Camera Workers, 1858-1950

The British Columbia, Alaska and Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950

Curtis, Asahel[1, 2]

Male 1874 - 1941  (66 years)


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Curtis, Asahel 
    Born 5 Nov 1874  Le Sueur County, MN Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Gender Male 
    Business Address/Year 1895-1898  Seattle, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1898  Dawson, YT Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Business Address/Year 1898-1900  Alaska Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1897-1931  BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Visits to various locations 
    Business Address/Year 1900-1941  Seattle, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 7 Mar 1941  Seattle, WA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Association Curtis, Edward Sheriff (Relationship: Brother ) 
    Person ID I513  Camera Workers | C, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 15 Feb 2017 

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Commercial.
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: Asahel received his initial training from his older, more famous brother E.S. Curtis and was first employed by him beginning about 1895. Edward assigned him to cover developments in the Yukon in 1897. Asahel left Seattle on the Rosalie just before the new year began and carried a year's worth of supplies along with 3,000 glass negatives. An article in Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine (Mar 1898) by E.S. Curtis is illustrated with his younger brother's photographs, but credited to the elder Curtis. This caused a permanent rift between the brothers and Asahel had a difficult time recovering the negatives.

      The Klondike Nugget reported his arrival in Dawson in late Jun 1897, noting that "Mr. Curtis is a photographer, taking views and writing sketches for the Alaska News Syndicate of Seattle." Asahel stationed himself in Alaska until 1900 when he returned to Seattle. His photographs, though not as well known as E.A. Hegg's, capture equally well the grim determination of the goldseekers.

      Like his more famous older brother Edward, he attempted to document the lives of the Indians in the Washington, but in a more realistic fashion than that practiced by Edward. Asahel visited BC on several occasions. Among the sights he photographed in BC were bays, bridges, canyons, cities, lakes, mountains, Princess Louisa Inlet, rivers, valleys, waterfalls and waterways (according to a list of subject headings in Frederick and Engerman).

      Asahel Curtis' later work as an industrial and publicity photographer based in Seattle until his death serves as one of the most important visual records of the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia.
    • IDENTIFYING MARKS: print surface usually numbered, captioned, dated and marked "Curtis" or "Asahel Curtis".
    • REFERENCES: Klondike Nugget, 1898 06 28/4 ("Personal"); Bronson and Reinhardt (1977 port. with camera p.79); Cohen (1977); Goetzmann and Sloan (1982); Frederick (1983); Frederick and Engerman (1983); Davis (1985); Mattison (1997a); Washington State Historical Society, Golden Dreams; Washington State Historical Society, Northwest Imagery; University of Washington Libraries, Asahel Curtis Photo Company Collection; University of Washington Libraries, Guide to the Asahel Curtis Papers, 1898, 1908-1941.

  • Sources 
    1. [S169] COLLECTION: UWL.
      Prints

    2. [S172] COLLECTION: WSHS.
      Glass negatives and prints

    3. [S667] FamilySearch.org (Web site), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918"; URL (accessed 14 Feb 2017): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QJDG-4JY2

    4. [S667] FamilySearch.org (Web site), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
      "Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960"; URL (accessed 14 Feb 2017): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3RN-KZ6