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John L. Johnsen Photograph Collection, ca. 1932-34

Identifier: PCA 361

Scope and Contents

Taku Harbor Cannery, operations, pile driving, ca. 1930s.


  • ca. 1932-34

Conditions Governing Access

The photographs are available for viewing. However, the images may not be photocopied.

Conditions Governing Use

Request for permission to publish or reproduce the material from the collection should be discussed with the Librarian.

Biographical / Historical

Johnsen worked at the Libby McNeill Cannery in Taku Harbor as a fireman, pile driver, watched traps and was a deckhand on cannery tender between 1932-34. A man named Tom who was bookkeeper and storekeeper in Taku Harbor took the photos of the Taku Harbor fire. Other views were taken by a crewmember who worked in Taku Harbor. The collection includes images of the Taku Cannery fire on May 9 and 10, 1932, pile-driving and daily activities at the cannery.

Johnsen writes,

“After the fire, Skinner and Eddy had an idle cannery at Kake, southeast end of Frederick Sound. Libby operated Kake until Taku Harbor cannery was rebuilt. … The kings [salmon] were caught in a pile trap at Cape Bendal, north of Kake [Alaska] size 45 to 50 lbs. per fish. They were then salted in large Hog’s head barrels and shipped to England...also hand packed. The Chinese and Native Alaskan Indians packed in half tins. The Finnish [?] fishermen were the people who made the wire mesh for the traps on the Webb Dock. Also, the nets for the traps, [were] for the spiller where the fish was brailed. The Finnish fisherman also fished Taku River for the Taku Cannery.”


182 items : 167 photographs, black and white ; 15 menus

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

John L. Johnsen donated this collection in June 1995. (Acc. No. 1995-33.)

Processing Information

The photos have been numbered and placed in Mylar sleeves. A subject-level inventory is available.

John L. Johnsen Photograph Collection, ca. 1932-34
In Progress
Processed: by Ellen FitzGerald and India Spartz 1995 ; ArchivesSpace finding aid by: Sandy Johnston
2019 June
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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)