This collection includes photographic prints and one postcard made by Trio Photograph and Supply Company which was owned and operated by Ernest Crocker. The majority of the photographs were shot in British Columbia on Quadra Island and Vancouver Island among Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) communities sometime around 1920 although exact dates are unknown. Many of the photograph on Quadra Island were shot around Cape Mudge Village and includes images of totem poles, house posts and village views. The majority are outdoor and street views and do not include members of the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) community. Many of the photographs shot on Vancouver Island include images of grave posts and are restricted due to cultural sensitivity. There are also two photographs of petroglyphs shot on Cormorant Island. There is also an additional photographic print made in 1919 documenting the royal visit of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, in Victoria on Vancouver Island. He is being greeted by Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) community members. This photograph was donated to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation earlier than the other prints. There are also 11 copy negatives (acetate) that were made by the Museum of the American Indian sometime in the 1960s during a large photograph conservation project.
Arranged by catalog number.
Biographical / Historical:
The Trio Photograph and Supply Company was allegedly founded in 1903 by Ernest Crocker (1877-1968) and two other English emigrants in Vancouver, Canada. Shortly after, the business moved to Victoria, B.C. where the partnership was dissolved, leaving Crocker as the main operator. In 1908, the studio relocated to Suite 8 at 604 Yates Street where it would remain for the next 37 years.
In its early years, Trio produced scenic postcards which were sold at a cigar-stand at the Canadian Pacific Railway's Empress Hotel. Around 1910, the studio was hired to photograph mining properties in Mexico. During both World Wars, Trio flourished as a military photographer, capturing many candid, portrait and group shots of soldiers and personnel. During World War I, the majority of photographs were taken at Exhibition Grounds at Willows Camp and during World War II, at Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt and the Officers Training Camp at Gordon Head. In addition to his military portfolio, Trio photographed local landscapes, indigenous and other cultural communities, and took portraits of Victorian families and individuals as well as sporting and school groups. Trio also photographed three Royal visits: the Prince of Wales in 1919, the Prince of Wales and Prince George in 1927 and King George VI in 1939.
While Crocker remained the principal photographer at Trio, he appears to have received help during the course of his business. Sometime in the 1910s, G.E. Welsh joined Crocker in some form of business partnership before leaving in 1918. After that time, it would appear that a man named Orlebar (Charlie) Walls joined the studio as a part time assistant. In 1946, the Imperial Bank Chambers renovated the top floor of 604 Yates Street where the Trio studio was established, forcing them to evict the premises. Advanced in age, Crocker did not seek to reopen his studio.
Biographical note from the BC Archives (part of the Royal BC Museum) Website: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/trio
The BC (British Columbia) Archives holds the Ernest Crocker fonds, which contains photographs produced by Crocker and Trio Photograph and Supply Company. Fonds PR-1348 - Ernest Crocker fonds: https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/ernest-crocker-fonds
The majority of the photographic prints were donated to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation by H. Barney Olson in 1924. P00764 was likely donated sometime around 1920. H. Barney Olson worked at the Empress Hotel at the time where Ernest Crocker (Trio Photograph and Supply Company) ran a postcard and photograph stand. It is likely this is how Olson came into possession of the photographic prints.
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Thursday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: email@example.com). Some images are restricted due to cultural sensitivity.
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org. For personal or classroom use, users are invited users to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not changed, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Trio Photograph and Supply Company photographs from British Columbia, Item Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.