|A photograph on glossy printing-out paper showing the interior of a bar in Skagway, Alaska, taken by flashlight at 11 pm, according to details given in the negative.
The photograph comes from a travel album compiled by Ernest Avent of Lechlade in Gloucestershire, whose journey around the world, undertaken sometime around 1904, took in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Vancouver.
The pages of the album were fully annotated with details of the various photographs he had acquired on the trip, the following being the story of this particular image:
known notorious character in the Skagway
district of Alaska. He "held up" a number
of men in his time, and did not scruple to
shoot his man; and was consequently the
terror of the Klondikers. He was finally
shot on the warfe [sic] at Skagway by a
man whose brother he had murdered, but before he died he sent a bullet from his
Winchester through the avenger’s heart.
I heard a great deal about him when I was in Vancouver.
Jefferson Randolph Smith (1860-1898) was an American con artist and gangster; he had a major hand in the organized criminal affairs and operations of Denver [Colorado], Creede [Colorado], and Skagway [Alaska]. He did indeed die on the wharf at Skegway with a Winchester in his hand (8 July 1898) but the man who shot him, and was shot by him, was a guard, Frank Reid, rather than a man avenging his brother. The figure next to him at the bar in this photograph is identified as Bowers, this being Rev. Charles Bowers.
The photograph bears the name of two different studios; [Theodore] Peiser, identified in the negative in the lower left-hand corner of the image, and the Edward Brothers of Vancouver, identified by their wetstamp on the reverse of the print. The latter, although also photographers themselves, were probably the stockists in Vancouver where the photograph was originally purchased.
The early pioneer photographer Theodore E. Peiser was active in Washington State from the 1880’s to 1907. He documented early scenes in Seattle including pioneers, the 1900 military expedition to China and the Territorial University.
The print, which is unmounted, measures 4.2” by 5.9” (106 mm by 150 mm). The page with the hand-written annotation is included with the photograph.
condition: The print is a little grainy and cloudy in places, and there is a diagonal crease at the lower left-hand corner.
|Back to list...