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THOMAS W. BENHAM (d. 1914). Photographs; ca. 1880-1890. .65 cu. ft.

Thomas W. Benham was an officer in the United States Revenue Service. In the 1880s, he served on several cutters operating in the North Pacific along the coast of Alaska and in the Bering Sea. The ships were the Thomas Corwin, Oliver Wolcott, Richard Rush, and Bear. During this period he held the rank of Second Lieutenant.

This collection consists of seventy-three photographs primarily relating to Alaska and to the United States Revenue Cutter Service. The collection is divided into photographs of individuals, ships and boats, places, as well as items with conflicting or partial captions. The individuals include officers who served on the Corwin, Rush, and Bear; passengers on the Corwin in 1885; and natives. The pictures of ships and boats include the Revenue Cutters Corwin, Rush, and Bear, and native kayaks and oomiaks. The places include Bogoslov Island, Icy Cape, King Island, Point Barrow, Point Hope, Port Clarence, St. Paul's Island, Siberia, Unalaska, and Wrangell. The remaining pictures include several with captions that conflict significantly with copies in the Michael Healy Collection in the Huntington Library; and photographs which are only partially identified and lack peoples' names and the location. In addition, there is a set of contact prints of all photographs in the collection.

This collection was presented to the archives as a gift by the Key West Art and Historical Society in 1985.

HMC-0069

Photo Credit/Source: Photographer Unknown. It is photo no. 1 in Series A of the Thomas W. Benham Col.

Photograph list:

Box 1

A. Individuals.

U.S. Revenue Marine Officers:
1.
Thomas W. Benham, 2nd Lt. (Photo taken ashore - canvas background. Caption in ink in T.W.B. handwriting. Date is probably 1885.)
2. Thomas W. Benham. 2nd Lt. (Photo taken on ship, probably the Bear, in 1886.)
3. A. L. Broadbent, 1st Asst. Engr. (Photo taken ashore - canvas background. Caption in ink in T.W.B. handwriting. Date is probably 1885.)
4. John C. Cantwell, Lt. (Photo of subject wearing beaded jacket. Caption, in T.W.B. handwriting, includes: "Kowak R. Hotham Inlet.")
5. F. M. Dunwoody, Lt. (Photo taken on ship, probably the Bear, in 1886. Identified from photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20910.)
6. Horace Hassell, 1st Asst. Engr. (Photo taken on ship, probably the Bear, in 1886. Identified from note on left front border: "Hasel.")
7. Johnsen, Quartermaster. (Photo taken on ship, probably the Bear, in 1886. Identified from photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20912, and from barely legible caption on left side of picture.)
8. C. D. Kennedy, 3rd Lt. (Photo taken on ship, probably the Bear, in 1886. Identified from barely legible caption on left side of picture.)
9. S. B. McLenegan, 2nd Asst. Engr. (He is wearing a beaded jacket. Caption in T.W.B. handwriting include: "Noatuk Riv, Hotham Inlet.")
10. Yeamans, Dr. (Photo taken ashore - canvas background. Caption in T.W.B. handwriting. Date is probably 1885.)

Corwin Passengers:
11.
Henry T. Allen, 2nd Lt. (Subject is wearing beaded jacket. Photo taken ashore - canvas background. Caption in ink in T.W.B. handwriting. Date is 1885. Photo is also in F. W. Fickett Col.)
12. Sir John Watts McGarland. (Photo is taken ashore - canvas background. Caption in ink and pencil is "McGarland". Capt. M. A. Healy's report of the 1885 voyage mentions transporting two English tourists from St. Michael including a Mr. McGarland. Lt. Allen's diary mentions the presence of a Sir John Watts McGarland on the trip. Photo is also in the F.W. Fickett Col.)
13. Unidentified man sleeping in a cabin. Caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting is "Hassel's Boots.")

Natives:
14. Tar-Ta Rok. (Identified by label in the M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20916.)
15. Kowak River Native. 2 copies. (The photographer is Lt. C.D. Kennedy. Picture identified by label in the M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20915. Handwritten label is illegible. Note on the reverse of one copy states: "This old man put his head in the instrument and Lieut. Kennedy pulled the string quickly and here is the result.")

B. Ships and Boats.

U.S. Revenue Marine Ships:
1.
U.S.R.C. Richard Rush in Sitka Harbor. ca. 1880-1885. (The photographer was Edward de Groff. The Rush was a sister ship of the Thomas Corwin.)
2. U.S.R.C. Richard Rush on her departure January 2, 1886, in search of the Amethyst.
(I. W. Taber Photograph No. 1374.)
3. U.S.R.C. Thomas Corwin; ca. 1885. (Note: The Corwin occasionally had two spars on the foremost and two long boats per side while the Richard Rush carried three of each.)
4. U.S.R.C. Bear with Steam launch. (I. W. Taber Photograph. Handwritten label by T.W.B.: "Northward Ho. U. S. Rev Stmr Bear' bound out.")
5. U.S.R.C. Bear in the Bering Sea ice off Cape ______.
6. U.S.R.C. Bear. (Caption reads "On the Bear". View is of an officer near a smoke stack which is behind a mast with four sails.)
7. U.S.R.C. Richard Rush (or Thomas Corwin). (An I. W. Taber Photograph. Caption is: "Porpoise caught on the U.S. Rev. Stmr. Rush". Corwin is scratched out.)
8. "Coal Seam", Bringing of Coal in Corwin's Boats. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I.W. Taber Photograph No. 63.)

Non-Government Ships:
9.
Whaling Bark John Carver in the ice - Bering Sea. (Photo caption is "Whaling Bark" in T.W.B.'s handwriting. Identification from photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20861.)
10. Steam Whaler "Lucretia" in Arctic Ocean. August, 1887. (Photo caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting gives place as Pt. Barrow and date. Photo in M. A. Heal Col., HL, No. 20904, states place is Indian Point, Siberia.)
11. Whaling Bark. (Photo caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting provides title.)
12. Schooner San Jose in the ice - Bering Sea. (Photo caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting has title "Sch San Jose off C. Behring, fast". Photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20860, has caption: "Trading Schooner 'San Jose' in the ice - Behring Sea.")
13. Steam Whalers off Cape Lisbourne. (Title is from caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting.)
14. Native Kayak. (Part of caption is illegible - except "Kyack". Title is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20883).
15. Four Native Kayaks. (Part of caption is illegible except "Natives". Photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, is No. 20334.)
16. Oomiak - Arctic Ocean. (Caption is in T.W.B.'s handwriting. Caption in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20885, is "Indian Oomiak.")
17. Rendezvons, Natives alongside the "Bear". Hotham, I. (Caption at bottom is in T.W.B 's handwriting, at side is partially illegible - "Stoney ______ ______." Photo caption in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20887, is "Native boats alongside Rev. Cutter Bear").
18. Indian Oomiak. (Title is from photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20918. Caption is partially illegible - "Cape _______.")

Box 2

C. Places

Bogoslov Island:
1.
Bogoslov Island, New End, bearing N.W.xN. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 13.)
2. Bogoslov Island, New End, bearing N.W.xN. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 16. Caption in handwriting is: "This Island was thrown up 1880.")

Icy Cape:
1.
Indian Keshagen (Dance-House) at Icy Cape, Alaska. (Caption is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20899.)
2. Midnight Scene off Icy Cape - Arctic Ocean. (Photo caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting.)

Kings Island:
1.
Kings Island Houses. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 42.)

Point Barrow:
1.
Natives of Point Barrow. (Photographer is probably A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 65.)
2. Ice berg 70 ft. high. Pt. Barrow. Arctic Ocean. (Handwriting at bottom is by T.W.B.; other handwriting is similar to that on back of A-15 and 16. Photo in M. A. Healy Col., HL, is No. 20902.)
3. Point Barrow Women - Alaska. (Photo identified from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20877.)

Point Hope:
1.
Native House at Point Hope - Alaska. (Photo identified from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20892.)

Port Clarence:
1.
Group of Women at Port Clarence. (I. W. Taber Photograph No. 45.)

St. Paul's Island:
1.
St. Paul's Island. Seal on killing ground. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 78.)
2. St. Paul's Island. Filling fur seal. (I. W. Taber Photograph No. 79.)
3. St. Paul's Island. Fur seal rookery. (Title is from caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting.)
4. St. Paul's Island. Seal rookery. (Title is from caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting.)

Siberia:
1.
Native Men, East Cape, Siberia. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 55. In M. A. Healy Col., HL, it is No. 21003.)
2. Native Women, East Cape, Siberia. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 56. In M. A. Healy Col., HL, it is No. 21004.)
3. View in Senavine Straits, Siberia, July 12, 1885. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. An I. W. Taber Photograph No. 57.)
4. Indian Trading Party on the Ice, East Cape, Siberia. (Caption in collection is Esquimaux (?) - on the Ice - East Cape, Siberia.)

Unalaska (Ounalaska):
1.
Ounalaska from Grave Yard. (I. W Taber Photograph No. 7.)
2. Pyramid Mountain, Ounalaska. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 9.)
3. Barabara and Woman. Ounalaska. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 10.)
4. Waterfall, Ounalaska. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 11.)
5. Ounalaska. (Photographer is A.L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph No. 43.)
6. Expedition Island, Ounalaska. (Photographer is A. L. Broadbent. I. W. Taber Photograph; number is not readable.)
7. Ounalaska, before 1885. (The date is based on the fact that the Church of the Holy Ascension was remodeled in 1885.)
8. Barabara, Ounalaska. (Title is based on caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting.)

Wrangell:
1.
Wrangell, Alaska. (Title in T.W.B.'s handwriting is Port Wrangell, Alaska.)

D. Conflicting Titles.
1. Indian Summer Rendezvous at Shishalik, Kotzebue Sound - Alaska. (Caption is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20889. Caption in collection is "Village, Pt. Hope" This is probably incorrect.)
2. Natives at Shishalik - Kotzebue Sound - Alaska. (Caption is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20893. Caption in collection is "Esquimaux, Icy Cape.") Note: Man in A-15 is in this photograph.
3. Indian Trading Camp near St. Michael's - Alaska. (Caption is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20881. Caption in collection is "Stoney's Camp - Hotham Inlet.")
4. Indian Village near St. Michael's - Alaska. (Caption is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20330. Caption in collection is "Stoneys Station ________ _______.")
5. Russian Orthodox Church Building at St. Michael's. (Building is in photo of St. Michael's in F. W. Fickett Col. Caption in this collection is "Mr. Wolfe's Station at C. Lisbourne" That is incorrect.)
6. Natives on the Bear. (Caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting gives location as "off Icy Cape". Caption in M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20876, is "Natives of East Cape, Siberia.")
7. Native Houses at East Cape, Siberia. (Caption in T.W.B.'s handwriting is "Summer Camp - Pt. Barrow". The label is based on a comparison of pictures in M. A. Healy Col., HL. It is probably correct.)
8. Native House at Indian Point, Siberia. (Caption is illegible but includes "Icy Cape". The label is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20874. It is probably correct.)

E. Partially Identified.

1. Esquimo Dogs and Sledge. (A. L. Broadbent is the photographer. I. W. Taber Photograph, No. 71. Copy is in the F. W. Fickett Col.)
2. Group of Men by Ocean. (Photo shows sixteen men and three dogs standing by wind gauge. Two of the men are natives; one of the natives is the man in photo A-14. Caption is illegible except for last word "Inlet.")
3. Carrying a Pig over the ice. (Caption is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20921.)
4. Collection of Indian Pipes. (Title is from M. A. Healy Col., HL, No. 20919. Caption on photo in T.W.B.'s handwriting is "Specimens of Pipes.")

Box 3

Contact Prints and Negatives of Series A-E.