Wallie Funk Collection
The Anacortes Museum holds an extensive photo collection - which can now be viewed online - thanks to the foresight of newspaper editor, photographer, city historian and native son Wallie Funk. Featured in the collection are noted photographers such as James Booen, Ferd Brady, Glenn Davis, David Ewing, Charles Judd, Darius Kinsey and others. Included are both historical and later-day images of Fidalgo and Guemes islands that tell a pictorial history of the troubles and triumphs, the people and places, of our island community.
The Wallie Funk photo collection holds nearly 100,000 images documenting life from the 1880s to 2002 in Washington state and beyond, with the bulk of photos taken on Fidalgo and Whidbey islands. Approximately 50,000 photos and negatives, as well as a number of Funk’s personal papers and artifacts, were deposited with the Anacortes Museum in 2003, while other parts of the collection went to the Island County Historical Museum in Coupeville, the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, and the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies in Bellingham.
Start of the Collection
Funk started his collection in 1950, just after purchasing the Anacortes American. The collection under the care of the Anacortes Museum includes photographs ranging from the 1880s to the 1990s given to Funk by local people, as well as nearly 3,600 Ferd Brady images and photos taken by Funk and his staff at the American.
Born in Anacortes like his father before him, Wallie Funk became editor of the Anacortes American in 1950 and three issues later wrote a front-page editorial urging his hometown to preserve its history. The community donated photos and other materials, and eventually Funk took out a personal loan to have photographer Glenn Davis copy and enlarge the best of the photos. In 1959, these photos were displayed in the City Hall Council Chambers and became the start of the Anacortes Museum.
Preserving the Past
In 1952, Funk prevented a truckload of Ferd Brady negatives, an irreplaceable record of Anacortes from 1924 to1952, from ending up at the dump. Over the next 50 years, he sorted through thousands of recovered images, selecting 4,500 for the collection. Wallie Funk was, and still is, a passionate advocate for his community. He worked tirelessly to shape its future, while never forgetting the value of knowing and saving its past.