Ca. spring-summer 1906. Seventy-nine loose gelatin silver photos, including six larger ones, ca. 15,5x20,5 cm (6 ¼ x 8 in), fifteen images from ca. 12,5x17 cm (5 x 6 ½ in) to ca. 10,5x15 cm (4 ¼ x 6 in), two panoramas ca. 7,5x16,5 cm (3 x 6 ½ in) and 56 smaller photos from ca. 10x12 cm (4 x 4 ¾ in) to ca. 8x8 cm (3 ¼ x 3 ¼ in). Five photos numbered in negative, ca. eighteen with period ink-stamped numbers on verso. Three larger photos with period pencil captions on verso. All photos were previously removed from an album and bear black residue of the album leaves on verso; all have later pencil notes and captions on verso, identifying the photographer or locations. With 18 loose gelatin silver photos of family and friends, ca. 1900s-1910s, from ca. 11x16,5 cm (4 ¼ x 6 ½ in) to ca. 5,5x5,5 cm (2x2 in). With a commemorative issue of the “San Francisco Examiner” and three clippings from Californian newspapers, dated 1972, 1975 and 1976 (see the detailed descriptions below). A couple of photos mildly faded or with mild silvering, occasional minor creases, but overall a very good collection of strong rare photos.
Historically significant extensive collection of rare original photos of San Francisco, taken shortly after the infamous earthquake and fire on April 18, 1906. The photos are by Oakland photographer Thomas Bullock and were largely unknown until the 1950s, when they were used as illustrations to the article of a noted Californian seismologist Hugo Benioff “Earthquakes – where they come from, why they occur, and what their effects are” (Engineering and Science, vol. 17, No. 2, Nov. 1953, pp. 13-18). The article reproduced four of Bullock’s photos, supplementing them with the following note: “These pictures of the great earthquake which struck San Francisco at 5:14 a.m. on April 18, 1906 were taken by Thomas F. Bullock, an Oakland photographer. Filed away for years [italics added], they were brought in to the San Francisco Chronicle this spring – on the 47th anniversary of the quake – by Mr. Bullock’s daughter, Mrs. Mildred Lindquist [1898-1975, who was about 6 at the time of the earthquake]. Though these are only a few samples of almost 100 pictures taken by Mr. Bullock, they gave an indelible impression of this historic earthquake” (p. 16). Twenty years later, some more of Bullock’s photos were reproduced in the California newspaper “Tri-Valley Herald and News” (25 April 1972 and 18 April 1976), this time on the initiative of Mildred Lindquist’s daughter (and Bullock’s granddaughter) Elizabeth A. Patrick (b. 1920 - ?). The editor’s note stated that “the pictures on this page were take about a week after the quake. They have never been published before [italics added].” The newspaper also provided more details on how Bullock took the photos: “Mrs. Patrick’s mother accompanied her father on some of his trips to San Francisco to photograph the disaster. He used an Eastman View camera, she said, with a wooden tripod, “and he carried all of his equipment in what looked like a big suitcase. He walked many miles taking these films and carrying all of his equipment” (Unpublished photos recall 1906 quake// Herald & News (Dublin, Livermore & San Ramon, Calif.) Tuesday, April 25, 1972. P. 4). A small exhibition of Bullock’s photos was held in the historical Mutual Savings Bank building (700 Market St.) in the Financial District of San Francisco in April 1986 (San Francisco Solo Shows// Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California). 13 April 1986, p. 92). Apart from that, we haven’t found any mentions or publications of Bullock’ photos, or any holdings in public libraries and collections. Apparently, he was active in Oakland in ca. 1900s-1930s; newspaper notice informed of him purchasing Holston photography studio in 1933 (Business Changes// Oakland Tribune, 5 February 1933, p. 23).
The photos include general and close-up views of the burned San Francisco downtown core; residential neighbourhoods damaged by the earthquake; and tent camps for refugees (in Golden Gate or Presidio Parks). The condition of the city shown in the images presumes that they were taken not long after the disaster: the fires are gone, but the streets still have a lot of rumble and debris on the sides. A couple of photos show downtown streets with restored streetcar lines and busy traffic. The pictures often feature San Francisco residents – walking around, lining up for food or clothing, posing for the camera &c., and armed militiamen. One photo apparently portrays Bullock himself, holding a camera. The same horse-driven cart presents in several images. The locations of most photos were identified in pencil on verso by a previous owner. Among them: Old City Hall; Hall of Justice; Fairmont Hotel; Palace Hotel; Leland Stanford’s mansion (?); Marcus Koshland Mansion; Lotta’s Fountain (Kearny & Market Sts.); Temple Emanu-El (Sutter & Stockton); Temple of Congregation Beth Israel; Central Theatre; Emporium; Call/Speckles Bldg. (Market & Third); Native Son’s Monument; James Flood Bldg.; Market St.; Mission Dolores; U.S. Post Office; Grace Church; St. Dominic’s Church; Sweeney’s Observatory on top of Strawberry Hill, Golden Gate Park; “The Mrs. Crocker Camp” (Union Sq.); “Red Cross tent;” and others. Our collection includes one photo, very similar and certainly taken at the same time as one of the images from Hugo Benioff’s article (a damaged private house on Howard Street), and a photo of a tent camp, very similar to the ones reproduced in the abovementioned California newspapers.
The collection also includes three large photos, depicting the earthquake destruction in Santa Rosa. The images show the area of modern-day Old Courthouse Square: the Fourth St. with the furniture store of Hattie, McKinney & Titus on the right and collapsed Courthouse in the background, and Hinton Avenue with the teams clearing the ruins of the Grand Hotel. Period pencil notes on verso attribute the authorship to “Ross Photo” or John Ross, a pioneer photographer of Santa Rosa (fl. ca. 1900s-1920s). The same photos can be found in the collections of Sonoma County Library: https://digital.sonomalibrary.org/documents/detail/70179; https://digital.sonomalibrary.org/documents/detail/70017.
Eighteen private photos, apparently also taken by Thomas Bullock, show family and friends, Stow Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, a ferris wheel (apparently, at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis), a mansion, &c. There are also three large non-identified images of a coastal town, a trestle bridge and a waterfall. Overall an important extensive collection of rare, largely unpublished original photos of San Francisco, taken shortly after the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906.
A list of newspaper articles:
1) Unpublished photos recall 1906 quake// Herald & News (Dublin, Livermore & San Ramon, Calif.) Tuesday, April 25, 1972. P. 4. “The pictures on this page were take about a week after the quake. They have never been published before and are done so through the courtesy of Mrs. Richard E. Patrick of Livermore, whore grandfather, Thomas F. Bullock, Oakland photographer, recorded the scenes. <…> Mrs. Patrick’s mother accompanied her father on some of his trips to San Francisco to photograph the disaster. He used an Eastman View camera, she said, with a wooden tripod, “and he carried all of his equipment in what looked like a big suitcase. He walked many miles taking these films and carrying all of his equipment”” (reproduces seven of Bullock’s photos).
2) The Quake. Memories of 1906// San Francisco Examiner. April 18, 1975. P. 4.
3) [Commemorative Issue]: April 18, 1906. Historic photos of a dying city// San Francisco Examiner. 18 April 1975. 8 pp.
4) Java, J. “The Earth shook and the sky burned.” The day San Francisco fell// Tri-Valley Herald (Dublin, Livermore & San Ramon, Calif.) Sunday, April 18, 1976. P. 17. “Photographs of the San Francisco earthquake are reproduced through the courtesy of Elizabeth A. Patrick from original plates by Thomas Fontaine Bullock” (reproduces four of Bullock’s original photographs).
Price: $5,250.00 USD