February 28, 2012

Actors and Scenes in the Soapy Smith Tragedy: Early collage photograph

Actors and Scenes
in the Soapy Smith Tragedy



The 10" by 12" Case and Draper cabinet photograph, Actors And Scenes in the Soapy Smith Tragedy shown at the top of the page, sold today on eBay for $403.98.

Shortly after the shooting of Soapy Smith on Juneau Wharf in 1898, the photographers of Skagway, including Case and Draper, began selling copies of the historical photographs taken up to that point as Skagway, Alaska souvenirs. The photograph shown here is a collage of some of those photographs. The first copies sold of the individual photographs shown in the collage are believed not to have had frames. The cardboard frame became standard with later copied and sold photographs (1899-1910).


Numbered for identification


The individual photographs in the collage are as follows. The wording is from one of the various photographers and repeated here. Errors and additional notes are bracketed.
  1. No 1. Public funeral of Frank Reid who died for the honor of our town.
  2. No 2. Frank Reid civil engineer & school teacher at Bishop Row [sic: Rowe] Hospital Skaguay after he was shot.
  3. No 3. Burial of Reid two miles above Skagway.
  4. No 4. Soapy Smith Marshall [sic] of the day on his fine horse leading big parade on July 4th 1898. Four days prior to his being killed [Photograph actually taken July 7, 1898].
  5. No 5. Soapy Smith after death -- July 8 - 1898.
  6. No 6. Judge Shelbrede [sic: Sehlbrede] of Skaguay.
  7. No 7. Examination of Smith in hospital just after being shot Dr. Whiting sitting at left.
  8. No 8. Miner called 'Skaguay' with his big poke of gold dust found in woodshed back of Soapy Smith's Saloon [No provenance John Douglas Stewart ever called “Skaguay”].
  9. No 9. Extracting bullet from Smith’s body.
  10. 10. Marshall [sic] Shoup [US marshal].
  11. No 11. Four of Smith's gang, names given above each.
  12. No 12. Rounding up the Soapy Smith gang in front of our store and bunk house [front of city hall].
  13. No 13. 10 of Smith's gang of whome [sic] picture was taken there as they stand on the Moore Wharf ready to be sent out of Alaska back to the states where they first came from, one was hoisted few feet with rope by the neck & let down again" [no provenance of rope hoisting].

The people shown in the photographs include:
Jefferson Randolph Smith II, alias "Soapy."
Frank Reid
US Commissioner, C. A. Sehlbrede
US Marshal, J. M. Shoup
Soap Gang member, "Slim Jim" Foster
Soap Gang member, "Reverend" John L. Bowers
Soap Gang member, "Professor" W. H. Jackson
Soap Gang member, "Old Man" Van B. Triplett
Soap Gang member, William F. Saportas
Soap Gang member, Nate Pollock
Soap Gang member, J. Allen Hornsby
Soap Gang member, C. S. Hussey
Soap Gang member, Bradley O’Brien
Soap Gang member, Charles Bromberg
Soap Gang member, J. Swain
Soap Gang member, J. Leary
Soap Gang member, “Blue Jay” Frank Brown
Soap Gang member, Henry Smith
Dr. Whiting
Dr. Cornelius
John Douglas Stewart (man who was robbed)
Assorted vigilantes and citizens




Sources
eBay
Alaska’s Digital Archives









April 18, 2011



Jeff Smith









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