A guide to the Captain John T. Torrance personal photographs, 1901-1973

Processed by: E. LeBlanc, 2014.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Building E, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone: 415-561-7030
Fax: 415-556-3540
SAFR_Historic_Documents@nps.gov
URL: http://www.nps.gov/safr
2014

A Guide to the Captain John T. Torrance personal photographs

P09-003

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, National Park Service
2014, National Park Service

Title: Captain John T. Torrance personal photographs
Date: 1901-1973
Identifier/Call Number: P09-003 (SAFR 22230)
Creator: Torrance, John T., Captain
Physical Description: 19 items.
Repository: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Historic Documents Department
Building E, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
Abstract: The Captain John T. Torrance personal photographs, 1901-1973 (SAFR 22230, P09-003) consists of photographic prints, copy negatives and photograph albums concerning the life and working career of Captain John T. Torrance. The collection has been processed to the file and item unit levels and is available for use without restrictions.
Physical Location: San Francisco Maritime NHP, Historic Documents Department
Language(s): In English

Access

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

July 10, 2014, SAFR-02092, 7 photographic prints were added by E. LeBlanc.
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], P09-003 (SAFR 22230), Captain John T. Torrance personal photographs, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Acquisition Information

SAFR-02017
SAFR-02092
The collection was donated by the wife of the nephew of Captain John T. Torrance's wife.

Historical or Biographical Note

Captain John T. Torrance was born 26 July 1896 in Chetopa Kansas and began his sailing career as a messboy aboard a lumber steamer at San Pedro, Calif. in the summer of 1916.
Torrance was at the 1916 Preparedness Day Parade in San Francisco at the time of the famous bombing. He and a friend had been standing at the corner of Steuart Street and Market, the site of the bombing, just 10 minutes before the explosion. He worked on the Army Transport Tug SLOCUM out of Fort Mason (San Francisco) during World War I and served aboard her on the East Coast, Bermuda and France. He joined the full-rigged ship ARAPAHOE as an A.B. sailor in June 1918 for voyage to Manila. During the voyage, they rescued 8 survivors of the schooner ETHEL ZANE after it had floundered in a gale. They engaged in a race to San Francisco with the 4-masted bark AMVERS of Antwerp. Torrance left the ARAPAHOE in San Francisco. He then shipped on the WEST ERRAL from Los Angeles to Union Iron Works, San Francisco and carried coal from Oakland to Hawaii then to New York. He returned to San Francisco in 1919 and sailed on the ship JAMES ROLPH from San Francisco to England. After receiving his master's license, Capt. Torrance served mostly on oil tankers and yachts. Torrance died on January 5, 1975 in Long Beach, CA. Source: Autobiographical essay by Captain John T. Torrance found with album in this collection, series 03, file 02.

Collection Scope and Content

The Captain John T. Torrance personal photographs, 1901-1973 (SAFR 22230, P09-003) consists of photographic prints, copy negatives and photograph albums concerning the life and working career of Captain John T. Torrance. The collection has been processed to the file and item unit levels and is available for use without restrictions.
This photograph collection documents Torrence's life as a child and his life at sea and some of the vessels he sailed on including BUNKER HILL, ARAPAHOE and JAMES ROLPH. After receiving his master's license, Capt. Torrance served mostly on oil tankers and yachts. Many of the photographs are unique period images including albumen photographs on cabinet cards of the Captain as a child. Many photographs are identified and two of the photo albums are thoroughly captioned. There is also an autobiographical essay that is tucked into one of the albums and explains the relevancy of the vessel photographs to Torrence's career.

Collection Arrangement

18 items in 3 flat boxes and 1 shared 8 inch box.

Related Materials

The Captain John T. Torrance papers, 1905-1975 (SAFR 22211, HDC 1581)
  • This material is located at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Sailing ships
Merchant ships
Torrance, John T., Captain
James Rolph (built 1884, rebuilt 1919; ship, 3m)
Los Angeles Military Academy
John F. Craig (built 1923; tug)
Arapahoe ( built 1884; ship, 3m)
Photographic prints
Photograph albums
Crew portraits
Portrait photographs
Captain

Collection Contents

 

Series 001.  Childhood photographs, 1901-1908

Extent: 4 envelopes

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of 4 black-and-white portait photographic prints of John T. Torrance as a boy.

Arrangement

4 photographic prints in 4 envelopes
Oversized 16x20 shared collections

Item No. 001.  Portrait of John T. Torrance, 9 years of age, 1905

Extent: 1 photograph.
Physical Description: 1 black-and-white photographic print, 25 cm x 41 cm (9.75 x 16.25 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 1 mounted photographic print of John T. Torrance, three-quarter portrait. On the verso is inscribed, "John T. Torrance, 9 yrs of age, 1905, cadet at Los Angeles Military Academy."
Envelope, 8 in. box

Item No. 002.  Portrait of John T. Torrance, aged 5, 1901

Extent: 1 photograph.
Physical Description: contains 1 black-and-white mounted photographic print, 14 cm x 19 cm (5.5 x 7.5 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 1 photographic print titled, "Portrait of John Torrance, Jr. aged 5 yrs., Oct. 30th, 1901." Photographed by Alisky, San Francisco.
Envelope, 8 in. box

Item No. 003.  Portrait of John T. Torrance, 1901

Extent: 1 photograph.
Physical Description: 1 black-and-white mounted photographic print, 14 cm x 19 cm (5.5 x 7.5 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 1 photographic print of John T. Torrance, Jr., photographed by Alisky, San Francisco. Undated, but the image was likely taken at the same session as Series 1, item 2.
Envelope, 8 in. box

Item No. 004.  Portrait of John and Mark Torrance, ages 12 and 10, 1901

Extent: 1 photograph.
Physical Description: 1 black-and-white photographic print, 17 cm x 24 cm (6.5 x 9.5 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 1 photographic print. Inscribed on the verso is "John and Mark Torrance, Los Angeles, 1908. John was 12, Mark 10." Photographed by Central Studio, Los Angeles, CA.
 

Series 002.  Vessels and crews photographic prints and negatives, 1919 and undated

Extent: 11 EA

Scope and Content Note

This series contains loose photographic prints and negatives of vessels that Captain John T. Torrance worked on.

Arrangement

11 photographic prints and negatives in 4 envelopes
Flat box 2

File Unit 001.  Bunker Hill (built 1942; tanker), undated

Extent: 1 photograph.
Physical Description: 1 20 cm x 25 cm (8 x 10 inch) black-and-white photographic print on mat

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 1 photographic print on mat of the ship BUNKER HILL underway. Mat is inscribed "Port of Los Angeles" and on the verso of the mat inscribed in pen is "S.S. Bunker Hill. Turbo-Electric Tanker. Capt. John T. Torrance Master."
 

File Unit 002.  James Rolph (built 1884, rerigged 1919; ship, 3m) and crew, 1919

Extent: 2 envelopes (5 physical forms: 1 photographic print and 4 copy negatives).
Physical Description: 1 20 cm x 25 cm (8 x 10 inch) black-and-white photographic print; 4 10 cm x 13 cm (4 x 5 inch) black-and-white acetate copy negatives

Scope and Content Note

This file contains a photographic print (envelope 1) and original copy negative (envelope 2) of JAMES ROLPH with crew lined up on deck; 2 copy negatives (envelope 2) of JAMES ROLPH underway and 1 copy negative of JAMES ROLPH at anchor. The following was handscripted on the original envelope, "Re'd Fri May 1st 1964. Print of original. crew of ship James Rolph anchored SF Bay. May 4th 1919. I am on far left."
 

File Unit 003.  John F. Craig (tug), undated

Extent: 5 EA.
Physical Description: 2 9 cm x 15 cm (3.5 x 6 inch) black-and-white photographic prints

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 5 black-and-white photographic prints of JOHN F. CRAIG beached at low tide, with individuals. From original envelope: "Pictures of tug John F. Craig - getting ready to go from Taft, Ore. - Siletz River to Craig's - Long Beach." 2 of the prints have inscriptions on the verso: "90 ft. diesel tug John F. Craig at low water. Mouth of Siletz River, Taft Ore." and "90 ft. diesel tug John F. Craig high and dry at the mouth of the Siletz River, Taft. Ore. To clean barnacles off hull, before proceeding to Long Beach, John T. Torrance, Captain."
 

Series 003.  Vessels and crews photograph albums, 1917-1973

Extent: 3 photograph albums

Scope and Content Note

This series contains 3 photograph albums of merchant vessels, 2 of which are representative of the career of Captain John T. Torrance. The 3rd album is a compilation of prominent sailing vessels.

Arrangement

3 albums in 2 flat boxes
Flat box 1

File Unit 001.  Arapahoe (built 1884; ship, 3m) photograph album, 1918

Extent: 1 photograph album.
Physical Description: 1 photograph album, 25 cm x 30 cm (10 x 12 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains one photograph album with 10 pages of black-and-white photographic prints of a voyage of the ship ARAPAHOE from San Francisco to Manila and back with captions. Photos include the ship underway and at port in both San Francisco and Manila. Well documented here is life aboard a sailing vessel including men working aloft and on deck. There is a series of photographs that document the rescue of the crew of ETHEL ZANE (built 1890; schooner) that had lost her rigging in a gale S.E. off of Guam. In addition there is a menu from Cliff House, San Francisco and a color photographic print of Fort Point (prior to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge) looking across the Golden Gate to Fort Baker. Pages are wax stripped for mounting photos in album.
Flat box 1

File Unit 002.  Multiple vessels photograph album, about 1917-1973

Extent: 1 photograph album.
Physical Description: 1 photograph album, 29 cm x 32 cm (11.5 x 12.5 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains one photograph album of multiple vessels including: Slocum (tug), Arapahoe (built 1884; ship 3m), James Rolph (built 1884, rerigged 1919; ship, 3m), Julia Luckenbach (built 1917; steam vessel), and Maui (built 1917; steam vessel). Tucked into this album is an autobiographical essay by Captain John T. Torrance that describes his working association with most of these vessels (1973). Pages are wax stripped for mounting photos in album.
Flat box 2

File Unit 003.  Multiple sailing vessels photograph album, assembled 1953

Extent: 1 photograph album.
Physical Description: 1 photograph album, 30 cm x 37 cm (12 x 14.5 inches)

Scope and Content Note

This file contains 1 photographic album containing copy prints of prominent merchant sailing vessels with captions. Christmas gift to Richard C. Harlan from his aunt, Capt. Torrance's wife, 1953. Album contains 1 photographic print of STAR OF ALASKA rigging captioned "In the Rigging of the Star of Alaska." 85 pp.