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VIPs in San Francisco: 1800s

Born in 1838 in London, Frederick Whymper was the eldest son of Josiah Wood Whymper and Elizabeth Whitworth Claridge. His father Josiah Wood Whymper was a celebrated wood-engraver and artist and his younger brother Edward Whymper was a renowned alpinist who made the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. In his youth, Frederick Whymper was a talented artist working to produce engravings for publication and having his landscapes on exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts in London from 1859 to 1861.

Fort St. Michael, Norton Gulf, Alaska
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Fort St. Michael, Norton Gulf, Alaska
Frederick Whymper

In 1862, he travelled to Victoria; and British Columbia and to the Caribou in the following year. In 1864 he joined road builders in the area of Butte Inlet and left shortly before the Chilcotin War Many of his early travels were by steamships. His drawings include volcanoes on Kamchatka and Alaskan glaciers. While in the far north, Whymper served on the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition and the Western Union Telegraph Expedition (1865). He spent the winter of 1866 at Nulato, Alaska with W. H. Dall and travelled up the Yukon River to Fort Yukon. When the first American flag was raised over the new territory of Alaska, he was at Fort Yukon to witness it.

In November 1867, Whymper went back to England where the account of his travels, Travel and Adventure in the Territory of Alaska, was published in 1868.

In 1869, he went back to the United States, by way of New York to San Francisco and worked on the staff of the newspaper Alta California.

July 23, 1870, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Piute Mimes.? We have received a copy of a book entitled "The Piute Company of California and Nevada," a quarto volume, containing twenty lithographic plates and twenty-one pages of text. It describes the mines of the Company in the Yellow Pine and Clarke Districts, in latitude 30? W on the line between California and Nevada, with some notes of the adjacent country. Most of the engravings are after drawing, by Fred. Whymper, Esq. The book leaves the impression that the property described is very valuable.

City directories describe him as an artist and mining engineer, and in 1871 he was a founding member of the San Francisco Art Association.

July 15, 1871, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
San Francisco, California

"Scrambles Amongst the Alps."

A work under the above title, just published in London, by Edward Whymper, brother of Fred. Whymper, of this city, (the author of "Travels in Alaska,") will be reproduced in Lippencott's Magazine, the first chapter to commence in the September number. The articles will be illustrated with twenty-one full page and one hundred smaller illustrations for the author's original sketches. Mr. Whymper has been for thirteen years an active member of the well known Alpine Club of London, and was, as many readers will remember, the only survivor of the terrible Matterhorn accident, by which two other mountaineers and several Swiss guides lost their lives.

August 5, 1874, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
San Francisco, California

THE FAIR.
Active Preparations tor the Ninth Exhibition of the Mechanics' Institute.

. . . Frederick Whymper, who has charge of the art Gallery and the hanging of the pictures, is at the Pavilion every day attending to the multifarious duties which his position imposes.

January 19, 1875, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Fred. Whymper, well known in this city as an artist, journalist, author and Bohemian, leaves this morning by rail for London and will be followed by the good wishes of many friends.

He returned to England and his books The Heroes of the Arctic and Their Adventures and The Sea: Its Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril and Heroism,The Sea by Frederick Whymper. were published prior to his death in London on 26 November 1901 by what is listed as "failure of the heart, probably due to indigestion, arising from sedentary pursuits." In his obituary, "'Mount Whymper," north of Lake Cowichan, is named in the honor of this early explorer, artist and writer.

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, various Maritime Museums around the world.

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