Gertrude Southworth
Wreck of the R.D. Inman
10" wide

8” x 10”


Large format limited edition print available for $250.


In 1909 the two-masted, steam propelled ship R.D. Inman had just come through the Golden Gate and was headed for Portland, Oregon in darkness and rain squalls, when the captain and crew spotted a vessel on fire and turned inland to give assistance. Too late, they realized it was a big bonfire on the Bolinas beach. The Inman was inside Duxbury Reef, it struck once, bounced off then struck again and was lodged on the rocks.

The R.D. Inman, 186 feet long, had just been built two years before in Marshfield, Oregon. The owner’s collected the $100,000 insurance on it, salvaged machinery and deck fittings, but it was a total loss. Many Bolinas folks, including Gertrude Southworth, went out to visit the wreck. Locals set up a salvage operation in a temporary structure on the beach and took away what they could before it was abandoned to the sea. Duxbury Reef, the largest shale reef in North America, off Bolinas headland, has caused the demise of many ships. The remains of the R.D. Inman was still on the inside of the reef when, in 1914, the four-masted ship Polaris wrecked on the ocean side of the reef.

From the late 1880s through the 1930s, Gertrude Southworth used her Kodak camera to capture images of the events and details of life that today present us with an invaluable window onto Bolinas history. She had a gifted eye for composition, light and shadow, and what brought out the magic in a photograph.

Little is known about the early life of Gertrude Rice-Coles Southworth except that she immigrated to the United states in the 1800s and was trained as a home nurse. She came to Bolinas with Dr. and Mrs. Southworth, serving as an assistant and nurse. Dr. Southworth was a dentist who was well liked in the community. Two years after Dr. Southworth’s wife died, he and Gertrude entered into a marriage that lasted 32 years. Gertrude died in 1946 at the age of 84. People remembered her fondly as a neighbor who reached out to everyone.

In the late 1990s Amy Edwards Jordan, a lively sharp minded woman in her nineties, came across a box of more then 500 Southworth negatives that had been preserved by her brother Parker Edwards. Amy and Parker had spent a lifetime coming to Bolinas for summers and weekends, and knew the Southworth family. Amy Edwards gifted the negatives to the Museum to be preserved for the community. Her images capture the changing times: the dress and styles, horse drawn carriages changing to car travel.

Small format, $20

Large format, $250