P.S. Hunt photographs of Alaska, 1902-1909  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Hunt, P.S. (Phinney S.), 1866-1917
P.S. Hunt photographs of Alaska
1902-1909 (inclusive)
20 vintage prints; 1 modern print (2 folders)
1 negative (1 box) : glass plate
Collection Number
Photographs in and around Valdez and Sitka, Alaska
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.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Phinney S. (P.S.) Hunt was a photographer who worked in Alaska in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was born in Michigan on April 24, 1866 and lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan until age 18. He married in 1887 and relocated to San Jose, California, where he lived for several years before moving to Sacramento. He then moved to Valdez, Alaska in 1898 and worked as a photographer in Valdez and the surrounding communities. In 1915, he became the official photographer for the Alaskan Engineering Commission and moved to Anchorage. He died suddenly on October 14, 1917 while working in Seward, Alaska.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Settlement increased dramatically near present-day Valdez, Alaska, in 1897, with the onset of the Klondike Gold Rush. Thousands of people came to Alaska in search of mining fortunes, and the area became a major support and supply center for prospectors traveling to the Klondike and Copper River Basin. Located 11 miles inland from Prince William Sound, the small settlement became known as Valdez.

Valdez prospered in the early twentieth century as mining, fishing, and shipping industries continued to expand. In 1900, the U.S. Army built Fort Liscum near Valdez to serve as a communications and operations center, and within a few years the town's population totaled 7,000 people. However, completion of the Alaska Railroad in 1924 reduced the importance of Valdez as a shipping and transportation center. The Alaska Railroad connected Seward with Fairbanks, thus diminishing use of the inland Keystone Canyon Trail that began near Valdez. The Army closed Fort Liscum in 1923, and by the onset of World War II the town's population totaled fewer than 1,000 people. Natural disaster followed Valdez' mid-century economic decline when a 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck in 1964. Located 45 miles east of the epicenter, Valdez sustained massive damage and the earthquake forced the town to relocate. Present-day Valdez is now four miles east of the settlement of 1897.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection includes photographs in and around Valdez, Alaska that illustrate the town's growth in the early twentieth century. Photographs show businesses in downtown Valdez, surrounding landscape scenes, people traveling by sled, and campsites along the trail. The collection also includes an image of a Native American family living near the Tonsina River, and an image of totem poles in Sitka, Alaska.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the digital version of the collection

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


Sitka, AlaskaReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
2 21 1906?

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Mining camps--Alaska--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Columbia Glacier (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Sitka (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Valdez (Alaska)--Photographs