Alaska Canneries Resource Guide from the Anchorage Museum
By Sara Piasecki
Earlier this year, when the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation announced the state’s Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties for 2013, they included “Historic Canneries (Statewide)” as location number 10. Responding to this call, the Bob and Evangeline Atwood Alaska Resource Center of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center tasked its summer interns with creating a guide to historic photographs of Alaskan canneries held in the Museum’s archives. The resulting 16-page document has already been updated three times since September, with new collections recently deposited by donors. While the list is not comprehensive (both new and older archival collections are being described all the time), it is a great place for researchers to start when looking for historic images of canneries. The most recent version of the guide is available on the Museum’s website or via email by contacting Photo Archivist Sara Piasecki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The complete text of the Alaskan Canneries Resource Guide (updated 12/11/13) is included below:
Alaska Engineering Commission Collection, AEC
This sub-series from the Alaska Railroad Collection (B1979.002) has over 1000 images, dating from 1924-1979. There is one photograph of men processing and packing salmon and halibut for Alaska Engineering Commission stores near Anchorage, Alaska on July 30, 1918.
Crary-Henderson Collection, B1962.001
The Crary-Henderson Collection consists of over 3000 photographs and negatives which are primarily of Valdez, the Copper River Valley, and surrounding mining and railroad operations dating from the early 1900s through the 1930s. This collection contains six images pertaining to canneries. Four of the pictures are unidentified, though one is probably from Valdez due to the collection scope. Two photographs have been identified to be from Cordova.
- .230 (Cordova), .707, .920, .994, .1093, .2791 (Cordova, below)
Crary-Henderson Collection, B1962.001A
This addition to the Crary-Henderson collection contains two cannery photographs taken in Eyak. Both photographs are of the same view, just with different angles.
- .127, .128
John Urban Collection, B1964.001
The John Urban Collection consists of 842 photographs and postcards primarily of Anchorage and the Copper River & Northwestern Railroads, but also of communities around the state and date from the early to mid 1900s. This collection holds two indentified photographs of canneries. One shows [W.] J. Imlach Packing Co. in Port Benny, and the other shows Carlisle Packing Co., in Cordova.
- .316 ([W.] J. Imlach Packing Co.), .320 (Carlisle Packing Co.)
Whittington Photographs, B1965.004
The Whittington collection consists primarily of photos of a snow slide in 1920,
and of a train stalled and packed-in as a result of that snow slide. Of the 67 photographs, there are two of canneries. One has been identified as the McKonehey Cannery in Kodiak, while the second photograph does not contain any information.
- .47 (McKonehey Cannery), .67
CIHS Sundberg, B1967.013
The Sundberg collection consists of scenic photographs of many different Alaskan towns. The towns depicted in the collection include Juneau, Cape Prince of Wales, Dawson, Flat City, Katalla, Kasaan, Ketchikan, Nome, Sitka, and Valdez. This collection contains only one photograph of a cannery that has not been officially identified. Written on the photograph is: “Crab Bay Prince William Sound? Port Ashton?”
Eide Collection , B1970.028
The Eide Collection consists of 378 photographs. The photographs are black and white
and include images of Alaska between the 1910s and 1940s. There is one photograph in this collection that features a cannery. The photograph was taken sometime in the 1940s and depicts a low-tide in Anchorage with a cannery in the distance.
Minnesota Historical, B1970.073
The Minnesota Historical Collection consists of 144 black and white photographs and 24 negatives. The images are primarily of Southeast Alaska and the Nome area between 1899 and 1901.This collection includes one photograph of the cannery in Metlakatla (Southeast Alaska).
Alice Butler Photograph Collection, B1971.071
This collection holds 94 photographs from various locations in Alaska. The date ranges for the photographs are 1905-1940. There is one undated photograph of the Kasaan Cannery in this collection.
Dorothy L. Surgenor Collection, B1972.032
The Dorothy L. Surgenor Collection consists of 317 photographs and approximately 100 negatives of Kennicott, Alaska during the years of 1923 to 1925. The majority of the images show the town and people of Kennicott, as well as, other towns in Alaska, including McCarthy, Valdez, and Juneau. This collection holds one photograph of a cannery on Latouche Island.
Reid Collection, B1973.054
The Reid Collection contains 30 photographs, mostly of Ketchikan. There are three photographs of canneries in the collection. One shows a wharf in Ketchikan, with perhaps a cannery. The second photograph shows the Ward Cove Cannery. The third photograph depicts the Deep Sea Salmon Co. cannery in Port Althorp.
- .4 (Ketchikan), .20 (Ward Cove), .25 (Port Althorp)
Charles Weller Collection, B1974.040
This collection consists of 149 photographs of Alaska. There are five photographs relating to canneries. The first photograph shows Emard, Sonnecke, and General Fish Co. in Anchorage, in the distance, dated 1937. The second photograph depicts boats tied up at the Emard Cannery dock in 1938. The third photograph shows Emard Cannery boats waiting to go out and fish in 1938. The fourth photograph’s caption states the building shown in the picture is the Sonnecke Cannery, though the sign in the pictures says “General Fish Co., Inc.,” dated 1937. The fifth photograph shows a small, abandoned cannery south of Seward in 1937.
- .32 (Anchorage), .33 (Emard Cannery dock), .39 (Emard Cannery boats), .46 (Sonnecke Cannery/Genreal Fish Co. Inc.), .117 (south of Seward)
Harold LeClair Ickes was the Secretary of the Interior between 1933 and 1946, under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration. The Ickes Collection consists of approximately 686 images and several hundred negatives. The photographs cover Ickes’ trip to Alaska in 1938. This large collection holds eighteen photographs of canneries. Locations include: Klawock, Annette Island and Kasaan. Canneries identified include: Libby’s Cannery, Annette Islands Canning Company, and Kasaan Cannery.
- .624 (Klawock), .625 (Libby’s Cannery), .652(Annette Islands Canning Company), .653 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .655 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .656 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .657 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .658 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .659 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .660 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .661 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .662 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .663 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .664 (Annette Islands Canning Company), .665 (Annette Islands Canning Company, below), .675 (Kasaan Cannery), .676 (Kasaan Cannery)
Sidney Hamilton Photograph Collection, B1976.082
The majority of the photographs contained in the Sidney Hamilton Collection depict the city of Anchorage and the Cook Inlet area from the mid 1940s to the mid 1950s. Also included are images of various lodges and recreation areas and other towns such as Juneau, Seward, Curry, and Fairbanks. There is one photograph in this collection of a cannery and harbor area in Juneau.
B. Leonard Collection, B1977.002
The B. Leonard collection holds 58 photographs, mostly of King Cove, Alaska, which is located in the Aleutian Islands. This collection features photographs of the cannery in King Cove and Excursion Inlet, which is located in Southeast Alaska.
- .1 (King Cove), .22 (King Cove), .44 (Excursion Inlet), .45 (King Cove)
Lawver Collection, B1978.125
This collection consists of 19 photographs taken from an album collected by Harry Leypoldt, a member of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey crew in lower Cook Inlet and the Southeast, 1912-1914. There is one unidentified and undated black and white photograph in this collection.
FIC Photos, B1979.001
This collection of photographs was found in the museum archives. There is no paperwork for the collection. This collection contains three possible photographs of canneries. The first and third photographs are bird’s-eye views of Seldovia, possibly featuring a cannery. The second photograph (and a 4×5 negative) shows a cannery in Uyak, Kodiak.
- .5b (Seldovia), .34 (Uyak), .55 (Seldovia)
Collyer Photograph Collection, B1980.028
The Collyer Photograph Collection consists of 23 black and white photographs taken in 1916. There are two photographs in this collection of a salmon cannery in Yakutat.
- .005, .006
Latouche Collection, B1980.029
This collection consists of 400 photographs and 30 negatives of Latouche Island, Alaska, taken sometime between 1910-1920. The photo album contains seven photographs related to canneries. Most of the images are unidentified canneries, as well as a few images of fishing boats docked at a cannery dock, and one of a pallet of canned salmon with a porcupine sitting on top.
- .6, .48, .53, .153, .167, .174, .285
Dorothy Stauter Collection, B1980.041
In the Dorothy Stauter Collection there are 152 photographs. Within those photographs, there is one undated photograph of the Drier Bay Salmon Packing House. Other photographs in the collection have been dated 1905-1933.
Ladic Photograph Collection, B1980.057
This collection contains 33 black and white photographs of the Inside Passage, dated circa 1916. The photographs were taken while the photographer was aboard the S.S. Jefferson traveling from Seattle to Anchorage. This collection holds one photograph of the Taku Cannery.
Dane Photograph Collection, B1980.062
The Dane Photograph Collection consists of 23 photographs and postcards mostly of Wrangell, Unalaska, St. Paul and the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. There are two photographs of the inside of an indentified cannery. The first photograph shows “feeding fish into an iron chink.” The second photograph shows tables full of cans inside a cannery.
- .3, .4
Bridgeman Postcard Collection, B1980.81
This collection was donated in 1980 and contains 29 historical postcards and photographs, mostly of the Southeast, some of Cook Inlet and two of Canadian scenes. There is one photograph of cannery ships amid ice in Bristol Bay.
Alex Family Photograph Collection, B1980.098
This collection was donated in 1980 and contains photographs of the Alex Family of Eklutna Village. There is one photograph of what appears to be a cannery with boats tied up to a dock. No other information appears on the photograph.
The Hotchkiss Collection consists of 164 photographs and 23 negatives of mostly Southeast Alaska, but also of Fairbanks, Anchorage, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, Prince Rupert, B.C. and Kennewick, Washington. There are two photographs of canneries in this collection; one in Wrangell and one in Sitka.
- .23 (Wrangell), .96 (Sitka)
Robert Wheatley Collection, B1982.052
This collection consists of 442 photographs and 112 negatives from around Alaska, taken from 1906 to 1910. There are four small photographs of canneries in this collection. The first two show boats and a cannery near Petersburg. The third photograph is of a cannery in Uyak. The fourth photograph shows the Chignik Alaska Salmon Cannery, which was taken from the water.
- .23 & .24 (Petersburg), .333(Uyak), .339 (Chignik)
Elsner Collection, B1982.135
This collection consists of 28 photographs, mostly taken in the Copper River Valley area, most likely from 1900-1920. There are two photographs of different unidentified canneries. Neither photo is dated, nor has a location listed.
Howard Hansen Collection, B1982.181
This collection was donated in 2010 and contains duplicate photographs from another collection. In this collection there is one undated photo of the cannery in Portlock, Alaska; one of a bird’s-eye view of Wrangell; and another with a caption that reads “Red and King Salmon at New England Packing Co. Dock.” The salmon are still in the boat as it is tied to the dock.
- .42 (Portlock), .52 (Wrangell), .57 (Red and King Salmon)
Ward Wells Collection, 1983.091
The Stock Series in the robust Ward Wells Collection contains 33,600 black and white images. The photographs were taken from 1946-1982, with those after 1947 dealing mainly with Anchorage. There are five photographs of canneries: one of salmon being packaged in Bristol Bay, one possibly of Libby’s Cannery, two of salmon being unloaded off a boat into a cannery in Bristol Bay, and a cannery assembly line in Bristol Bay.
- 156.R08 (packaging), 156.R09 (Libby’s Cannery), 156.R11 (unloading salmon), 156.R22 (Bristol Bay), 156.R23 (unloading salmon, below)
Pyatt-Laurence Collection, B1983.146
This collection consists of 342 photographic prints, including some postcards, and 187 nitrate negatives depicting Alaskan scenes, primarily in and around Anchorage, in 1915 and 1916. There are four photographs of canneries in this collection. The first has not been identified, but is possibly from Ship Creek due to nearby photographs. The second photograph is also unidentified, but is possibly from the Southeast. The third has been identified as Cordova, and the fourth has been identified as Seldovia.
- .122 (Ship Creek?), .156 (Southeast), .197 (Cordova), .209 (Seldovia)
Robert Culver Collection, B1984.081
The Robert Culver Collection contains 104 photographs from 1917-1920, with most of the photographs being of Anchorage or the Alaska Railroad. There is one photograph that shows a portion of the cannery at Port Althorp, with barrels and nets on the dock.
Wien Collection, B1985.027
There are thirty cannery-related photographs in this very large collection. Locations and canneries identified include: Eyak, Naknek, Bristol Bay, Wards Cove Packing Co., and Columbia Rivers’ Packers’ Association. The photographs are dated 1954.
- .987 (Eyak), .990 (Naknek), .991 (Naknek), .995 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .998 (Naknek), .999 (Bristol Bay), .1000 (Bristol Bay), .1001 (Naknek), .1002 (Naknek), .1003 (Naknek), .1004 (Wards Cove Packing Co., Naknek), .1006 (Naknek), .1007 (Naknek), .1008 (Naknek), .1009 (Naknek), .1010 (Naknek), .1011 (Naknek), .1012 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1013 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1014 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1015 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1016 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1017 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1018 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1019 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1020 (Naknek), .1021 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1022 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1023 (C.R.P.A., Naknek), .1026 (C.R.P.A., Naknek)
Will Streeter Collection, B1985.061
In this collection, there are about 80-100 black and white photographs of the Inside Passage and Fairbanks from 1916-1918. There is one photograph of an unidentified cannery with a surrounding town.
Romig Collection, B1985.063
Dr. Joseph Herman Romig moved to Bethel in the 1890s to serve as a missionary doctor after medical school. Throughout the decades, Dr. Romig lived in various parts of the state and became known as the “Dog Team Doctor.” At one point, Dr. Romig worked as a physician for a cannery in Nushagak, Bristrol Bay. In Album 3 of this collection there is a photograph of the cannery in Seldovia. There is no date on the photo, but other photos nearby read the late 1920s.
W.T. Roberts Album, B1987.056
This album contains 472 photographs, most likely taken from 1920-1929, and there are eight photographs of Alaskan canneries. Locations identified include: Douglas, Cordova, Valdez and Latouche Island. There is also a photograph of a floating cannery.
- .130 (Douglas), .200 (Cordova), .202 (Cordova), .203 (Cordova), .205 (floating cannery), .214 (Cordova), .284 (Valdez), .303 (Latouche Island)
Arnold Nelsen Collection, B1987.071
This collection consists of 49 photographs, mostly of the Alaska Railroad and of canneries. In the collection, there are nine photographs and three canned salmon labels that were used to write a letter on, dated 1944. Locations and canneries identified are: Port Althorp, Koggiung, Carlisle Packing Co., and Libby’s Cannery. The photographs show the canneries, fishing boats filled with fish, a cannery conveyor belt in action, and a bin with men standing in salmon up to their knees.
- .9 (Port Althorp), .10 (Port Althorp), .13 (conveyor belt), .14 (Carlisle Packing Co.), .15 (Port Althorp), .16 (Libby’s Cannery), .17 (Libby’s Cannery), .18 (Libby’s Cannery), .19 (no information), .55abc (salmon can letter)
Evelyn Lessel Postcard Collection, B1987.086
This small collection consists of 23 postcards dated 1908-1911. There are seven photographs of related to canneries. The first three photographs show the cannery in Chignik, Alaska. The photographs are undated and each shows a different angle of the cannery. Three photographs are of the shipwreck of the cannery ship Jabez Howes in Chignik. And the last photograph shows a cannery ship loading cans in Chignik.
- .2-.4 (Chignik), .5-.7 (Jabez Howes), .8 (cannery ship)
Ingalls Collection, B1988.003
The Ingalls collection contains 250 postcards of various locations in Alaska and Canada. Two photographs of the cannery in Sitkoh Bay, Alaska can be found in this collection. There is also a photograph of stacks of cans that say Tklinket Packing Co., Funter Bay, Alaska. The photograph is dated August, 1907.
- .209 (Sitkoh Bay), .219 (Sitkoh Bay), .223 (Tklinket Packing Co.)
A.R. Sessions Collection, B1988.052
The A.R. Sessions Collection consists of 161 photographs, mostly of the Alaska Railroad, as Arthur Richard Sessions worked for them for almost 50 years. The photographs are dated 1920s-1960s. There is one photograph of the San Wan Fish Company in Seward in this collection.
Lu Liston Collection, B1989.016
This large collection is comprised of approximately 6500 negatives, 650 prints and miscellaneous slides, dating 1930-1965. The collection mostly documents the business and daily life in Anchorage, and features photographers Sydney Laurence, Robert Bragaw, Denny Hewitt, and Sidney Hamilton. There are dozens of photographs of canneries around Alaska in this collection.
- .362 (cannery and dock, Anchorage or Tenakee?), .404.1-.3 (Emard’s Cannery), .537.1 – (Anchorage), .537.2 – No. 2. (Salmon Cannery, Anchorage), .537.3 (Anchorage Dock & Cannery) .634 (Port O’Brien Cannery), .635 (Port Althorp Cannery) .708.1-15 (Cannery operations and workers), 791.5 (Alaska Packers’ Association boats, Bristol Bay), .1292.1-2 (Emard’s Cannery), .1292.3 (salmon cannery, Anchorage), 1292.5 (salmon cannery, Anchorage), 1391.1 (Bristol Bay), .1410 (Diamond N.N. Cannery, Bristol Bay), .1544.1-2 (Northwestern Fisheries Co. cannery), .1663, .1882.1-27 (probably Libby, McNeill, & Libby cannery)
Steve McCutcheon Collection, B1990.014.5
This incredibly large collection contains 181,532 various types of images, taken between 1946 and 1990. The collection holds twenty cannery-related photographs. Locations and canneries identified include: Petersburg, Dillingham, Haines, Mud Bay, Kasaan, Kenai, Ketchikan, Pacific American Fisheries Cannery, Scandinavian Slough, and Halibut & Fish Biz.
- AKNative.031.002 (Petersburg), TV.046.008 (Dillingham), TV.046.029 (PAF Cannery, Dillingham), TV.046.032 (Scandinavian Slough), TV.046.034 (PAF Cannery, Dillingham), TV.046.37 (Dillingham), TV.046.038 (Dillingham), TV.046.40 (Dillingham, below), TV.046.41 (PAF Cannery, Dillingham), TV.046.042 (Dillingham), TV.046.046 (Dillingham), TV.068.022 (Haines), TV.068.023 (Mud Bay), TV.068.034 (Mud Bay), TV.068.084 (Haines), TV.086.001 (Kasaan), TV.089.074 (Kenai), TV.089.119.1A (Kenai), TV.094.327.01A (Halibut & Fish Biz, Ketchikan), TV.094.327.038 (Halibut & Fish Biz, Ketchikan)
The Simonson Collection is comprised mostly of black and white photographs of the Cook Inlet region, dated 1900-1920. There are eleven photographs of multiple locations and canneries. Two of the photographs show the shipwreck of the cannery ship Jabez Howes. Three photographs show the cannery in Chignik, dated 1910. Two photographs show the canneries Northwestern Fisheries Company, dated 1913, and Lebbep Cannery, dated 1909, in Kenai. Two photographs show Ketchikan. There is one photograph of Nushaguk, Alaska, and the final photograph is of Tim Odale at steering wheel of the cannery boat (The North Cape), dated 1920.
- B1991.009.32ab (shipwreck), .47 (Chignik), .48 (Chignik), .50 (Chignik), .94 (Northwestern Fisheries Company), .96 (Lebbep Cannery), .103 (Ketchikan), .104 (Ketichikan), 113 (Nushaguk), .117 (Tim Odale)
Martin Collection, B1992.024
Taken while aboard the S.S. Admiral Farragut during a voyage in 1927, this photo album contains 93 photographs of Alaska. There is one photograph of a salmon cannery in Petersburg, dated 1927. In the photograph, pallets of cans can be seen on the dock.
John D. (Jack) Urban Collection, B1995.019
This collection consists of 772 photographs all taken around 1925 while Mr. Urban worked as a tourist agent for the Alaska Railroad. In this collection there are two photographs of fish being unloaded at an unidentified cannery in 1925.
- .740, .753
This photo album consists of 383 black and white photographs of Southeast Alaska, from 1923-1924. The collection has two photographs of a cannery in Sitka. The second photograph shows a building with a sign that says “Booth.”
- .357, .363
Trip to Alaska, B1997.008
This photo album contains 260 photographs that were taken in 1926 during a trip to Alaska. There are four photographs of canneries in this collection. The first was taken in Cordova, the second and third photographs were taken in Shearwater Bay, and the fourth was taken in Kodiak.
- .32 (Cordova), .71 (Shearwater Bay), .72 (Shearwater Bay), .98 (Kodiak)
Christian Rohlfing Collection, B1997.012
There are 38 photographs in this collection, taken from 1885-1888. One photograph in this collection shows the Naha Bay Salmon Cannery, dated 1885.
Adolphus Greely, B1998.003
General Adolphus W. Greely served in the Civil War from 1961-1965. After the war he served in the Canadian Arctic as part of the International Polar Expedition in Barrow, from 1881-1883, and as Chief Signal Officer made five trips between 1900 and 1910 to Alaska to inspect Wamcats under construction by the Army Signal Corps. The collection has a total of 33 photographs, and two of those are of canneries. The first photograph shows the Petersburg Cannery and the second shows the Touke Salmon Cannery in Hoggart Bay.
- .23 (Petersburg), .32 (Touke Salmon Cannery)
Carl C. (Dick) Tousley, B1998.017
In this collection there are six photo albums containing 1113 photographs of Alaska, Wyoming, Montana and Washington, from about 1915-1925. This collection holds six photographs of canneries. Locations and canneries identified include: Chignik, Cordova, Kodiak, Afognak, Ouzinkie Cannery, K.F. Cos. Cannery and C.R. Packing Co.
- .495 (C.R. Packing Co., Chignik), .599 (Ouzinkie Cannery, Afognak), .600 (Ouzinkie Cannery, Afognak, above), .693 (K.F. Cos. Cannery, Kodiak), .703 (Cordova)
Candy Waugaman Collection, B1998.025
This collection consists of photographs from World War II, dating from 1940-1945. This is a largely-unprocessed collection with unnumbered photographs of canneries in envelope 5 and album 17.
Crusey Postcard Collection, B1999.013
There are about 50 postcards in this collection, with six postcards featuring canneries: 2 illustrated postcards of Fort Wrangell and Skagway, and four photographs of Ketchikan and Kodiak.
- .2 (Fort Wrangell), .6 (Skagway), .40 (Ketchikan), .43 (Ketchikan), .45 (Ketchikan), .48 (Kodiak)
Hilscher Collection, B1999.014
The Hilscher Collection has approximately 300 photographs taken by Herb and Miriam Hilscher when he was working for the king crab industry, statehood, and the constitutional convention. There are nine photographs of canneries. The first photograph has the caption: “Canneries at Ocean Dock.” The second is a postcard of Cordova. The third photograph is of Dillingham before 1952. The fourth is of red salmon arriving at APA Cannery in Karluk. The last four are small pictures of the same cannery, with no information on the location or date.
.1323 (Canneries at Ocean Dock), .1324 (Cordova postcard), .1335 (Dillingham), .1392 (APA Cannery, Karluk), .1176 (four small photographs of canneries)