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U.S. Revenue Cutter Service Photograph Collection, 1905, 1920s

Identifier: PCA 79

Scope and Contents

These views of the trip made by the Revenue Cutter Bear in 1905 were located in the Alaska State Museum. Copy negatives have been made for 86 views selected from the 204, for their content and reproduction quality. Also, there were several views of some subjects, and the best were reproduced. Views not copied included: 23-Southeast Alaska; 13-Aleutian Islands; 10-Nome area; 14-Siberia and other miscellaneous.

In July 1980, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Choate of Central, Alaska, donated views #87-130. The photos are from an album and record the voyage of the U.S.S. Bear from 1922 and 1923 as well as scenes from other ships. The album also includes miscellaneous views of people and towns in Alaska, Siberia and the Pacific Northwest.


  • 1905, 1920s



Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available for viewing, however; the photographs may not be photocopied.

Conditions Governing Use

Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be discussed with the Librarian. Photocopying does not constitute permission to publish.


The barkentine Bear (190.4 ft. long) built in Scotland in 1873 was purchased by the U.S. Government in 1884 for the Greely Relief Expedition. Transferred in 1885 to the Revenue Service, she was active in Alaska waters from 1886-1924. From her home port in San Francisco, the Revenue Cutter Bear usually made annual trips to Alaska with many ports of call and served on the Bering Sea Patrol for protection of the seal fisheries.

In 1905 the Bear, under Captain O.C. Hamlet visited Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, Nome, Teller, Diomede Island, St. Lawrence Island, Siberia, Kivalina, Kodiak, Sitka and other locations. A letter by Captain Hamlet on this trip describes the diversity of duty including transport of law officers to handle legal matters, school officials to inspect buildings and reindeer herds, carrying passengers, investigating complaints, landing mail, etc.* One of the passengers was an Eskimo man looking for a wife.

In 1944 the Bear was decommissioned, sold in 1948, and sank in 1963 while under tow.

*Reference: Bixby, William. TRACK OF THE BEAR, N,Y., David McKay Co., 1965. (Letter, p. 194-199.)


130 Photographic Prints : 4 folders

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Photographs #1-86 were donated July 1963 to Edward Keithahn, curator of the Alaska State Museum, by Harry P. Gotchel via Senator Bob Bartlett. Photographs # 87-130 were donated July 11, 1980 by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Choate via Patricia Oakes.

Existence and Location of Originals

INVENTORY OF ORIGINAL NEGATIVES Negatives stored in freezer in Archives vault

2 Boxes Box 1: 1-86 Box 2: Negatives that have not been copied/printed. See Scope and Contents Note for more information.

Existence and Location of Copies

Photographs digitized and available for viewing via Alaska's Digital Archives: 002-005, 007-009, 012, 019, 024, 057, 062-063, 066, 078, 080-081, 087-089, 091-096, 104-107, 115, 117, 121, 123, 125-127, 129


INVENTORY OF EMPTY NEGATIVE SLEEVES Sleeves stored in file cabinet in vault

1 Envelope 15 empty negative sleeves with descriptive information written on them.

Processing Information

The photographs were numbered, placed in Mylar, and put into acid free folders. The folders were put into an archival box. A finding aid is available.

Finding aid for the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service Photograph Collection, 1905, 1920s
In Progress
Processed by: Staff ; Updated by Jacki Swearingen, July 2013 ; ArchivesSpace finding aid by: Sandy Johnston 2019 June ; Inventory added by: Sandy Johnston
2020 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Alaska State Library - Historical Collections Finding Aids Repository

PO Box 110571
Juneau AK 99811-0571 US
907-465-2151 (Fax)