More than 80,000 photos from the Pat Hathaway Collection, such as the photo above featuring the Carmel Mission circa 1880, have been gifted to the Monterey County Historical Society in Salinas following Hathaway’s death last year. (Pat Hathaway Collection)

MONTEREY COUNTY — The huge unrivaled collection of historical images collected by the late Pacific Grove photographer, Pat Hathaway, has been awarded to the Monterey County Historical Society in Salinas.

Hathaway died Jan. 6, 2021, without a will, which meant his estate — and the future of more than 80,000 photos he had collected over his lifetime — went through probate court for a judge to decide what would happen to his outstanding collection.

On Dec. 24, the court agreed with conservator Kent Seavey’s proposal to gift the entire collection to the Monterey County Historical Society.

James Perry, executive director of the Monterey County Historical Society, said the Hathaway collection of photographs, maps and images going back to the 1840s is “way too important to stay locked up in a vault.”

“It will take several months to organize the collection for the public to access it, but we look forward to sharing this historic treasure with our local community and beyond,” Perry added. “All I truly hoped for was that Mr. Hathaway’s collection would remain in Monterey County but still be accessible to visitors. I am very grateful that the Monterey County Historical Society had the appropriate facilities to accept this gift with a secure temperature-controlled safe environment.”

Monterey County Historical Society, founded in December 1933, has a collection containing more than 100,000 images that date from 1870 through the present, documenting the development of this region. For more information about the Historical Society, go to

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