Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Photographs of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Aftermath
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
0.2 linear feet and 1 box
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box B-001567


Consists of a collection of photographs documenting the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, California, taken by various photographers including Willard Elmer Worden, Charles C. Pierce, Frederick Arthur Webster, A. Blumberg, Shaw and Shaw, and others.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of a collection of 49 photographs made during the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire, which spread rapidly throughout the city on April 18, 1906, causing massive destruction and displacement. There are photographs taken by a number of California-based photographers, including Willard Elmer Worden, Charles C. Pierce, Frederick Arthur Webster, A. Blumberg, Shaw and Shaw, and others.

The photographs depict scenes of collapsed, off-kilter, and partially intact buildings, with one image capturing the "New Post Office" built of stone and still standing, surrounded by the remains of less modern infrastructure. There are also images of warped and cracked streets and roadways showing deep, gaping crevices; a few scenes (primarily by Willard Elmer Worden) showing the city as it burned; and panoramic birds-eye views highlighting the extensive devastation caused by the earthquake and fire. Several photographs in the collection also document the "Tent Cities" that formed at Golden Gate Park to house those who had been displaced. Following the earthquake, photographers rushed to the streets in an effort to document the events, and these photographs quickly became desirable mementos and collectibles for those who lived through them. It is unclear who assembled this collection of photographs, though they may be one such collector. Most photographs are captioned but uncredited.

Collection History


Purchased from Daniel Oliver Gallery in 2021 (AM 2021-084).


No materials were separated from the collection during 2021 processing.


Processing of this collection was sponsored by the Delafield Fund.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in June 2021. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in June 2021 based on dealer description.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Photographs of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Aftermath; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box B-001567