James D. Lowman Family Photograph Collection, circa 1880-1917  PDF

Overview of the Collection

James D. Lowman family
James D. Lowman Family Photograph Collection
circa 1880-1917 (inclusive)
2 boxes, (.63 cubic feet)
Collection Number
2008.47 (accession)
Photographs of the James and Mary Emery Lowman family
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

James Lowman was an early Seattle business and civic leader. He was born in Leitersburg, Maryland on October 5, 1856. After teaching school for one year in Maryland, he moved to Seattle at age twenty where his uncle, Henry Yesler, employed him as an assistant wharf master. In 1882, he used his saved earnings to purchase a half interest in the bookstore W.H. Pumphey. After two years, he bought his partner’s share in the business and established the Lowman and Hanford Stationary and Printing Company with an establishment at Front and Cherry Streets.

Lowman and Hanford Stationary operated as a bookseller, binder and newspaper printer, but also sold sewing machines, typewriters, pianos and organs. During the 1889 Seattle fire, Lowman loaded wagons with his printing equipment and transported it to his home on Spring Street for safekeeping. The business was destroyed in the fire, and Lowman was a key contributor in rebuilding Seattle, including the Lowman and Hanford Building at 616 First Avenue and the new Seattle Theater.

Mary Emery Lowman was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on November 1, 1863. She married James Lowman in Seattle in 1881, and the couple resided at 11th Avenue and Marion Street, later 820 Boren Avenue. The Lowman home was the center of much of Seattle’s early social life, and they enjoyed travel, theater, fishing, golf, pets, and entertaining friends and family. Mary Lowman was active with the Red Cross, the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and the Seattle Tennis Club. She died on September 4, 1939 at the Lowman residence after a brief illness and was survived at the time of her death by two sisters, a nephew and her husband. James Lowman died in Seattle on November 18, 1947 at the age of 91.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of four photograph albums, a newspaper article, travel journal and loose photographs documenting the James Lowman family circa 1880-1917. The albums vary in size and contain photographs pasted on beige paper pages, some with handwritten captions. The images include studio portraits of James and Mary Emery Lowman and informal group portraits taken indoors and outdoors at the Marion Street residence and other Northwest locations. Photographs depict adults and children engaging in recreational activities such as amateur dramatics, golf, tennis, fishing and hiking. The images also include Native Americans and document landmarks such as Lake Washington, Salmon Bay, Woodland Park, Ravenna Park, Elliott Bay, Cedar Lake and Montlake.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

James D. Lowman Family Photograph Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Photograph albums, circa 1885-1900Return to Top

4 albums
Container(s) Description Dates
2008.47.1:  Image of East side of Lake Union with steamer in background, Seattle, ca. 1888
 Image of James D. Lowman family and dogs on porch of their First Hill home, Seattle, ca. 1890
 Image of Middle cascade of Tokul Creek near the Snoqualmie River with Native American guide Old Martin, ca. 1888
 Image of Trout caught in Cedar Lake, ca. 1888
80 photographs on 34 pages 7 x 10 in.
Some of the photos have handwritten captions. Subjects include Lake Union, Salmon Bay, Lake Washington, Smith Cove, Ravenna Park, Cedar Lake and Falls, Native Americans, family groups, children, dogs, horses.
circa 1885
2008.47.2:  Image of Cyclists on Lake Washington bicycle path, Seattle, ca. 1900
 Image of Mary Emery and James D. Lowman on front porch of their First Hill home, Seattle, ca. 1910
41 photographs on 21 pages 5 x 9 in.
Subjects include family groups, rural scenes, city parade, lakes, Montlake, Elliott Bay, Lake Washington bicycle path, boats, Native Americans.
circa 1885
2008.47.3: Photograph album
30 photographs on 24 pages 11 x 7 in.
Some of the photos have handwritten captions. Subjects include family groups, cabin, farm, garden, various outdoor scenes and activities
circa 1894-1989
2008.47.4:  Photograph album
185 photographs on 34 pages 10 x 14 in.
Some of the photos have handwritten captions. Subjects include family groups, portraits, Marion Street residence, children, pets, beaches, parks, sports and dramatics, Orcas Island views.

PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2008.47.5: Portrait of James D. Lowman
Moore , Seattle (photographer)
Cabinet card
circa 1890
2008.47.6: Portrait of James D. Lowman
Taber , San Francisco (photographer)
Cabinet card
circa 1881
2008.47.7:  Full length studio portrait of James D. Lowman
Taber , San Francisco (photographer)
Cabinet card
circa 1881
2008.47.8:  Full length studio portrait of Mary Emery Lowman
Taber , San Francisco (photographer)
Cabinet card
circa 1881
2008.47.9: Portrait of James D. Lowman
Marceau Photographers , New York
circa 1900
2/6 circa 1908
2008.47.11: Waterfront house and shoreline, possibly Lake Washington
Poor condition
circa 1890
2008.47.12: House on residential street, possibly Lowman home at 11th and Marion Streets
Wilse, Anders B. (photographer)
Written on photo: Residencel [sic] Portion No. 52
circa 1890
2008.47.12-.14: Interior of home
circa 1900
2008.47.15-.16: Small snapshots of Alaska straits
Icy Strait, Chatham Strait
circa 1900
2008.47.17: Two men, woman and dog posing in front of rustic building
circa 1900
2008.47.18-.26: Views of men and women golfing
circa 1903

MiscellaneousReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
2008.47.27: Seattle Times newspaper page with cartoon drawing of James D. Lowman
This full-color illustration depicts Lowman, in Japanese garb, as "The Orientalist." From a feature titled "Some of Seattle's Favorites Done into Cartoon."
1909 September 12
2008.47.28: Typewritten travel journal with photographs of cruise of the yacht Lydia
Cover has photo three men on deck of a boat, with the inscription "Fraternally yours, J.H. Kerr."
1917 August

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Families--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Family members--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Houses-Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Recreation--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Lowman, Mary Emery, 1863-1939
  • Geographical Names :
  • Ravenna Park (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Washington (State)
  • Washington, Lake (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Cabinet photographs
  • Photograph albums
  • Photographic prints
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Lowman, James D., 1856-1947 (creator)