Oregon Imprints collection

Untitled proclamation by Governor George Abernethy to the people of Oregon Territory about the ap... Untitled promissory note to George Abernethy (blank form printed 1845) Message of the Governor of Oregon Territory Untitled promissory notes The Oregon Almanac for the Year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 1848 To the World!! (broadside by James W. Nesmith denouncing J. Quinn Thornton) Untitled circular to Oregon emigrants issued by Governor George Abernethy about emigration routes... Untitled proclamation by Governor George Abernethy to the people of Oregon Territory about appoin... Untitled proclamation from Governor George Abernethy to the people of Oregon Territory about appo... To the Immigrants of 1848[;] Way Bill, from Fort Hall to Willamette Valley Untitled proclamation by Governor Joseph Lane about being commissioned as governor Untitled proclamation by Governor Joseph Lane about convening the Legislative Assembly and elections An act to provide for a special election An Act to Establish the Territorial Government of Oregon Untitled proclamation by Governor Joseph Lane announcing a special session of the Legislative Ass... Untitled petition to the Legislative Assembly and territorial council to establish a university o... Order of Arrangements for the Celebration of the Declaration of Independence at Portland, O.T. [O... The Donation Bill of the Territory of Oregon (Revised Edition) Untitled information sheet about the Young Ladies' Boarding and Day School, run by the Sisters of... Untitled broadside by W. W. Chapman, alleging that Ralph Wilcox is unfit for office as county cle... Untitled announcement of a horse ferry boat in Portland operated by James B. Stevens Untitled broadside by Ralph Wilcox, responding to charges that W. W. Chapman's broadside had made... Untitled advertisement by W. H. Barnhart & Co. that they will pay the highest cash price for ... Untitled list of questions sent by John McLoughlin to James Watt, with Watt's handwritten reply Argus-Extra. Late from the South. More Indian Murders! Portland City Charter Untitled charter document for Sons of Temperance, Grand Division of the Territory of Oregon Untitled notice from Frank Brown of Jacksonville, asking people who are indebted to him to pay hi...
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Identity elements

Reference code

Coll 400

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."

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Notes element

General note

Historical Note:
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.

General note

Processing Note:
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.

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Oregon Imprints collection, Coll 400, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

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Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

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.

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