Camera Workers, 1858-1950

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

La Roche, Frank[1]

Male 1853 - 1936  (82 years)

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  • Name La Roche, Frank 
    Born 20 Jun 1853  Philadelphia, PA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Where Active (Non-Specific Address) 1897 08-1898; 1901  Chilkoot Pass Trail; Bennett; Yukon Territory; Alaska Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Alaska visit, 1901 
    Business Address/Year 1888-ca. 1914  Seattle, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Business Address/Year ca. 1914-ca. 1928  Sedro-Wooley, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 15 Apr 1936  Sedro Woolley, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I720  Camera Workers | L, vol. 1, 1858-1900
    Last Modified 31 Dec 2016 

  • Notes 
    • STATUS: Commercial (visit).
    • BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY: A prolific landscape photographer, he reputedly made over 100 round trips to Alaska. His only trip into the Yukon interior was in the late summer and fall 1897. Although photohistorian Marnie C. Coleman suggests La Roche left before winter, the images themselves reveal he likely travelled out after the Yukon River ice broke up in 1898. There are several winter scenes which Coleman must have missed that could not have been taken after 1898 since the book was published that year in serial form (six parts) as well as in a single edition the same year. Since there is no evidence La Roche went to the Klondike any earlier than 1897, it seems obvious that he wintered there, probably at Dawson. He may also have travelled the surrounding countryside by dogsled and reached the Bering Sea by the time the water there was open for ocean navigation.

      While E.A. Hegg received much attention from modern writers, La Roche views of the trails and settlements were equally impressive, as were those of another Seattle competitor, Asahel Curtis. Views from his summer 1897 journey were copyrighted that year and published in an 1898 souvenir album, one of the earliest printed works to depict the harrowing trip faced by the gold-hungry hordes. Only Veazie Wilson's 1897 pictorial album documenting the same route appears to be earlier.

      La Roche was also an important portrait photographer.
    • IDENTIFYING MARKS: print surface usually numbered, captioned and marked "Copyright, 1897, La Roche, Seattle, Wash."
    • REFERENCES: La Roche (1898); Seattle Mail & Herald, 1901 04 20/4 ("planned several trips into Alaska again this year"); Cohen (1977 calls him Henry LaRoche); Coleman (1995); Telephone conversation, University of Washington Library, Special Collections, 1985 01 31; University of Washington Libraries, Frank La Roche Photograph Collection.

  • Sources 
    1. [S169] COLLECTION: UWL.
      Photograph Collection 283 (negatives and prints).