Bertram C. Towne photographs, circa 1884-circa 1898  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Towne, Bertram C
Bertram C. Towne photographs
circa 1884-circa 1898 (inclusive)
1887 (bulk)
20 photographic prints, 1 album (1 box) ; 8.5 x 5.25 in.
Collection Number
Boudoir size photographs of Alaska, Oregon and California by early Portland photographer Bertram C. Towne
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

Bertram C. Towne was a photographer active in Portland, Oregon, during the period 1884-1895. From 1884-1887, B.C. Towne and Elbridge W. Moore operated the San Francisco Gallery in Portland as partners, having assumed control of the gallery after the death of W.H. Towne. At this time, the studio was also listed as "Towne & Moore." From 1888-1895, the studio operated as "B.C. Towne Photograph Company" and was located on First Street in Portland. In October, 1890, the West Shore , a popular weekly publication that promoted life in the Pacific Northwest, named Towne as a photographic contest winner in the "professional" category. Carl Mautz, in Biographies of Western Photographers (1997), states that Towne's studio "became one of the premier galleries in Portland, employing many of the best photographers in the area" and that it "published boudoir format scenes of Alaska, the Columbia River, Mount Hood, and other Northwest scenes."

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Except for one photograph of the Chilkoot Pass, this set of 20 photographs appears to have been taken by Towne during the period 1884-1887. The majority of the images are outdoor scenes, produced on "Boudoir Cards", from southeastern Alaska, Portland and Mount Hood in Oregon, and Mount Shasta in northern California. Several Alaskan images of Chilkoot Pass and the Muir Glacier (Glacier Bay) are natural scenes, while the rest are of settlements and/or people in Sitka and Howkan, including images of Tlingit Native Americans tending to everyday responsibilities, such as drying fish and selling berries. Towne is known to have taken a trip to Alaska in 1887, and many of the photos appear to have been taken during that trip. The collection also includes three portraits taken by Towne, and one boudoir card photograph album of "Portland, Or. Souvenir Photographs."

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 detail.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1
 Chilkoot Pass
Caption on verso: Chilcoot Pass, ca. 1898, Gen. T.M. Anderson in Alaska, 1897-1898.
circa 1898
1 2-3 1887
1 4-5 1887
1 6 undated
1 7 1887
1 8 1887
1 9
 Tlingit women sitting in Indian River Road, Sitka (Towne 11)
Caption on verso: Indian river road "Sitka."
1 10 undated
1 11
 Two Haida totem poles, Howkan, Long Island (Towne 57)
Caption on verso: Twin Totems, Howkan

PortraitsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
3 18 1887
3 19
 "Cousin Charlie," Mizner family
Towne & Moore (photographer)
circa 1884-1887
3 20 circa 1884-1887
Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
4 21
 Album cover for boudoir size photographs
Title on album: Portland, Or. Souvenir Photographs.The photographs (items 2-5, 7-8, 11-16) were originally contained in this boudoir size card photograph album.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Mountains--West (U.S.)--Photographs
  • Tlingit Indians--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Personal Names :
  • Towne, Bertram C
  • Geographical Names :
  • Hood, Mount (Or.)--Photographs
  • Sitka (Alaska)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Boudoir card photographs