- Collection ID:
Fishbaugh, William Arthur
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Engineering and Industry
- Physical Description:
Photograph album of commercially-produced photographs of Panama Canal construction.
Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
This collection consists of a photograph album of one hyndred commercially produced views of Panama Canal construction. Also included are some views of life in the Canal Zone, including hospitals, villages, street scenes, jungles, cemeteries, animal life, and bullfights. The album was assembled by A. Bruce Minear, who was sent to Panama by President Theodore Roosevelt to develop the YMCA for the men working on the canal. Most photographs are captioned.
This collection is arranged in one series.
Series 1, Photograph Album, 1905-1907
On November 18, 1903, the United States and Panama negotiated the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, which granted the United States permission to construct a canal that would join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Construction for the Panama Canal began on May 4, 1904. The large workforce (at its highest population in 1913 it numbered 44,733 men, not including those sick, on leave, or otherwise absent) had a great impact on Panama. As there were not enough amenities to accommodate them when they arrived, they built entire communities, paved streets, improved communication systems, and installed water and sewage systems. Likewise, the railroad was improved for more efficient transportation of supplies, labor, food, and equipment. Much to the credit of Chief Sanitary Officer Dr. William Crawford Gorgas, yellow fever was completely eradicated on the Isthmus and malaria cases greatly reduced. Native villages and towns along the planned construction route were required to relocate.
The first self-propelled, ocean-bound vessel traveled on the canal on January 7, 1914, and the canal was formally opened in August of that year. The Panama Canal construction project was the most expensive construction project in United States history to that date, costing $375,000,000.
Processed by Kiley Orchard, intern, 2008; supervised by Vanessa Broussard- Simmons, archivist, 2008.
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
This collection was donated to the National Museum of American History's Division of the History of Science and Technology, Engineering and Industry Collections by Mary Alice Minear Hunt and George Laird Hunt, 1987.
Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research and access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
W.A. Fishbaugh Panama Canal Photograph Album, 1905-1908, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Materials in the Archives Center
W. P. Stine Panama Canal Papers (NMAH.AC.1039)
John Frances Little Panama Canal Scrapbook Photograph Albums (NMAH.AC.0708)
Katherine Kingsford Panama Canal Photograph Album (NMAH.AC.1040)
A.R. Van Tassell Photograph Albums (NMAH.AC.1015)
Transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of the History of Science and Technology, Engineering and Industry Collections (now Division of Work and Industry) in 2007.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012