Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oregon Imprints collection
- 1846-1870 (bulk) (Creation)
- 1845-1981 (inclusive) (Creation)
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
This collection, assembled by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, primarily consists of printed material that was either produced in or closely relates to the Oregon Territory and to Oregon's early statehood. Almost all of these items were listed in George Belknap's 1968 bibliography, "Oregon Imprints, 1845-1870."
The materials in this collection include legal and judicial documents such as legislative bills, reports, and proceedings; records of associations, including masonic organizations, temperance organizations, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and religious organizations; announcements and proclamations; event invitations, announcements, and programs, including for Fourth of July celebrations and the Oregon State Fair; advertisements; newspaper pages; and almanacs. The collection also includes some materials relating to conflicts between Euro-Americans and Native peoples, such as the Rogue River War of 1855-1856.
With some exceptions, materials are listed in this collection guide in numerical order based on numbers Belknap assigned to each item in his bibliography. Not all items that appear in Belknap's bibliography are included in this collection, and so some item numbers are skipped. Item numbers are typically handwritten on the documents themselves or on enclosing envelopes; sometimes these also show an earlier number that Douglas C. McMurtrie had assigned. The collection also includes a handful of items that were not cataloged by Belknap, but which also date from the mid-19th century.
Other materials in the collection include copies of Belknap's "Oregon Imprints, 1845-1870," supplements to "Oregon Imprints, 1847-1870" and to "Oregon Imprints, 1845-1870," and Belknap's correspondence and writings relating to early Oregon imprints.
System of arrangement
Items are arranged in rough chronological order, and with some exceptions for items bound together, are in numerical order based on the item number that George Belknap assigned in his bibliography "Oregon Imprints, 1845-1870."
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
In the 1930s, Douglas C. McMurtrie (1888-1944), a typographer, began a project to identify printed materials that had been produced either in the Oregon Territory or in Oregon during its early statehood period. In 1943, the University of Oregon Press agreed to publish a bibliography of these printed materials. The press' editor, George Belknap (1905-1996), checked McMurtrie's list and made additions and corrections. Although McMurtrie died in 1944, the resulting volume, "Oregon Imprints, 1847-1870," was still published under his name in 1950. Belknap published several supplements to this work in the Oregon Historical Quarterly in the 1950s and 1960s, and in 1968, published a revised version of the work under his own name, titled "Oregon Imprints, 1845-1870." Belknap made further addendums to this edition in the 1970s and 1981.
Unless an item's description is prefaced with the word "Untitled," item titles are taken verbatim from the items themselves, including spelling, abbreviations, punctuation, and outdated or offensive language. Where known, the original use of capitalization was also retained in titles.
In his work "Oregon Imprints, 1845-1870," George Belknap assigned dates based on when items were printed, meaning that blank forms that were printed in 1845 but filled out in 1846 would be dated as 1845, and legislative bills proposed in 1854 but not officially printed until 1855 would be dated 1855. For this reason, for any item where the date of contextual creation and the date of printing differ, and the difference is not already clear from the verbatim title of an item, it is explained in the title in parentheses.
- Citation: Oregon Imprints collection, Coll 400, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Wolf, Carolyn, "Douglas Crawford McMurtrie and the American Imprints Inventory," PNLA Quarterly, Spring 1968; Oregon Historical Quarterly articles, 1950-1981; articles in the Oregonian, 1950-1951; vital records on Ancestry.com.