Peter L. Hegg Equality Colony photographs, 1898-1900  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Hegg, P. L. (PeterL.)
PeterL. Hegg Equality Colony photographs
1898-1900 (inclusive)
21 photographic prints (1 box) ; 8x10
Collection Number
Photographs depicting the early years and original members of the Equality Colony utopian community in Washington state from 1898-1900
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

The collection is open to the public.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

PeterHegg, brother of the Klondike Gold Rush photographer Eric Hegg, was a proficient photographer in his own right. The Heggs emigrated from Sweden with their parents when they were very young. PeterHegg came to Washington in 1888. Eric Hegg started a photography studio in New Whatcom (Bellingham, Washington) in 1889, but sold it when he went to the Klondike to record the Gold Rush. Peter took over the Hegg studio when Eric left. Peter worked closely with the Equality Colony in producing a number of propaganda photographs of the colony for their newspaper Industrial Freedom In addition, these images were available for sale to the curious public for 30 cents each or $1.75 for the first seven.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The Equality Colony, located near Edison in upstate Washington, was founded in 1897. It was part of the National Union of the Brotherhood of the Cooperative Commonwealth, whose goal was to make Washington a socialist state by gradually starting colonies in the area and expanding into the rest of the state. For $160 a family was admitted to the colony. Every member was expected to work, including the children when they were not in school. Families lived in apartment houses, or in individual family cabins and ate in a communal dining hall. The colonists were not well received by the surrounding communities because they held radical beliefs such as free love, divorce, rights for women and socialism. By 1906 the colony dissolved.

The newspaper Industrial Freedom was the official publication of the Equality Colony. It was printed weekly and distributed nationally.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Twenty one photographic prints documenting scenes of daily life at the Equality Colony, including tenants, apartment houses, the sawmill and printing presses. These photographs were taken at three different periods and were numbered by the photographer.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

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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


March 1898Return to Top

The first group of photos shows scenes of daily life taken around March 1898. The first issue of Industrial Freedom came out on May 7, 1898. It contained an ad advertising seven pictures of Equality Colony scenes for sale. Three of these pictures were printed in the November 12, 1898 issue of Industrial Freedom

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1 March 1898
1/1 2
 Mr. Kincaid standing in "The Reserve," the logging area along Colony Creek
This is the later site of the sawmill. The buildings in the background were probably part of an abandoned logging camp.
March 1898
1/1 3 March 1898
1/1 4
 Women and children outside Fort Bellamy, a two story, A-frame log cabin (Photo #5)
Sitting on the porch are Charles Marquart, age 9 and Clint Halladay. At the back row of the stairs are Bertha Fisher, Frankie Clevenger, Dora Erickson and the future Mrs. Herts. In the front left is Emma Marquart.Fort Bellamy was the name of the kitchen and dining hall where residents ate meals together. The hall was named after socialist Edward Bellamy, author of Equality and Looking Backward. Fort Bellamy was the first building at the colony. After 1898 an addition was built on the north end.
March 1898
1/1 5
 Women and children standing outside a row of A-frame log cabins (Photo #6)
Clint Halladay, Charles Marquart, Emma Marguart, Frankie Clevenger, Grace Brady.From left to right is the Brady cabin, the Herz-Kincaid cabin and the Giles-Brady Cabin. These cabins were built in 1897
March 1898

May 1898Return to Top

In the May 29, 1898 issue of Industrial Freedom the number of photos advertised for sale goes up to 16. Both ads include descriptions of the photos and the numbers on the majority of the existing photos corresponds to the number describing the scene in the advertisement. The first photos without the "BCC Industrial Freedom" banner were commissioned before the newspaper went out, and the next group was commissioned to promote readership after pictures had been selling well. It is noted in the newspaper how eager people were to see the colony.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/2 6
 Six men and two women standing underneath "Industrial Freedom" banner in the carpentry shop (Photo #8)
The colonists made and sold furniture to the public to raise funds.
May 1898
1/2 7 May 1898
1/2 8 May 1898
1/2 9
 Group standing in front of building on Main Street in Edison, where the Industrial Freedom was printed. (Photo #11)
The printery also served as the BCC National Headquarters. It was 1.5 miles east of Edison, but 4 miles by road and trail. The building was later called Edison Hall and made into an IOOF building.
May 1898
1/2 10 May 1898
1/2 11 May 1898
1/2 12
 Residents outside the Apartment House No. 2
Mrs. R. Ault stands in the doorway, Lulu and Gladys Ault sit on the log and Florence Pelton sits at the base of the stump marked with an "x".
May 1898
1/2 13 May 1898
1/2 14
 Men working in the colony nursery (Photo #17)
In the foreground are James Brallin Ault and J. W. Morrick
May 1898

April 1, 1900 and 1903Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/3 15
1/3 16
 A man standing in front of the Equality Colony (Photo #23)
Caption reads: "General view of village looking southeast from garden. Hot-house, bakery and ironing-room obscured by other buildings. Shingle-house and saw-mill to left."
One duplicate
April 1, 1900
1/3 17
1/3 18
 A group of men sitting on stacked lumber
Caption reads: "Donkey Mill Crew and Shingle Bolts"
1/3 19
Close up view of loganberries

Unknown dateReturn to Top

The remaining two photos have no date or numbers. Possibly they were taken later than the May 1898 series because they do not match the description of any of the advertised photos.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/3 20 undated
1/3 21 undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Collective settlements--Washington (State)--Skagit County--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Equality Colony (Skagit County, Wash.)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

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