Harold A. "Jimmy"
"The Flying Photographer"
August 16, 1884 - February 26, 1962
America's first air
show, or air "meet" was held in Dominguez Hills,
California the week of January 10,
1910. San Diego officials convinced a
number of the fliers to come south the following
week as a publicity stunt for their proposed 1915
Panama-Pacific Exposition. I assume the
photo below was taken at that time.
North Island January 1910
San Diego Union, December 21,
Charles Hamilton in his Curtiss Pusher Biplane
Photo: Harry A. Erickson
The snippet below is the first reference I could
find of Jimmy's existence in San Diego. It
seems to fly in the face of the date written on
the negative of the photo above.
H. A. Erickson, Oakland
San Diego Union, May 29, 1912
Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Erickson are residing at 1129
Eleventh street. Mr. Erickson is connected
with Taylor’s art studio at Hotel del Coronado.
San Diego Union, June 3,
TENT CITY CLAIMING OUTDOOR
Crowd At Coronado Beach Much Larger Than on Day of
View From Aeroplane
H. A. Erickson, who has the photograph
concession this season, is exhibiting several scenes
of Tent City and both sides of San Diego bay which
he took from an aeroplane 700 feet in the air and
while traveling 70 miles an hour. The pictures
are clear and sharp, and show how things look to a
birdman. Mr. Erickson’s studio is on the bay
front, and is equipped for turning out high class
work night or day with surprising rapidity.
With a new smokeless flash light apparatus Mr.
Erickson is enabled to photograph in natural
colors. The studio has backgrounds of Tent
City, the bay, Hotel del Coronado and an aeroplane,
which are used for novelty pictures and post cards.
San Diego Union, July
Tonight at 7 o’clock H. A. Erickson of the Tent City
photograph studio is to deliver a free lecture on
color photography in the club rooms. Mr.
Erickson has experimented for years on color work
and had produced some very wonderful pictures.
His talk tonight will be illustrated by slides made
from photographs taken by himself and by Prof.
Harold A. Taylor of Coronado.
San Diego Union, February 21,
were a very labor-intensive early color
process. Here, Emma Jessop
Scripps, the wife of Frederick Tudor
Scripps, poses for
an Autochrome photo at Braemar,
the family estate where the Catamaran
Hotel in Pacific Beach sits today.
Mr. H. A. Erickson exhibited a number of autochromes
of the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierras, which
were made on an extended camping trip last summer,
Thursday evening in the ballroom at Hotel del
Coronado. Mr. Erickson is assistant to Mr.
Harold A. Taylor, who has done such wonderful work.
Evening Tribune, April 16,
TO PHOTOGRAPH ARCTIC REGION
H. A. Erickson, Coronado photographer who has made
many photographic studies of scenes throughout the
west and has been assistant to Harold A. Taylor, of
Coronado, whose photographic art is known in several
countries has joined the John Borden Arctic
expedition and will man a motion picture in the
frozen north, employing his spare time to get
photographic studies of his own choice.
Erickson has tried himself at the motion picture
work at times for the past few years an devoted
considerable time at it during the recent polo
tournament at Coronado. The Borden expedition
will sail from Seattle in May. Borden is a
millionaire sportsman and explorer of Chicago.
Jimmy aboard the ill-fated Great
San Diego Union, September 13,
Daredevil “Jimmie” (H. A.) Erickson arrived
at Seattle yesterday after his tough experience in
the wreck of the John Borden exploration ship Great
Bear off the Alaskan coast. Jimmie at once
wired Harold A. Taylor that he is coming back to
Coronado quicker that Warren Beckwith’s Pipsqueak
can slip through water. That’s going some,
we’ll all admit, so Jimmie will rejoin the
congregation very soon. I hope he didn’t lose
that Crown in the wreck. Joshua Hammond lost
one preparedness parade day and really, we haven’t
enough to go to the North Pole and everywhere else,
if they’re going to be lost.
Diego Union, January 15, 1917
photo of the magnificent Hotel del
Coronado was taken in the 1930s by Lee
Passmore. The hotel was built in
1888 and is about 20 miles from the
Mexican border. Fans of the movie
Some Like It Hot will recognize
it. Imagine flash photos being
taken at night when you read the snippet
below. (San Diego History Center
ECHOES OF ARAB BALL ARE HEARD
Praise Is Warm for Those Who Staged Great
Spectacle at Coronado
Those whose habitat is below the
international boundary must have thought from the
frequency and intensity of the flashes that a great
battle was going on near Hotel del Coronado.
Harold A. Taylor and his lieutenant, H. A. Erickson,
were busy for some hours with their blinding
flashlights. They improvised a gallery on the
front veranda where they photographed the costumes
of many of the ball patrons. It was rather a
wholesale “mugging,” but both those who were
photographed and those who did the photography
seemed to enjoy it.
San Diego Union, May 23, 1917
AIR PHOTOGRAPHER TO ENTER SERVICE
H. A. Erickson of Coronado Ordered to Report at
Hampton, Va., for Duty
H. A. Erickson, formerly a photographer
employed by Harold Taylor of Coronado and recognized
as one of the most daring aerial photographers in
this country, received telegraphic instructions
yesterday from Brigadier General George O. Squier,
chief of military aviation, to report for duty at
the army aeronautical experimental school at
Hampton, Va. Erickson will probably be the
first American aerial photographer to be sent to
France and Belgium. The San Diego photographer
is particularly fitted for the hazardous work of
snapping pictures of German trenches from an
airplane as he frequently has flown with Raymund V.
Morris and other local aviators. He will be
equipped with the new telescopic sight gun camera
recently adopted by the army. This camera can
photograph one square mile of terrain while flying
at an altitude of more than one and one-half
miles. Erickson was official photographer of
the John Borden Antarctic expedition which left
Seattle on the steamer Great Bear in August,
1916. The Great Bear subsequently was wrecked
on a pinnacle rock off St. Matthews Island in the
Bering sea. Erickson is 34 years old and
Diego Union, February 2, 1918
NEW EXECUTIVE OFFICE CREATED AT
Many Changes in Administrative Personnel at
Rockwell Field Become Effective
Many changes in the administrative personnel
of the Rockwell field signal corps aviation school
became effective yesterday. A new office, that
of executive officer, was created by Major General
George O. Squier, chief signal officer. The
administrative personnel now includes Major John C.
P. Bartholf, school commander; Captain Martin H.
Ray, executive officer; Lieutenant George C. Kull,
adjutant; Lieutenant Lee Prettyman, assistant
adjutant; Major Theodore MacCaulay, officer in
charge of flying; Captain Ernest Clark, assistant
officer in charge of flying; Major Francis Longley,
engineering officer; Lieutenant James Luttrell,
assistant gunnery officer; Lieutenant W. F. Dyett,
commanding officer flying cadet detachment;
Lieutenant Harry Erickson, instructor of flying
cadets in miniature range, mapping and photographic
interpretation; Lieutenant Tom Bither, flying cadet
instructor in practical airplanes, motors and
radiotelegraphy. Commissioned flying
instructors attached to the staff of Major MacCaulay
include Captains George Furrow and Ernest Shields,
and Lieutenants Felix Steinle, J. M. Foote, Wayman
Haney, and J. R. Worthington. Lieutenant
Colonel Henry Damm, former school commander, will
leave tonight or Sunday For Washington, thence to
Taylor Field, Birmingham, Ala., to assume command of
a new aeronautical school at that place. Major
Barthoff is en route here from Washington and is
expected to arrive Tuesday.
Diego Union, August 28, 1923
SAN DIEGO AVIATORS ESTABLISH TWO
NEW SPEED RECORDS
Successful refueling was a feature of the
record-breaking flight of Capt. Lowell H. Smith and
Lieut. John Richter yesterday. Photograph
shows the refueling plane piloted by Lieuts. Virgil
Hines and Frank Seifert, transferring gasoline
through a 40-foot hose to the big De Haviland in
which Smith and Richter have established new world’s
records for speed. (Photo by H. A. Erickson)
Diego Union, November 3, 1925
MITCHELL CALLS WORLD
Capt. Smith and Lieut. Arnold May Testify in
Air Hearing in Washington. Several military
and marine corps fliers who participated in the
dedication of the new flying field in Tucson Sunday,
returned to North Island yesterday. The
Rockwell field contingent included Col. Harry
Graham, Maj. Theodore Macaulay, Maj. H. A. Erickson,
Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lieut. Bernard
Castor. With the local military airmen were
Capt. William A. Frye and Lieut. Dean Farren, Los
Angeles reserve pilots. Marine corps aviation
squadron was represented by Maj. Ross Rowell, who
piloted a Martin bomber, Lieuts. William J. Wallace
and John Cristian and Marine Gunner D.
Woderczyk. Lieut. Leslie Arnold who flew to
Kansas City to address the national convention of
the United States Chamber of Commerce, will return
today. Both Arnold and Capt. Smith have been
subpoenaed by Col. William Mitchell and probably
will be called to Washington to testify in the court
martial proceedings now under way.
Tribune, May 4, 1926
AIR BOOSTERS SPEED PLANS FOR
All persons interested in aviation and in the
establishment of a local chapter of the National
Aeronautic association are invited to attend a
meeting next Monday at the Cabrillo cafe immediately
after the Hammer club luncheon. The first
meeting, which was held after the Hammer club
luncheon yesterday, was attended by 21 men, and the
first steps toward obtaining a charter in the
association were taken. Those attending yesterday
include Maj. Gen. J. H. Kuhn, Maj. Gen. Joseph H.
Pendleton, Col. E. N. Jones, Col. Harry C. Graham,
Col. Jefferson Davis, E. W. Dort, postmaster; Maj.
T. C. Maculey, Harold Angier, Chester Van Dusen,
Clifford Fitzgerald, A. E. Burrell, Louis, Schirm,
Albert Frost, Lieut. O. R. Stillinger, Capt. Arthur
J. O’Keefe, H. A. Erickson, A. C. Rich,
and E. V. Izak. Prior to the
aviation meeting Col. Frank P. Lahm, air officer of
the Ninth army corps area, spoke to the Hammer club,
telling of the peacetime activities of the air force
and the program at present outlined as a service arm
in the event of war.
Diego Union, July 24, 1926
Daredevil Will Thrill Tent City
Crowds With Leap From Airplane
Picture taken by H. A. Erickson when
daredevil Dan Taylor successfully made the leap from
an airplane without a parachute several weeks
ago. He will attempt it again tomorrow
afternoon over Glorietta bay, with Jack Hewson of
the San Diego Airport piloting the plane.
Diego Union, May 15, 1927
Spirit of St. Louis soars over Spanish Bight,
the inlet that separated Coronado and North
Island. The Hotel del Coronado and the
Silver Strand are visible behind the
plane. Lindbergh made a number of
flights between North Island and Dutch Flats
while testing the plane. At 3:55 PM on
May 10, 1927 he left Rockwell Field, the Army
base on North Island enroute to Lambert Field
in St. Louis, Missouri. This may have
been that final flight.
Erickson took this
shot of Lindbergh in front of the
Spirit of St. Louis on May 9, 1927 at
Dutch Flats, where the Midway Post
Office is today.
LINDBERGH BID PACIFIC SHORE
Capt. Charles A. Lindbergh, famous air mail
pilot, winging his way over Mission Beach enroute
from San Diego to Paris. Lindbergh flew low
over the seaside pleasure resort where he spent many
pleasant hours swimming while awaiting the
completion of his monoplane. Photo by Maj. H.
A. Erickson, air service reserves. (This photo was probably a
paste-up of an Erickson aerial of the Mission
Beach Amusement Center and a separate shot of the
Spirit of St. Louis taken by Erickson. It
almost certainly was not taken on Lindbergh's
departure from San Diego on May 10th)
to San Diego in the Spirit of St.
Louis on September 21, 1927 to the
largest crowds ever assembled in the
city, speaking at a sold-out crowd
at Balboa Stadium. The photo
above appears to be the one he took
on May 9, 1927 with the "Keep Out"
sign and "He did!" possibly added by
Erickson. The photo below was
taken at Dutch Flats, with either
the plane or Lindbergh added later.