Edward Curtis Collections

The Mazamas have many notable members. Some of the them are well known, John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt among them. For others, their notoriety is more obscure but no less important. Into this lesser known group fall the brothers Edward and Asahel Curtis of Seattle. They were both early Mazamas, experienced mountaineers, and accomplished photographers. Their photography collections provide an invaluable glimpse into the early history of Northwest mountaineering and the Mazamas.

The Edward Curtis photographs held by the Mazama are spread across several collections. The two largest are the William Steel scrap book collection and the Mount Rainier Outing collection. Over the course of his life Steel accumulated 28 large scrapbooks, into which he glued and taped a wide variety of newspaper articles, personal correspondence, flyers, ephemera, and photographs that caught his eye. One of the scrapbooks contains approximately 45 Curtis prints.

Edward Curtis, Mt Rainier Outing, 1897

Collection information

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About the collections

The Edward Curtis photographs held by the Mazamas are spread across several collections, most notably the 1897 Mount Rainier Outing, the 1898 Mount Saint Helens Outing, and the William Steel scrapbook collection. 

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Series

VM1993.016 Mount Rainier Container List

001 Prints showing the Mazama party on their way to Mt. Rainier. Named locations
include Longmire Springs.
Approach
002 Basecamp Images of "Camp Mazama," the club's main camp at Paradise Park at timberline.
003 Water Named locations are Narada Falls and Paradise River
004 Cowlitz Valley
005 Tatoosh Range Scenics of the Tatoosh Range from Paradise Park
006 Two images of a Mazama party climb of Pinnacle Peak including a group photo
taken on the summit.
007 Mt. Rainier scenics
008 Mazama parties climbing above timberline, but no photos of the actual party climb
to the summit Tuesday July 27, 1897.
Mt. Rainier climb
009 The rocks where Professor McClure was killed
010 This folder contains one photograph mounted on board showing a group of eight
men pulling a ninth man out of a crevasse on Mt. Rainier. The photo was staged by
the photographer Edward S. Curtis to re-enact the actual event at the actual place
is occurred. The rescuer standing on the far left is probably Harvey Forrest
Mitchell.
Crevasse Rescue
011 Muir cabin at Muir Glacier
012 Prints by Charles C. Lewis and O.C. Hutchinson
013 Seven black and white prints in conservation mattes
014 Climbers above Gibraltor Rock

VM1993.017 Mount Saint Helens Outing Container List

001 Mazama Base Camp Photos by James H. Eaton
002 Sunset on Lake Merrill Photograph by Edward S. Curtis
003 Edward S. Curtis Prints Nine matted prints

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Scope and content

VM1993.016 Mount Rainier Outing

This collection contains photographs of the Mazamas annual outing to Mount Rainier in July and August of 1897. Most of the photos were taken by Edward S. Curtis of Seattle. The images cover nearly all aspects of the trip except for the official climb from Camp Muir to the summit on Tuesday, July 27. There are three images which stand out. Image one shows a rescue party pulling a victim out of a crevasse. Image two shows three men, including Edward S. Curtis, backpacking using the best equipment of the time. Image three shows a group photo of a party of Mazamas on the summit of Pinnacle Peak.

VM1993.017 Mount Saint Helens Outing

This collection consists of twelve original black-and-white prints, two by James H. Eaton and 10 by Edward Sheriff Curtis, documenting the Mazamas 1898 outing to Mount Saint Helens. The most striking image is a Curtis image of two Native Americans encountered on the way into Mount Saint Helens who were drying Cascara bark to sell to laxative makers.

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People included

Curtis, Asahel
Curtis, Edward S.
McClure, Edgar
Mitchell, Harvey Forrest
Pittock, Henry L.
Rogers, Walter

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Extent and medium

VM1993.016 Mount Rainier Outing

11 letter-size folders with 27 original B&W photoprints, and six B&W RC prints.
1 Over A-V folder with two original B&W photoprints
7 B&W photoprints in Over B-M
1 B&W photoprint in conservation matt in Over C
18 B&W copy negatives

VM1993.017 Mount Saint Helens Outing

2 letter-size folders containing 3 original B&W photographs
9 original B&W photographs in Over B-M
12 B&W copy negatives

William G. Steel Collection

Collection information

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About the collection

This collection consists of images gathered by William Gladstone Steel during the course of his life, with particular emphasis on his association and climbs with the Mazamas. It is probably one of the three most important collections owned by the Mazamas, not only because it documents the early history of the Club, but because it also documents the early climbing and conservation history of the Pacific Northwest.

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Series

The collection is organized into the following ten series:

  1. William Gladstone Steel and Family 
  2. Climbs, Mazamas
  3. Climbs, Oregon Alpine Club
  4. Climbs, Private, Hood, Mount
  5. Climbs and Outings, Steel
  6. Fire Lookouts, Hood, Mount
  7. Mazama Officers 1894 and 1895
  8. Mountains
  9. Oregon Alpine Club Presidents
  10. People

 

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People included

Burford, Richard
Campbell, Prince Lucien
Collins, Mary
Foster, John O.
Haley, Eldon
Hawkins, Leander L.
Hutchinson, Thomas O.
Lewis, Charles C.
McElvain, Ida
Towne, Bertram C.
Towser, climbing dog

Adams, Charles F.
Bass, Daniel Waldo
Breck, John M.
Durham, N.W.
Gorman, Martin W.
Gove, Charles H.
Keene, Dr. J.M.
Knighton, Louis
Marquam, Thomas A.
Steel, William Gladstone
Towne, Bertram C.
Yocum, Oliver Cooper

Corbett, Henry W.
Markle, George B.
Thompson, D.P.

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Extent and medium

49 letter-size folders containing 146 black-and-white photos and 36 color photocopies; 2 black-and-white photos in Over B-M; 131 black-and-white 4x5 copy negatives.

Rodney L. Glisan Collection

Collection information

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About the collection

The collection documents mountain climbing outings, hiking trips, and skiing and snowshoeing trips that Glisan took with the Mazamas and other mountaineering and athletic organizations, as well as personal trips he took on his own and with friends.

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Series

The collection is organized into eight series:

  1. Mazamas Trips
  2. Alpine Club of Canada Trips
  3. Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club Trips
  4. Seattle Mountaineers Trips
  5. Sierra Club Trips
  6. Snowshoe Club Trips
  7. Personal Trips
  8. Other Photographers and Trips
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Scope and content

Glisan made and printed most of the photographs in the first seven series, although he occasionally included images by others. (These instances are noted in the Container List notes.) He had a good eye and often composed his photographs well. He did his own darkroom work, and the quality of his prints varies from sharp and clear to muddy. Unfortunately, the fate of his negative collection is unknown.

Glisan's detailed hour-by-hour and day-by-day journals of most of the trips enhances the documentary value of the photographs.

The collection documents mountain country and mountaineering in some detail from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries in the Northwest, California, and British Columbia. It includes images of people who played important roles in Northwest mountaineering and conservation, including  Ansel Adams, M.W. Gorman, Edmond S. Meany, and John Muir. In addition to climbers and hikers, the photographs also show guides, packers, and camp cooks.

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People included

Among other professional and amateur photographers whose work is represented in the collection are: A.H. Derman, Garda Fogg, J.P. Ford, Alfred Foy, Walter L. Huber, Frank A. Jacobs, Frank I. Jones, Fred Kiser and Kiser Studio photographers, Merl LaVoy of Seattle who accompanied Parker and Brown on their third attempt to climb Mt. McKinley, E.H. Loomis, L. Lovejoy, A.M. Marshall, P.M McGregor, Fred McNeil of the Oregon Journal, L.A. Nelson, Lulie Nettleton, Agnes Streeter, Aubrey Watzek, and George Weister.

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Extent and medium

24 document cases containing 5,152 B&W photographs; 1 Over B folder containing one B&W print; 35 B&W 4x5 copy negatives