Victor Galbraith AYPE photograph collection, 1909

Overview of the Collection

Galbraith, Victor
Victor Galbraith AYPE photograph collection
1909 (inclusive)
23 photos (1 folder)
Collection Number
Photographs of the grounds and buildings of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Selected photos can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials curator is required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the Friends of the Library.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The Klondike Gold Rush made Seattle the dominant city in the Pacific Northwest, as the major supplier to Alaska. The goal of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was to show off the growth and development of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle, and to display the value of commercial trade with the Pacific Rim. When Japan agreed to participate, the AYPE became a truly international, multi-cultural event, which planners of the AYPE hoped would demonstrate cooperation between people from around the world. On a less philosophical level, city officials also hoped that the exposition would encourage people to relocate to the growing metropolis of Seattle.

Officials soon decided on the largely wooded grounds of the University of Washington, situated on Lake Washington, with Mount Rainier visible in the distance. The first $650,000 for the AYPE was raised by proud Seattleites, who bought “shares” of the exposition. Much of the rest was funded by the sale of public lands and by the Washington State legislature, with the understanding that the buildings built for the exposition would become part of the University of Washington at the end of the AYPE. John and Frederick Olmsted, son and stepson of Frederick Law Olmsted, prominent landscape architects in their own right, designed much of the AYPE grounds.

Thanks to two years of planning and the huge sums of money raised, the AYPE grounds and exposition were everything the planners had hoped for. It was a fascinating mix of ethnic diversity and crass commercialism, but it clearly appealed to the people of the United States. Over 80,000 people attended the AYPE on opening day in June 1909, and by closing day (October 16, 1909) 3.7 million people had paid to see attractions such as the Igorrote Village, and the Indian and Eskimo exhibits. They had seen animals built out of fruits and nuts, and rode on the Fairy Gorge Tickler. The AYPE had been a huge success. Seattle officials were pleased to note that the AYPE had drawn 700,000 people more than the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition had attracted in the rival city of Portland, Oregon. "quoted from the AYPE digital site

Although the Exposition boasted its own official photographer, amateur photographers could purchase a paper permit, allowing access for one day. With the day pass, an amateur photographer with a camera smaller than 6" x 8" was allowed to take unlimited photographs of the buildings, exhibits and other features.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Photographs depicting the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, Washington in 1909. The 23 photographs depict the exhibits, buildings and people strolling through the grounds of the exposition and were made by an unknown amateur photographer.

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

Acquisition Information

Donor: Victor Galbraith, 1991

Processing Note

Processed by Marion Brown in 2008.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1 1909

Exposition BuildingsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 2 1909
1 3
Canada Building
1 4 1909
1 5 1909
1 6 1909
1 7 1909
1 8 1909
1 9
U.S. Government Building viewed from the Cascades
1 10 1909

The Pay StreakReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 21 1909
1 22 1909
1 23 1909

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Exhibition buildings--Washington (State)--Seattle--20th century--Photographs
  • Exhibitions--Washington (State)--Seattle--20th century--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Corporate Names

  • Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909 : Seattle, Wash.)--Buildings--Photographs
  • Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909 : Seattle, Wash.)--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)--Buildings, structures, etc.--Photographs
  • Seattle (Wash.)--Exhibitions--Photographs