PEMCO Webster and Stevens Collection

During the early 1900s, Ira Webster, Nelson Stevens, and their staff of 17 photographers took more than 60,000 black-and-white photographs of Seattle and the Northwest. Thanks to support from PEMCO, their work has been preserved by the "Museum of History and Industry".

Webster and Stevens were a prolific studio team that pioneered the use of photography in commercial advertising, photojournalism, and industry throughout Washington's Puget Sound area. After moving to Seattle in 1899 from Michigan, Webster and Stevens worked for local photographers until 1903 when they opened their own studio. Their staff provided photographic services to most of the major Northwest businesses, including a long stint as exclusive photographers for The Seattle Times from 1906 to 1943.

Following their deaths, the business was sold to a series of owners: Roy M. Peak in 1943, Lou Miller in 1948, and Al Rankin in 1980. When Miller sold the studio in 1980, he kept the studio's old negatives, proof albums, and registers.

The Museum of History and Industry purchased the Webster and Stevens Collection in 1983 from Miller with a generous gift from the PEMCO Foundation. Museum staff members have preserved the rare photographs and made them available to the public.