Kodiak, Alaska photograph collection, 1912-1940s  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Kodiak, Alaska photograph collection
1912-1940s (inclusive)
17 photographic prints (1 box)
Collection Number
Town scenes, some during winter, of Kodiak, Alaska, in the 1940s. Included is one image of the 1912 Katmai eruption aftermath
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.


Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The City of Kodiak is located on the northeastern end of Kodiak Island, the second largest island in the U.S. People have lived in the area for eight thousand years. Sea otter trappers, the first non-natives, arrived from Russia in 1763 and established a settlement at Chiniak Bay, where Kodiak is located. The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 and commercial fishing became an important part of the economy. The U.S. Army and Navy built bases on Kodiak Island during the Aleutian Campaign of World War II. During the war, the city of Kodiak experienced rapid population growth from the military installations and it was incorporated in 1940. Following the war, salmon and crab fishing continued to be the commercial mainstay. Kodiak was devastated by the earthquake and tidal wave of March, 1964, which destroyed many boats, homes, and businesses.

Mt. Katmai, located one hundred miles from Kodiak on the Kenai Peninsula, erupted on June 6, 1912. The skies were dark with falling ash from that and subsequent eruptions until the 8th, except for a brief intermission on the morning of the 7th. This famous eruption spewed an estimated five cubic miles of ash and pumice, some of it falling as far as Ketchikan, nine hundred miles away. Up to eighteen inches of ash fell on Kodiak. A photograph in this collection reflects those few hours of lightness the day after the eruption.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection documents town life and buildings in the City of Kodiak, Alaska, chiefly during the 1940s. Many images depict snowy, icy conditions. One image shows Kodiak on the day after the 1912 Mt. Katmai eruption. Included is a series of Kodiak scenes taken by an unknown photographer.

O. Kraft & Son, depicted in this collection, was a general merchandise store, established in 1903 and operated for three generations.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Views of KodiakReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1 undated
XH2 2
 Panoramic view of harbor, Kodiak City
Helsel Photo Co (photographer)
1/1 3 circa 1940
1/1 4
 Street scene
Helsel Photo Co (photographer)
circa 1940
1/1 5 undated
1/1 6 circa 1940
1/1 7 circa 1940s
1/1 8 1940

Set of Photographs of KodiakReturn to Top

Photographer is unknown, but photos appear to be related.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/2 9 circa 1940s
1/2 10 circa 1940s
1/2 11 circa 1940
1/2 12 circa 1940s
1/2 13 circa 1940s
1/2 14 undated
1/2 15 undated

Miscellaneous ImagesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/3 16 1942
1/3 17 1912

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Buildings--Alaska--Kodiak--Photographs
  • Harbors--Alaska--Kodiak--Photographs
  • Streets--Alaska--Kodiak--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Kodiak (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Street photography
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Helsel Photo Co (photographer)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)