Developing the Pacific Northwest; The Life and Work of Asahel Curtis - Washington State Historical Society
WSU Press

Developing the Pacific Northwest; The Life and Work of Asahel Curtis

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Developing the Pacific Northwest; The Life and Work of Asahel Curtis by William H. Wilson

"Asahel Curtis (1875-1941) began his lifelong career at his older brother Edward's successful Seattle photography studio. Armed with a box camera, he joined the Klondike gold rush, capturing the numerous images of the trail, miners, gold creeks, and Dawson City. But after he returned home in 1899, he found himself at odd with Edward over those very photographs. The conflict led to an enduring estrangement and in time, Asahel opened his own studio. Even though he earned his living as a commercial photographer, his major focus was beyond the camera lens. 

Asahel married and purchased a farm in the Yakima Valley. He was a dedicated member of Washington's good roads movement, striving for economic development and increased tourism. His own climbing experiences motivated him to help found the Seattle Mountaineers Club and chair the Mount Rainier Advisory Board. He fought long and vigorously for the advancement of Mount Rainier National Park. His overarching goal was not personal gain, but economic development and increased tourism for Washington.

Developing the Pacific Northwest is the first full-length biography of the photographer-booster-mountaineer. Along with comparisons to work by his more famous brother and other contemporaries, the author devotes attention to Asahel's earlier years, his family and business relationships, his involvement with irrigation and cooperative marketing in Eastern Washington, and his beliefs about resource development. Taken together, they provide a comprehensive study of this premier Pacific Northwest photographer."


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