55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
94118
415.379.8000
Regular Hours:

Daily

9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday

11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:

Tuesday

8:30 – 9:30 am

Sunday

10:00 – 11:00 am
Closures
Notices

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 4/24. We apologize for any inconvenience.

From the Stacks 

March 7, 2012

1906 Rixford Earthquake Photos

We recently digitized a series of photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake from our Rixford collection for our upcoming Earthquake exhibit premiere party.

We scanned the Rixford photos because images were needed for the tickets and web site for the Earthquake Premiere Party. Only nine photos were requested for those purposes, but since the images were so compelling we decided to scan the entire collection of twenty.

Downtown San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake

Gulian Pickering Rixford (1838-1930) was a major figure in early California agriculture, responsible for introducing the pistachio and Smyrna fig growing industries to the state. He served the California Academy of Sciences in many capacities, including Director of the Museum. He was the Librarian of the Academy at the time of his death in a train accident at the age of 92.

Downtown San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake

The 1906 earthquake photographs are 5×7 glass plate negatives, which present a host of scanning challenges. Fortunately we also have a set of modern contact prints that we were able to digitize instead.

Spreckels Bandshell in Golden Gate Park

Most of the photos capture the destruction of downtown San Francisco, including landmarks like the St. Francis and Fairmont hotels. However, the collection also includes images of Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, and the Marina District, then home to a few frame houses and a now vanished creek.

The Marina District of San Francisco

A benefit of working with huge negatives is the wealth of detail visible in these images. One notable detail is the small military prison on Alcatraz Island, since construction of the large cell-blocks didn’t begin until 1909.

Closeup detail of military barracks on Alcatraz Island

The Academy’s G. Rixford collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, and materials related to early California agriculture.

- Kelly Jensen
Library Assistant


Filed under: Archives,Photography — Archives & Special Collections @ 3:33 pm

2 Comments »

  1. I have literally just uncovered many many glass plate negatives of the earthquake and fires. Some of them are colored. I am going to be selling them. If your organization would have any interest please let me know.
    Jim Barnard
    651 695-9755

    Comment by Jim Barnard — April 10, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  2. We found glass plate photos of the Earthquake and fire also. Can you recommend a reputable printer to print off of these plates? Are you interested in these plates or know who might be interested in them?
    Thank you, Kim

    Comment by Kim Kelly — March 23, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Library Contact Info

   

For general inquiries about the Academy Library please contact:

Library Reference
415-379-5484
library@calacademy.org

Visit Library homepage »

Chat live with a Librarian »

Academy Blogroll