Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition

The Photographs of Frank H. Nowell

Nicolette Bromberg and John Stamets

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  • $35.00s hardcover (9780295989297) Add to Cart
  • Published: 2009
  • Subject Listing: Pacific Northwest / Art and Culture; Art History; History / Western History
  • Bibliographic information: 128 pp., 120 duotone illus., 8.5 x 10 in.
  • Contents

For those who experienced it, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was a time of wonder in a "citadel set in stars" - a grand world's fair that transformed the summer of 1909 in Seattle into a whirl of excitement and pleasure. On what would become the University of Washington campus, for a brief moment a huge city emerged. At noon on June 1, amidst the blasting of horns and whistles, confetti filled the air and the gates were opened to a pent-up crowd of about 80,000 fairgoers. At the end of the evening on October 16, the fair was over and the magical city became a memory for its 3.7 million visitors.

For those who couldn't make the trip to see the exhibits and for the rest of us today, the best record of the event was made by Frank H. Nowell, official photographer for the exposition. He documented the construction of the city, its landscaping, the people who built it, and the people who visited it, as well as the buildings that housed displays from dozens of foreign countries. He used a large view camera and 8 x 10 glass-plate negatives to create several thousand photographs. For this book, Nicolette Bromberg has chosen the best and most representative. Her essay illuminates both the man and the fair, providing perspective to a history of the West that connects us to a world-expanding event a hundred years ago, and also contains Nowell's photographs of Alaska during the gold rush, relating how an Alaskan photographer became the official A-Y-P photographer.

For the 100th anniversary of the exposition, John Stamets organized and led University of Washington students in a project to rephotograph the site. This book includes an essay by Stamets describing the challenges, delights, and problems of the project, along with thirty rephotographs that imagine the fabulously spectacular ghost city on the campus.
Nicolette Bromberg is visual materials curator in Special Collections at the University of Washington Libraries in Seattle. John Stamets is a lecturer in photography in the Department of Architecture, University of Washington.
Foreword / Mark Emmert


Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: The Photography of Frank H. Nowell / Nicolette Bromberg

The Klondike Gold Rush
A Fair is Born
Frank H. Nowell
Juneau, Nome, and Teller
An Alaskan Photographer
Official Photographer of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition
Building the Fair
Photography before the Fair
The Exposition Opens
On the Pay Streak
Special Days and Events
Photographing the A-Y-P
The Fair Comes to an End
Frank H. Nowell after the Fair

Alaska Photographs / Frank H. Nowell

A-Y-P Photographs / Frank H. Nowell

The A-Y-P Photographic Project / John Stamets

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"Nicolette Bromberg's excellent, exhaustively researched book on the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 and the fair's official photographer, Frank H. Nowell, will be much appreciated by both historians and students of photography."
-Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"'Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Exposition: The Photographs of Frank H. Nowell' opens another entryway into the 1909 fairgrounds, through the eyes of the A-Y-P's official photographer whose black-and-white images are handsomely reproduced here."
-Seattle Times