by previous SFMNHP staff. The collection's original order is unknown. To provide greater context and reunite similar images, the collection has been intellectually arranged and described into one Series which is arranged alphabetically by vessel name into 34 File Units.

    Related Materials

    Related photograph and media collections: Gordon Riehl photographs, circa 1955-1957. SFMNHP, (SAFR 19188, P78-247a). Consists of 17 black-and-white photographic prints, 3.5 x 3.5 in., and 16 corresponding black-and-white negatives, 2.5 x 2.5 in., of the hulk of the former bark LORD TEMPLETOWN, and the riverboats CLAIRE and JEAN, taken at Portland, Oregon, May 1957. Also 5 black-and-white negatives, 2.5 x 3.75 in., of C.A. THAYER (built 1895; schooner, 3m) at Poulsbo, Washington, circa 1955-1957. 1 black-and-white negative, 2.5 x 4 in., of an unidentified steamer, possibly the riverboat CARRIE, tied up on the Willamette River, Portland, Oregon, probably in 1957. Photographed by Gordon Riehl.
    Gordon Riehl negative and photograph collection, 1957-1959. SFMNHP, (SAFR 20734, P05-042). Consists of 124 negatives and 122 black-and-white positives documenting the scrapping of the hulk of the former bark LORD TEMPLETOWN in 1957. Photographed by Gordon Riehl. There are 44 smaller negatives of the riverboats FORT SUTTER, PYRAMID and PETALUMA.
    Capt. Raynaud photograph collection, circa 1924-1962. SFMNHP, (SAFR 14415, P85-102). Consists of 78 black-and-white and color photographic prints of C.A. THAYER (built 1895; schooner, 3m), WAWONA (built 1897; schooner, 3m), and other sailing vessels. There are also photographs of Captain A.F. Raynaud, Harold Huycke, and other seamen. 8 of the C.A. THAYER photographs were taken by Gordon Riehl.
    See also P82-019A, Item 04504 and SFMNHP Classified photograph A09.38795 for photographs of Riehl in 1957.
    Additional photographs donated by Gordon Riehl are located in the SFMNHP Classified photograph collection.
    Related manuscript collections: Harold D. Huycke collection, 1868-2007. SFMNHP, (SAFR 22224, HDC1600). Contains correspondence, photographs, and an audiocassette recording associated with Gordon Riehl, primarily related to his voyage aboard KAIULANI. See Series 2.1, File Unit 100 and Series 5.1, File Unit 014 for correspondence. See Series 3.1, File Unit 019 and Series 12.1.01, File Unit 01 for photographs of Riehl during KAIULANI's voyage. Series 11, File Unit 02, Item 095 contains a 1987 recording of KAIULANI crew members, including Riehl, reminiscing about the voyage.
    San Francisco Maritime Museum records, 1921-1978 (bulk 1963-1977). SFMNHP, (SAFR 9386, HDC 649). Series 3, File Unit 0022 consists of correspondence between Karl Kortum and Gordon Riehl, mostly concerning the barge (former bark) LORD TEMPLETOWN, 1957-1959.
    Karl Kortum collection, 1829-1996. SFMNHP, (SAFR 18350, HDC1084). Series 2.3 contains a few pieces of correspondence between Karl Kortum and Gordon Riehl in 1986, 1990, and 1993.
    Additional materials related to Gordon Riehl could potentially be found in the above collections or in other SFMNHP collections related to KAIULANI's 1941-1942 voyage and C.A. THAYER's 1957 voyage.
    Researchers should note that there are other books and collections with materials related to the vessels depicted in the Gordon Riehl photograph collection (P78-132a) in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. They can search the Park's web catalog for more information.
    • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sailing ships
    Barks (Sailing ships)
    C.A. Thayer (built 1895; schooner, 3m)
    Charles R. Wilson (built 1891; schooner, 3m)
    Fantome (built 1927; schooner, 4m: yacht)
    Idle Hour (built 1922; ketch: yacht)
    Pacific Queen (built 1886; ship, 3m)
    St. Paul (built 1874; ship, 3m)
    Sir Thomas J. Lipton (built 1919; schooner, 4m)
    Sophie Christenson (built 1901; schooner, 4m)
    Star of Finland (built 1899; bark, 3m)
    Star of India (built 1863, bark, 3m)
    Wawona (built 1897; schooner, 3m)
    William Taylor (built 1917; schooner, 4m)
    Seattle (Wash.)
    Union, Lake (Wash.)
    San Francisco (Calif.)
    San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)
    Alameda (Calif.)
    Oakland (Calif.)
    San Diego (Calif.)
    Portland (Or.)
    Astoria (Or.)
    Black-and-white negatives
    Cellulose nitrate film
    Black-and-white prints (photographs)