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Camp Emerald Bay - Postcards 1929-30  

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Beginning of Camp Emerald Bay Postcards

          Postcards for Crescent Bay Council Summer Camps go all the way back to 1922 when the camp turned professional pictures taken
at the Temescal Canyon summer camp into a set of almost 20 images. It appears the negatives were turned into postcards after the camp was over. A local business called the Chautauqua Book Store printed the cards and sold them, along with other local postcards, as tourist souvenirs at their shop on the brand new Pacific Coast Highway. Crescent Bay Council used the postcards as promotional mailers to boost attendance for the 1923 summer camp at Russell Ranch. It appears that postcards were not made again for any of Crescent Bay's next summer camps: Russell Ranch in 1923; Kee-Koo-Too-Yeh in 1924; or Emerald Bay in 1925. And so the availability of summer camp postcards disappeared for several years, primarily because Crescent Bay had no permanent summer camp. 
          That changed in 1926 when Crescent Bay Council returned to "Catalina Camp" for a second time even though the campsite had many challenges. Emerald Bay was empty without buildings, services or shelter when the Scouts first arrived in 1925. There was no electricity or fresh water. Tents, furniture, gear, equipment and supplies were barged over from the mainland in the spring, set up and then disassembled to be barged back at the close of camp. This situation remained unchanged for three summers through the 1927 camp season. Permanent structures were not built until 1928. One by one, a pier with lifeguard tower, dining hall and finally a Headquarters & Dispensary building

Waterfront Group Photo


George Bergstrom using his tripod box camera to take a group photo of every Scout in camp at one of the
1927 sessions.

on South Hill were constructed by the Scouts. It was the new Headquarters and Dispensary building that may have provided space for a makeshift photo darkroom and related equipment allowing for film developing and printing right at camp.         
          When camp opened in 1929, it was bigger and better than ever.
An above-ground water pipeline had been completed after the
1928 camp season, bringing a fresh water supply to Camp Emerald Bay for the first time. And thanks to George Bergstrom, co-camp director, photography took on greater importance.
          Bergstrom worked as a Scouting professional for Crescent Bay Council during the late 1920's and 1930's serving alongside F.R. "Uncle Bob" Hill as Camp Director of Emerald Bay during the same years. He was also a semi professional photographer who had made several Camp Emerald Bay promotional films, taught photography merit badge and served as the camp photographer.
          By 1930, he came up with an idea to create a postcard processing "factory" right in camp, thereby allowing the campers to send pictures of themselves, their tent mates, staff and camp scenes; home within a few days of arrival at their 10-day camp session.

The Bergstrom Postcards

George Bergstrom shot many images of camp staff, campers and camp scenes, most of which were printed as regular photos.
His postcards were developed on RPPC authenticated postcard stock using a borderless style. Black edging can often
be seen around the perimeters of his postcards when the developed negatives were not an exact fit for the pre-sized postcard stock.


Waterfront Staff

Junior Staff


The waterfront staff was made up of Senior & Junior staff.
NOTE: 1st Lifeguard Tower in background on right.
Back Row L-R: unknown • George Pardee • unknown •
Alan Jackson • Ercell Hart • Mart Bushnell • Bob Ruby •
Alan Snyder • Ken Wise • unknown • John Inghram
Kneeling L-R: Ray Atherton • Paul Dean • Jack Blanchard •
Bob Etts • Ed Butterworth • Bob Anglemeyer
Seated L-R: Dick Faucett • unknown

Junior Staff each led 7 or 8 Scouts assigned to a tent. Through the 1920's-30's, Scouts usually arrived at camp solo and not as troops. Once in camp, tent groupings became a provisional patrol.
Back Row L-R: Chuck Morse • Bob Anglemeyer •
Ray Atherton • George Pardee • Alan Jackson
Front Row L-R: Ed Butterworth • Paul Dean • Bob Ruby •
Dick Faucett • Bob DeVilbis

Authentication of Real Photo Post Cards (RPPC)
            A real photo postcard (RPPC) is a continuous-tone photographic image printed on postcard stock. The term recognizes a distinction between the real photo process and the lithographic or offset printing processes employed in the manufacture of most postcard images since the 1950's.
           Beginning in 1902 Kodak offered a pre-printed card back that allowed postcards to be made directly from photo negatives. These card backs, soon copied by other photo paper suppliers, had special distinguishing marks and letters in the "place stamp here" block on the reverse. These unique markings signified the particular manufacturer of the photographic card stock paper in the original RPPC. This practice, used throughout the twentieth century, has left historians and collectors with a way of authenticating RPPC's that might otherwise be easily reproduced by today's widely available copying techniques. Each of the cards pictured here can be authenticated by its stamp block on the back.


Bergstrom Camper Tent-Mate & Camp Scenes
Numbered Series

          As individual Scouts arrived at camp for the start of their 10-day session, they were assigned to a tent and became part of a provisional patrol. George Bergstrom would typically take group pictures their first or second day in camp before dinner when the Scouts assembled in their best uniforms for inspection. The negatives were then developed and processed as a set of available numbered postcards which were displayed, thumb-tacked to a bulletin board, at headquarters or in the dining hall. Campers could order the cards they wanted by "number" and were able to write their messages and get the postcards mailed for arrival before they returned home.
          The rare numbered set shown below were the actual cards for that particular camp session in 1930. They show evidence of being  thumb tacked in the corners. Camp scenes as well as unique Catalina Island fish were also included in the postcards available for purchase.

Postcard 1
Tent-Mate Patrol

Postcard 2
Tent-Mate Patrol


Staff man Bob Anglemeyer on left with unidentified patrol.

Unidentified patrol and staff man at right.

Postcard 3
Tent-Mate Patrol

Postcard 4
Tent-Mate Patrol



Staff man Ray Atherton kneeling, leads a patrol of
Scouts grouped together in the same tent.
Campers names are unknown.
Staff man Bob Ruby kneeling, leads a patrol of
Scouts grouped together in the same tent.
Campers names are unknown.

Postcard 5
Tent-Mate Patrol

Postcard 6


Staff man Paul Dean kneeling on left, leads a patrol
of older scouts grouped together in the same tent.
Campers names are unknown.


Although un-numbered, this postcard is attributed to be
number 6 in the set. Image is of the "Endymion" yacht belonging to aircraft manufacturer Donald Douglas Sr.,
and frequently moored in Emerald Bay during the summers. Indian Rock can be seen on the right.

Postcard 7

Postcard 8
Tent-Mate Patrol


Waterfront taken from northern edge of beach.
L-R: Two staff lifeguards on floating platform; helmet dive platform with small lifeguard tower; two row boats, also with staff lifeguards; pier extension, and large lifeguard tower at end of pier on right.

Staff man Ed Butterworth on left with
 unidentified patrol of older Scouts.

Postcard 9
Tent-Mate Patrol

Postcard 10
Swimming off the Dock Extension


Unidentified patrol and staff man Ray Atherton (seated).

Swimming requirements were held off the north (left side) of the dock extension. This image was likely taken from atop
the lifeguard tower at the end of the pier.

Postcard 11
Tent-Mate Patrol

Postcard 12
Waterfront Swimming Area


Staff man Alan Jackson on right, leads a patrol
of scouts grouped together in the same tent.
Campers names are unknown.

Waterfront and swimming area. Dock extension from pier
built in 1928 seen on right. Small lifeguard tower in center is built on a floating platform also used for the helmet dive.

George Bergstrom probably made far more postcards for 1930 than are currently known today. Each session at Emerald Bay, of which there were 6 or more, had eight tents, each having 7 or 8 campers. It is thought that tent-mate postcards could have been available for
all of them. There is also evidence that some of the tent-mate photos were only produced as photos and not printed on postcard stock.

Postcards shown below were all printed on RPPC authenticated postcard stock and are thought to have been available in 1930 for a different summer camp session than the numbered set pictured above.

Young Scouts in Camp Group 1
Camp Session Unknown

Young Scouts in Camp Group 2
Camp Session Unknown


Staff man Ray Atherton, leads a patrol of very young
Scouts grouped together in the same tent.
Camp session and campers names are unknown.

Staff man George Pardee on right, and an unidentified staff man on left, lead a patrol of younger unidentified Scouts.
 (NOTE: this is the only tent-mate image currently known
 NOT photographed in front of a camper tent).

Mixed Provisional Patrol in Camp
Camp Session Unknown

1930 or 1931
Headquarters & Dispensary
Health Lodge


Staff man Chuck Morse (center back)
leads a provisional patrol of tent-mates attending at one
of the camp sessions. Camper names are unknown.

The Headquarters & Dispensary built in 1928 was the 3rd permanent structure at Camp Emerald Bay and 1st built on South (staff) Hill behind the eucalyptus tree seen in upper right corner. Sign on flag post says: "Coast Road".

Bergstrom Fish Postcards

One would not normally think of a dead fish laid out on a piece of paper as a subject worthy of producing as a postcard.
But not George Bergstrom and the staff of Camp Emerald Bay. As all Scouts who have been to the Catalina Camp will tell,
there are two fish to be be seen in the Catalina Channel and waters of Emerald Bay: the Garibaldi and Flying Fish.
These Emerald Bay postcards were popular sellers. All the same, it is not difficult to imagine the first reaction of any
Scout's mother who unexpectedly received one of these RPPC cards in the mail from her son at camp.

Garibaldi Damselfish


The Garibaldi Damselfish, or Garibaldi for short,
is the state fish of California. It is bright orange, about 15" long and a frequent sight in the large kelp forests around Catalina Island. They are easily spotted in the kelp from above when rowing or canoeing in Emerald Bay.

California Flying Fish

Often seen off the boat or water taxi ride from the mainland over to Camp Emerald Bay, the flying fish can not actually fly.
However, it can leap and glide over the water for quite a distance and certainly is a sight to see. The Catalina version
is about 18" long with large scales and a forked tail. It also hangs out in the kelp forests off Catalina Island.
For reasons unknown today and probably unimportant at the time, at least two versions of the image
were available as RPPC authenticated postcards at Camp Emerald Bay in the early 1930's.

Flying Fish version 1

Flying Fish version 2


  Camera angle is above and slightly forward of the fish.

This version is shot from directly above.

          The 1930 RPPC's produced a treasure trove of images and documentation that help record camp life almost a century ago. However, the idea of producing group photo postcards of Scout tent-mates and provisional patrols was not carried beyond that summer. The reasons are unclear and various theories have been floated, but there is no record explaining why.

          As summer camping at Emerald Bay continued through the 1930's and after World War II, George Bergstrom continued to take pictures at camp, producing some of them as postcards. Other amateur Scout photographers, possibly trained by Bergstrom while fulfilling  requirements for photography merit badge, also shot and produced their own images for postcards of Emerald Bay as documented in 1931.

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