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Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church collection, 1940-2015

  • Coll 189
  • Collection
  • 1940 - 2015

The collection covers various aspects of the history of the church and of its leader, Rev. O.B. Williams, and his wife Willa Jackson Williams. It includes a variety of photographs, with a large percentage of the images relating to the various church groups, including choirs, youth groups, and ushers. A large collection of members’ memorial cards, the pastoral anniversaries of Rev. Williams, some bibles and hymnals (many annotated by Rev. Williams, including two dated 1867 and 1890), church financial records and meeting minutes, and a collection of materials from Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1961 visit are included. A small collection of the Williams’ personal photographs and ephemera can also be found in collection.

Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church (Portland, Or.)

Herman Bohlman lecture notes, circa 1900-1920

  • Coll 542
  • Collection
  • 1900 - 1920

The collection consists of notes for lectures given by the nature photographer Herman T. Bohlman. Lectures include talks on birds in the Crater Lake region, on the California Condor, and wintertime birds. The collection additionally contains a handwritten schedule of talks, loose notes, the envelopes in which the notes were originally stored, and a photograph by Bohlman of a black chickadee family which was found with the notes.

Bohlman, Herman

Robertson, Burns, and Failing families papers

  • Coll 784
  • Collection
  • 1786-1988

Many of Portland's early settling families created long-lasting ties with one another through marriage and business relationships. Often leaving areas such as New England and San Francisco, the first generation of transplants found Portland to be a small town of new opportunities for trade and business from 1840-1855. Family relationships, such as those seen between the Robertson, Corbett, and Failing families beginning in the 1850s, often lasted for generations. Starting with the joint venture between Henry Winslow Corbett and brother-in-law Thomas Robertson (1817-1900), multiple other partnerships were later formed, including Robertson Heavy Hardware, Corbett, Failing and Company, Foster and Robertson and Corbett, Failing, and Robertson.

The Robertson family represented a crossroads of Portland familial relationships. Beginning with the arrival of Thomas Robertson and his wife Mary Freeland (Corbett) Robertson, from New York, multiple generations of the Robertson family went on to marry into different branches of other old Portland families, such Couch, Lewis, and Reed. Through these relationships, they also gained ties with several family lineages from the East Coast. Individuals in these families later attended elite schools, traveled widely and participated in family businesses to great success. They also contributed to Portland's civic life, becoming city or state officials, and serving as early supporters for institutions such as the Portland Art Museum and Reed College.

Robertson family

James F. Failing family papers

  • Coll 799
  • Collection
  • 1850-2009

James Frederick Failing was born in New York on March 24, 1842 to Josiah Failing and Henrietta Legge Ellison. His father and older brothers, Henry and John William, arrived in Portland in 1851, followed two years later in 1853 by James, their mother, and sister, Elizabeth. James completed his education at Portland Academy, then joined J. Failing and Co. as a clerk. The company was a wholesale hardware business started by Josiah and Henry Failing at the corner of first and Oak Streets. James later became a partner at Corbett, Failing and Company. The company operated under this name for 22 years, before later becoming Failing-McCalman Company, operated in part by James's three sons.

In 1877, James Failing became a director of the First National Bank in Portland, remaining a senior director until his death in 1920. He married Jane Johnson Conner in 1880. She was born in Albany, Oregon on February 14, 1855 to merchant John Conner (1820-1902) and his first wife, Martha Mariea Bancroft Whittlesey (1827-1861). Later, John Conner married James's sister, Elizabeth Ann Failing in 1863. Jane Conner and James F. Failing had five children: Edward Josiah (1881-1936), Kate Whittlesey (1883-1971), John Conner (1886-1951), Frederick Ellison (1892-1929), and Henrietta Chase, 1895-1989). Kate and Henrietta participated regularly in Portland civic life, volunteering with numerous organizations.

James Failing and his family were members of the First Baptist Church of Portland. He was involved in the development and construction of the church's Taylor Street building between 1892 and 1893, and was both a trustee and a deacon. His daughter Kate created scrapbooks documenting the history of the church. He was also a director of the Young Men's Christian Association and a trustee for McMinnville College (later known as Linfield College), and an active member of the Oregon Pioneer Society and the Auld Lang Syne Society. Both his father, Josiah, and brother Henry served as mayors of Portland. While James never held public office, he was regarded as a prominent individual in the Portland business and civic communities.

Failing, James F. (James Frederick), 1842-1920

Japanese American Oral History Project

  • Japanese American Oral History Project
  • Collection
  • 1992-1998

A series of oral history interviews conducted between 1992 and 1998 with Japanese Americans in Oregon. Loen Dozono of the Japanese American Citizen's League (JACL) collaborated with OHS on this project. The interviews were conducted by JACL and OHS staff and volunteers. They aimed to interview Issei (first generation Japanese Americans), and ultimately also interviewed several Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans).

Joel Palmer Papers, 1783-1982

  • MSS 114
  • Collection
  • 1783-1982

The papers consist of four groups of materials acquired by the Oregon Historical Society at various times. The first group, designated Mss 114, consists of correspondence (1848-1869) concerning the conduct of Indian affairs in Oregon, enlistment of a state militia, and efforts to establish a Union League Council. Correspondents include Benjamin Alvord, Jesse Applegate, Benjamin Bonneville, Samuel Culver, Addison C. Gibbs, and Joseph Lane. Also included is a diary (1857) kept by Palmer while on a voyage from Oregon City to Washington, D.C. via Panama; typescript copies of diaries (1854, 1856, 1860-1861) recording his travels throughout the Pacific Northwest; hand written copy of an agreement (1854) between the United States, represented by superintendent of Indian Affairs, Joel Palmer, and the Calipooia Indian tribe; and articles of incorporation (1862) of the Columbia River Railroad Company.

The second group of materials, designated Mss 114-1, consists of letters sent to Sarah Ann Palmer from various relatives, and receipts and other ephemera of Joel Palmer. Among these are hand written copies of poems dated 1783, possibly from one of Palmer's ancestors.

The third group within the collection, designated Mss 114-2, contains mostly biographical information about Palmer, along with letters written by his descendants and letters relating to the dedication of a statue of Palmer in 1971.

A fourth group of papers, designated Mss 114-3, consists of general correspondence, primarily political and military in nature, legal papers, and a survey of an unidentified Indian reservation.

The final group of materials, designated Mss 114-4, includes a manuscript poem, Bristol, England, 1784; letters from Palmer to General Joseph Lane and others; manuscript copy of report to the U.S. Secretary of War or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs from General Joseph Lane, ca. 1849; a letter from W. B. Bonney to Joel Palmer, 1850 Jan. 17; letter to Joel Palmer from Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Bonneville, 1855 Mar. 27; printed copy of the treaty between the United States and the Rogue River Indians, 1855; manuscript extracts from "Articles of treatry made at Port Orford," 1857 Sept. 20; hand drawn map of the Columbia River and its tributaries, undated; and a pamphlet titled "History of the Grand Ronde Military Block House," 1911.

Palmer, Joel, 1810-1881

Oregon Constitutional Convention records, 1857-1859

  • MSS 1227
  • Collection
  • 1857 - 1859

Documents created during the Oregon Constitutional Convention of 1857. Includes: committee reports, drafts of articles and schedules, general notes, corrections, and other materials. Sections of the constitution represented include: preamble and bill of rights; suffrage and elections; distribution of powers; Legislative Department; Executive Department; education and school lands; finance; militia; corporations and internal improvements; seat of government; general provisions; boundaries; schedules, and related papers. Also includes printed speech of James Hughes of Indiana, on the admission of Oregon, delivered in the House of Representatives, 1859 February 10.

Oregon. Constitutional Convention (1857)

Oregon elections collection, 1846-1888

  • MSS 1231
  • Collection
  • 1846 - 1888

Collection assembled by the Oregon Historical Society regarding elections in Oregon. Included are Poll Books for Sauvie Island (1859), Astoria Precinct (1857), Elkton Precinct (1856), Santiam Precinct (1860), and Butte Creek (1872); contributors to the 1873 election fund; certified documents of electors, president and vice-president, U.S. (1876, 1880, 1888); and newspaper clippings and list of contributors to the 1888 election. Additional materials include oversize ballots and tally sheets (in 2 flat boxes), and 1860-1862 election materials (1 reel of microfilm).

Oregon. Constitutional Convention (1857)

William L. Finley letters and scrapbook, 1946-1962

  • MSS 2654
  • Collection
  • 1946 - 1962

Collection includes: Scrapbook and letters, 1 vol. and 1 folder, 1946-1962, regarding personal matters, the Izaak Walton League, conservation, etc.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest Oral Histories

  • MSS 2988-SR
  • Collection
  • 2000 - 2013

The Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) was established in Portland, Oregon, by Tom Cook in the early 1990s. Since then the organization has collected archival materials and oral histories from organizations and individuals active in lesbian and gay issues in the Portland area and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Many of these oral histories were gathered by Portland State University students, from the late 90s to present.

J.H. Horner Papers, 1889-1985

  • MSS 6031
  • Collection
  • 1889 - 1985

The collection consists principally of the typescript (with corrections in hand) of Horner's work, Wallowa River and Valley, dealing with regional history, as well as the Nez Percé Indians. Other papers include correspondence (ca. 1889-1985); legal documents (1898-1931); patents for window construction (1921-1922); and manuscript materials (undated). Horner's main correspondent is Otis Halfmoon, a Catholic Nez Percé who assisted with the author's manuscript. The collection also includes a list of other contributors that assisted Horner in his research

Horner, J. H., 1870-1953

William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946

  • MSS Finley
  • Collection
  • 1899 - 1946

William L. Finley's papers primarily document his work as a wildlife conservationist, author, lecturer, photographer, and filmmaker from about 1900 to 1940. The collection also documents the work his wife Irene Finley and photography partner Herman Bohlman. The collection consists of published and unpublished manuscripts, lecture and field notes, reports, correspondence, photographs and motion picture films.

An addition to the collection (Accession 2014:062) is made up of correspondence and newspaper clippings documenting the wildlife conservation work of William and Irene Finley. Among the topics addressed in the correspondence include: song bird protection laws in Oregon, requests to Finley for use of his photographs, the forming of an Oregon Fish and Game Commission, biological surveys conducted by Finley, legislation in California repealing meadowlark protection, and letters by Finley to various organizations regarding the presentation of one of his lectures. A highlight among the correspondence is a thank you letter from Finley to President Theodore Roosevelt for his establishment of wild bird reservations. The clippings are newspaper articles written by Irene and William Finley about encounters with wildlife, nocturnal bird sounds, and their filming of wildlife at Paulina Lake. The four articles all appeared in editions of the "Oregon Sunday Journal."

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

Stella Maris House collection, 1940-1973; bulk : 1960-1972

  • Mss 1585
  • Collection
  • 1940 - 1973

Ranging in date from 1940 to 1973, the Stella Maris House Collection consists of printed material, correspondence, and administrative, financial, and legal records created and collected by the Portland, Oregon-based social justice group during the course of their work. The collection demonstrates the local evolution of social issues key to the history of the United States during the 1960s. Over a third of the archive's content is dedicated to Oregon's migrant labor rights movement, and it also features records documenting the area's civil rights movement, urban renewal projects, interstate highway infrastructure, and social welfare programs initiated by the Economic Opportunity Act.

The bulk of the collection consists of printed material created by a number of local and national organizations between 1960 and 1972, then collected by the Stella Maris House. This portion of the archive includes programs, reports, studies, surveys, correspondence, brochures, and flyers generated by civil rights, migrant rights, and peace movement groups. Items of note include the Albina Neighborhood Improvement Project's plans for urban redevelopment (Series B), an African-American employment survey conducted by the Metropolitan Interfaith Commission on Race (Series E), and records documenting the Housing Authority of Portland (Series I). The collection also features printed material created by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Series E), the Valley Migrant League (Series J), and the United Farm Workers (Series J). Newspaper clippings that document events important to social justice movements constitute a substantial part of the collection.

A small but significant portion of the collection was created by the staff members of the Stella Maris House; it includes notes by the staff documenting the meetings of local groups. These meeting notes often provide remarkably candid insights into the workings of area groups. Additionally, Stella Maris House staff members also contributed group and program histories to the collection.

Stella Maris House (Portland, Or.)

Lee Owen Stone papers, 1903-1977

  • Mss 2423
  • Collection
  • 1930 - 1977

Collection includes: Correspondence, sermons, awards and certificates, files from his activity in the Urban League of Portland and other civil and philanthropic associations, Minutes of meetings for Men's Club of St. Philip's Church, missionaries' quarterly reports, etc.

Stone, Lee Owen, 1903-1977

Portland Neighborhood History Project

  • Mss 2577-SR
  • Collection
  • 1976-1979

The Portland Neighborhood History Project was one of the first extensive oral history projects in Oregon. In the late 1970s, the Parks Department recruited volunteers to interview elders in their own neighborhoods in order to gather first hand accounts of the history and development of the various neighborhoods in Portland. The interviews were later donated to the Oregon Historical Society.

Columbia Rediviva collection

  • Mss 957
  • Collection
  • 1785-1852

The collection consists of correspondence, journals, ship logs, administrative records, and ink sketches relating to the ship Columbia Rediviva. A mix of original materials and reproductions are present. Among the originals are: the journal of John Hoskins, written during the Columbia's journey around the world in 1791-1792; the journal of George Barrell, 1806, written on board the brig Venus from Boston to Malaga, and on the schooner Louisiana from Malaga to New York; Barrell's account of stores on board the Columbia, 1792-1793; letters of Joseph Barrell to Samuel Webb, 1785-1801, and to John Hoskins, 1790; letters from Colburn Barrell and Robert Haswell, 1801; owner's accounts, 1787-1793; accounts of the Columbia and Lady Washington, 1787-1790; receipts; and four ink sketches by George Davidson depicting incidents in the voyages of the Columbia.

The reproductions held in this collection include the journals of Robert Haswell and Owen Smith, 1787-1789; and a file of receipts and other papers concerning outfitting of the Columbia, 1790 (on microfilm). Also included are publications of Robert Gray's wife Martha's petition to congress for a pension and memorial, 1848-1852.

OHS Maps Collection

  • OHS Maps
  • Collection
  • 1500 - ?

The OHS Maps Collection contains over 25,000 maps that focus on Western exploration and the Oregon Territory. Available types of maps include those of the Oregon Territory, the state, cities and counties, and special subjects such as mining, forestry, railroads, coasts and rivers, soils, farmlands, land claims, Native Americans and explorations.

Vanport flood photographs collection, 1948

  • Org. Lot 131
  • Collection
  • 1948

Photographs of the aftermath of the flood that destroyed Vanport, Or. on May 30, 1948. The images depict the damage to buildings, bridges, roadways, and other structures in both Vanport and Portland, Or. Includes postcards and snapshots, as well as photographs taken by the Camera Art Studio of Portland, Or.

Camera Art Studio (Portland, Or.)

Photographs of Vanport, Oregon, circa 1948

  • Org. Lot 1364
  • Collection
  • 1942 - 1948

Photographs of Vanport, Oregon before and after the flood of 1948, including images of Dale Skovgaard and his family, who lived there at the time.

Skovgaard, Dale

Gary Scott photographs collection

  • Org. Lot 1386
  • Collection
  • 1970-04-22

This collection contains black-and-white photoprints of images taken by Gary Scott on the occasion of Oregon Governor Tom McCall's visit with the students of Parkrose High School and Fremont Jr. High School, in Portland, on April 22, 1970. This marked the first celebration of Earth Day in Oregon. Those in attendance included personnel from both Parkrose High School and Fremont Junior High School.

Digital Collection consists of retouched high resolution scans created by Gary Scott from original prints.

Scott, Gary

Monteith family photograph collection, 1847-1854

  • Org. Lot 1388
  • Collection
  • 1847 - 1854

This collection is comprised of two (2) daguerreotypes showing portraits of brothers Thomas and Walter Monteith, who founded the town of Albany, Oregon, circa 1849. They traveled to Oregon from New York in 1847 and settled adjacent land claims, sharing a house which straddled the two claims.

Kiser Photo Co. Photographs

  • Org. Lot 140
  • Collection
  • 1901-1999

The Kiser Photo Co. photographs include images produced by the Kiser Brothers, the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition Official Photographic Co., the Kiser Photo Co., and the Winter Photo Co. from 1901-circa 1927. Other imprints include Fred H. Kiser Studios, Kiser Studios, and Scenic America Company. The collection contains both vintage black-and-white and hand-colored prints, including stereographs and panoramic photographs, as well as copy prints made from original Kiser negatives. The bulk of the images are examples of Kiser's landscape and mountain photography in Montana, Oregon, and along the Columbia River Gorge and Columbia River Highway, among other places, as well as of various places in Portland, Or. Other subjects include the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Mo., 1904; the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Or., 1905; landscape photographs taken for various railroad companies, 1903-1916; photographs of ships and shipbuilding in the Portland, Or. area, taken for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, 1918-1919; and photos of Kiser studio buildings in Portland, 1909-1923.

The collection also contains contemporary photomechanical reproductions of Kiser photographs, dating from 1903-circa 1930. These include postcards, photomechanical prints both loose and in albums, and publications containing reproductions of Kiser work. There are also background materials that contain biographical notes Fred H. Kiser and the history of his work with photography that were gathered during collection processing and date from 1903-1999.

Many images in the collection were made by the Kiser Brothers or Kiser Photo Company and its photographers but were produced for sale to the public over a long period of time, first by the Kiser Photo Company and then the Winter Photo Company. After Kiser sold part of his business to Winter in 1915, it appears that Kiser continued to make prints from earlier images for which Winter held the negatives, possibly by making copy negatives from original prints. Photographer Benjamin Gifford also bought Kiser negatives and produced them for sale; many of the copy prints in this collection were made from Kiser negatives that are housed in the Gifford and Prentiss photograph collection, Org. Lot 982.

Note on dates and photographers’ negative numbers: Kiser and Winter often issued prints of the same images over a long period. Prints sometimes include copyright dates in the photographer’s imprint. The dates provided in this guide include: actual date of photograph if known, copyright date if known, or circa dates derived from photographers’ negative numbers and image content. Kiser Brothers did not use a negative numbering system as far as can be determined. Kiser Photo Co.’s earliest assigned numbers represent the firm’s output but also may be for images made by the Kiser Brothers but marketed later. They are low numbers preceded by an “x”. Kiser seems to have adopted a consecutive numbering system by about 1906. The numbers are handwritten in pencil on the verso of prints. After he purchased part of the business in 1915, Winter appears to have continued the consecutive numbering system from where Kiser Photo Company left off. After 1915, Kiser appears to have adopted a new numbering system, using a “C” prefix.

Kiser, Fred H., 1878-1955

Portland General Electric Photograph Collection

  • Org. Lot 151
  • Collection
  • 1880 - 1965

Negatives documenting company activities, including electrical infrastructure, employees, power generation and distribution throughout Portland, the Willamette Valley and the Oregon Cascade Range. Additional general images include streetcars and trains, street lighting, power line installation, Rose Festival floats, office buildings, car barns and bridges. Of particular note are dam building projects at Bull Run and along the Clackamas River (1910-1930), and early electric stations in Oregon City at Willamette Falls.

Portland General Electric Company

William L. Finley Photographs Collection, 1901-1940

  • Org. Lot 369
  • Collection
  • 1901 - 1940

Images of wildlife, primarily birds of the western United States, c.1900-1940s, photographed by William Lovell Finley and his associate Herman T. Bohlman, with the help of his wife, Nellie Irene Barnhart Finley and others. The collection includes fine images of adult and immature birds, chicks, eggs, and nests. Many show habitat. Others document the camera equipment and techniques used to make the photographs.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

Cartes-de-Visite Collection

  • Org. Lot 500
  • Collection
  • 1855 - 1897

Cartes-de-visite are a form of card photograph popular from around 1860 to the early 1900s, typically used for portraiture. The common construction of these cards consists of a thin albumen print mounted on a thicker card backing measuring 2.5 x 4 inches. André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri patented the process of creating these photo cards in Paris in 1854, streamlining the process of commercial portraiture and reducing costs with a method of taking eight separate negatives on a single plate. Initial commercial response to the cartes-de-visite was slow. They reportedly did not rise in popularity until Napoleon III had his portrait taken by Disdéri in 1859 after which enthusiasm for card photographs spread rapidly across the globe. In the United States, cartes-de-visite were a staple of commercial photographers during the Civil War as a means of selling inexpensive portraits of soldiers and their loved ones, and also photographs of celebrities for collecting and trading. Cartes-de-visite were superseded by Cabinet cards, a similar format but larger - roughly 4.5 x 6.5 inches, in the 1870's but they remained popular into the twentieth century.

The Oregon Historical Society’s Cartes-de-Visite Collection was accumulated from various sources. The collection includes photographs taken throughout the United States, including by many well known Oregon photography studios, from about 1855 through the early 1900s. Cartes-de-visite can be found in many other photo albums and individual photo collections in OHS holdings.

Oregon Association of Colored Women's Clubs photographs, 1953-1988.

  • Org. Lot 587
  • Collection
  • 1953 - 1988

Photographs and other materials that were assembled for the Northwest Black Heritage exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society, documenting the history and activities of the Oregon Association of Colored Women's Clubs and its constituent groups. The photographs depict the presidents of the Oregon Association of Colored Women's Clubs, including Katherine Gray, the association's first president; state and regional conventions; affiliated clubs; community service activities; winners of the association's Katherine Gray Memorial Scholarship; and federated girls' clubs associated with the organization. Also included is a photograph of the exhibit panel and photocopies of newspaper clippings and other materials used in the exhibit panel.

Oregon Association of Colored Women's Clubs

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