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Through an agreement between Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Humboldt State University's Library, 740 images from the Peter Palmquist Collection at the Beinecke were digitized there and then cataloged at the HSU Library. Some highlights of this digital collection are: Highway 101 and landscape views from the 1940s, a fire engulfing the Sound Lumber Co. in Arcata in 1965, main streets of many of the region's smaller communities, "auto camp" businesses catering to tourists on the Redwood Highway, national figures campaigning in the area such as Robert Kennedy and Barry Goldwater, industrial activity on Humboldt Bay, and images of Hoopa from Nellie McGraw's circa 1901 photo album. Several batches of images were taken by Palmquist himself. Peter was a professional photographer; his artistic and technical abilities are evident in his images. Until now Palmquist's images have not been widely available in his home region.
Peter Palmquist spent his early years in Oakland, California, then moved to Humboldt County. The family lived outside Ferndale where Peter attended a one room elementary school. Starting at age 12 he taught himself photography. He graduated from Ferndale High School and then enlisted in the United State Army. While he was stationed in Paris with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, he continued his study of photography and began his professional work as photographer. When he returned to Humboldt County, bringing his young family, he attended Humboldt State College and was employed as the official university photographer. He held that position long after his 1965 graduation, finally retiring in 1989. Throughout those years Peter also ran a commercial photography business. Starting in 1971, Palmquist became interested in historical images, an interest that led him in many directions. He died in 2003 immediately after being gravely injured by a hit and run driver. At first his interest in old photographs led to studying the history of his own profession and then the lives of past photographers, but it quickly incorporated an interest in the informational content revealed in a photograph. He started collecting images taken in northwestern California, but this soon broadened out to include other areas and led to a collection of images from all of western North America. Later his interest in women who worked in any aspect of photography led to extensive research in and collecting of photographs by women worldwide. Working with the Women in Photography International Peter developed and served as curator of the Women in Photography International Archive, which was housed at his home in Arcata. Throughout this time Peter generously shared the information he was discovering and collecting through numerous writings, exhibits, presentations, and workshops.
740 Digital Images
Copyright was not transferred to the HSU Library; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University is the owner of the items digitized for this collection.
Open for research. Search the collection and view the images on the Humboldt Room Photograph Collections page.