B.B. Dobbs Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Photographs, 1909

Overview of the Collection

Dobbs, B. B. (Beverly Bennett)
B.B. Dobbs Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Photographs
1909 (inclusive)
18 negatives (1 box) : nitrate ; 3 1/5" x 5 3/4"
Collection Number
Photographs depicting 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

The collection is open to the public.

The negatives are not available for viewing

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

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

The son of a farmer, Beverly Bennett Dobbs was born in 1868 near Marshall, Missouri. At age 8, he moved with his parents to Lincoln, Neb., where he learned photography. In 1888, Dobbs moved to Bellingham, Wash., and operated a photography studio for 12 years, including a partnership in 1890-1891 with F.F. Fleming under the name Dobbs & Fleming. He married Dorothy Sturgeon of Bellingham in 1896, then moved to Nome, Alaska, in search of gold in 1900. Dobbs continued to earn his living as a photographer, and by 1903, he had formed a partnership with the photographer A.B. Kinne from San Francisco. The Dobbs & Kinne studio in Nome offered photography services and photo supplies. Dobbs photographed scenes in Nome and the Seward Peninsula and made portraits of Eskimo people (Eskimos). He was awarded a gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis World’s Fair) in 1904 for his Eskimo photographs.

By about 1909, Dobbs had started Dobbs Alaska Moving Picture Co., making him one of the first to use motion picture film north of the Arctic Circle. He made a name for himself as a filmmaker with Atop of the World in Motion (also called Top of the World in Motion ), a collection of his motion picture travelogues detailing the Alaska gold rush. By 1911, it is probable that Dobbs was focusing only on his moving picture business; he no longer had his photography supply store, and had sold his photography negatives to the Lomen Brothers, who later issued some of his work under their name. By 1914, Dobbs had returned to Seattle and was managing the Dobbs Totem Film Company. He is listed as the cinematographer for A Romance of Seattle , a film shot in and around Seattle in 1919. In his later years he specialized in developing motion picture films in his studio at his home. During the 1930s, Dobbs photographed the fish processing operations at Pacific American Fisheries (PAF) in the Fairhaven area of Bellingham. He died at age 69 in 1937.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The Klondike Gold Rush had made Seattle the dominant city in the Pacific Northwest, being the major source of supplies to Alaska. The goal of the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) 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 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 some of 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, who were prominent landscape architects designed much of the AYPE grounds. Many of the buildings, mostly done in French Renaissance style, were the work of the architect John Galen Howard.

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.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of photographs by B. B. Dobbs documenting the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, Washington in 1909. They focus on the buildings and the grounds of the exposition.

Most of the photographs are signed Dobbs, "A.Y.P. 09." or "A.Y.P. 1909"

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.

Preferred Citation

The required credit line for use of images from Special Collections is: University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, [plus the negative number].

The negative number is provided with the image and is a letter + number combination such as UW13452; Hegg 1234; or NA1275. A typical credit line would be, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW13452.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Source: Bob Nord, 2002

Processing Note

Processed by Marion Brown, 2007

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Exhibitions--Washington (State)--Seattle--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