Camera Workers, 1858-1950

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

Pillsbury Arthur Clarence

Pillsbury Arthur Clarence[1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

Male 1870 - 1946  (75 years)

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  • Name Pillsbury Arthur Clarence 
    Birth 9 Oct 1870  Medford, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [11
    Gender Male 
    Business Address/Year Palo Alto, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Palo Alto, CA
    Business Address/Year 1906?  Washington (State) Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Business Address/Year 1898-1899  Yukon Territory Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 24 Apr 1899  Discovery Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Also known as Pine City. 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 3 Oct 1899  Nome, AK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Business Address/Year 1900  Skagway, AK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Skagway, AK
    Business Address/Year 1898-1900  Wrangel, AK Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Wrangel, AK
    Business Address/Year 1902  Los Angeles, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    214 South Broadway
    Los Angeles, CA
    • Los Angeles City Directory, 1902, p. 1671.
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1904  Yoho National Park, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Jan 5, 1907 U.S. copyrighted panoramic photo. Pillsbury Picture Co., no. 1514. Photo dated 1904.
    Business Address/Year 1914  Yosemite National Park, CA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Yosemite Valley, CA
    Death 5 Mar 1946  CA Find all individuals with events at this location  [11
    Age: 75 
    Alameda County
    Association A.C. Pillsbury Company (Relationship: Owner) 
    Association Pillsbury and Cleveland (Relationship: Partner) 
    Association Alaska View & Photo Co. (Relationship: Owner) 
    Association A.C. Pillsbury Company (Relationship: Proprietor) 
    Person ID I313  Camera Workers | P, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 24 Jul 2023 

  • Documents
    A.C. Pillsbury portrait, 1924.
    A.C. Pillsbury portrait, 1924.
    This caricature by Ralph O. Yardley accompanied a biographical sketch by G.E. Reynolds published in the Stockton Evening and Sunday Record on 24 May 1924.

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Commercial.
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: With a background in mechanical engineer, among his inventions was his own camera for creating panoramic photographs. He used the camera to good effect when he worked in the Alaska and Yukon Territory gold camps during the Klondike gold rush. He also operated in partnership with V. Cleveland as Pillsbury and Cleveland. A photograph of Discovery is dated 24 Apr 1899. Adney reproduces a Pillsbury and Cleveland photo taken at Nome on 3 Oct 1899. Pillsbury worked under the name Alaska View and Photo Co. in Skagway in 1900. He also used the business name A.C. Pillsbury Company and Pillsbury Picture Company (US Copyright Office registration, Jan 1907). He is listed as a Yosemite Valley photographer in the 1914 Mariposa County, CA, voting list.

      His granddaughter, Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, started the Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation to memorialize his life.
    • FORMATS: Panoramic (Yoho National Park).
    • IDENTIFYING MARKS: "A C Pillsbury Photographer Alaskan Scenic Views Headquarters at Wrangel Branch of Juneau, Skaguay & Sitka" on verso of print; prints may be numbered, captioned and bear the initials "A.C.P.".

  • Sources 
    1. [S147] COLLECTION: LOC.
      Panoramic Photographs collection.

    2. [S630] COLLECTION: Private collection.

    3. [S631] Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation (Web site), (Melinda Pillsbury-Foster).
      The blog entry titled "1897 - Gold Rush in the Yukon" ( includes a numbered, captioned photograph with the initials "A.C.P.".

    4. [S632] Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, A.C. Pillsbury Image Catalogs (Web site), (Melinda Pillsbury-Foster).

    5. [S176] Adney, Tappan, Adney (1900), (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1900), 461.
      Rocking Gold at Cape Nome, Oct. 3, 1899 [Photograph by Pillsbury & Cleveland]

    6. [S414] Steven D. Harrison, Harrison (1980), (Alaska Journal 10, no. 4 (Autumn 1980):48-53).

    7. [S181] Library of Congress, American Memory, LOC: Panoramic Photographs, (Washington, D.C.: American Memory, Library of Congress).

    8. [S633] BVIPA VR Photographer File.

    9. [S635] Fort Wayne News (Indiana), 22 Sep 1899.


      Thrilling Adventures of an Artist

      In Alaska




      A Cold Swim to ? Being Crushed Between Walls of Ice ? Dodging and Avalanche and Hanging to a Glacier in Midair.

      Of all the tales of almost miraculous escapes from instant death that have come from Alaska this year the experiences of Arthur Pillsbury are the most thrilling, says the San Francisco Call.

      Pillsbury is the Stanford student who went on a photographing tour through unknown parts of the new gold region last year and brought back a large number of wonderful views. This year young Pillsbury returned to Alaska and was appointed by the United States government to make a series of panoramic views of the coast and the banks of the Yukon. Pillsbury has only been on this work a few weeks, but has already had a number of adventures.
      I suffered more on the White Pass than I did at any other time during all my stay in Alaska. Student Pillsbury writes to his brother, Dr. Pillsbury of San Francisco. I had to go into the Atlin country to get some views before the snow was all gone and the bicycle was the only way to make the trip.

      I made the trip over the pass and got my views alright, but it was when I started back that I got into trouble. I left the settlement at the foot of the pass early in the morning, and, from all indications, the weather was going to be fine. The air was clear and bracing and not too cold. But you can?t tell what is going to happen in Alaska.

      Before I was half way up the pass there was a sudden change, and I came near making up my mind to go back. The air got cold, and a light fog came in from the sea. My better judgment told me to go back, but the thought that my journey would be ended if I got over on the other side urged me on.

      When near the summit, it commenced to snow, and the wind blew a hurricane. Then I wished I had gone back, but it was not out of the question. All I could do was to find a place somewhat sheltered from the wind and crawl into it.

      When I was as comfortable as could be expected under the circumstances which was not very comfortable. I put my hand in my pocket for my lunch, but it was not there. I suppose it must have fallen out on the road when I was bucking against the blizzard.

      Then my sufferings commenced.

      I tucked the blankets as tightly around me as possible, but could not keep out the snow. I got as cold as ice and got up and ran about in the effort to keep warm, but it was all no use. So I crawled back into the blankets and shivered. All night I lay there almost numb with cold. The wind blew harder and harder, and the darkness was intense. I began to wonder if I would ever see San Francisco again, and the sufferings of hunger almost drove me crazy. But the longest night always comes to an end even if it did seem to some of us like an eternity. Toward morning the wind went down and when the sun rose the air was clear and cold. With difficulty I arose and stood on my feet. I was so stiff I could scarcely move and in the effort to get on my wheel took a severe tumble. But it did me good by shaking me up and got me in condition to ride. The road was fine and all down hill, and it didn?t take me long to strike a place where I got warm and something to eat. Then I was ready for another tussle with the elements.

      My experience on the glacier was most terrifying and frightened me considerably, but otherwise did no harm.

      I had been working on a point that to all appearances was as solid as a rock, and so it was for the time being. I cut my picture done and had my camera over my shoulder, ready to go down to the boat that was tied up a few hundred feet below.

      Suddenly I felt a tremble in the glacier and instinctively stepped back from the edge. The tremble became more and more violent, and I went on a run for a big rough spot that looked solid, but I was too late. Just as I was about to step on it the ice under me gave way. I clutched at anything I could reach and soon found myself hanging in the air with one hand tight on a projecting piece of ice.

      Beneath me tons and tons of ice went thundering into the sea, several hundred feet below. Then the portion of the glacier to which I was hanging shifted its position and turned so that I could climb up to a safe place, but it was a narrow escape.

      The next day I was working in the same neighborhood and had occasion to row through a canal between two ice-burgs. I had rowed through the same place before and never thought of danger. On this occasion, when I was about half way through, I was horrified to see the two walls of ice slowly coming together. My Indian helper got dreadfully excited, and it was all that I could do to make him sit in the boat and pull at the oars. As we worked along, each second seeming like a year, the icy walls got closer and closer together. Soon the walls were so near we could not use our oars and had to take them out of the rowlocks and use them as paddles.

      It was not more than 100 feet to open water, but it seemed unreachable as we struggled madly ipt [out?] the canal. Now it was 50 feet, and the sides were so close together we could barely paddle, but forced our boat along pushing on the walls of ice.

      When the entrance was only ten feet off, the ice walls touched against the sides of the boat and behind us the way was blocked.

      With one good shove we sent the boat flying ahead, but not quite fast enough for the end was caught between the two icebergs and crushed to splinters. Of course my Indian helper and myself both jumped into the icy water and had a long swim to find a place where you could climb out.
      Transcribed by Melina Pillsbury-Foster and Web-published at

    10. [S692] Correspondence, David Mattison, 24 Aug 1985, from James de T. Abajian.

    11. [S358] Vitalsearch Company Worldewide, Vitalsearch Company, California Deaths DB (Web site), (Pleasanton, CA: Vitalsearch Company Worldewide, Inc.).