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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

Oral History Interview with Flora Cushinway Thompson

  • SR 9586
  • Collection
  • 1971?

Flora Cushinway Thompson discusses her marriage to Chief Tommy Thompson of the Wyams, fishing, religion, and the fight against the building of the Dalles Dam.

Thompson, Flora Cushinway, 1893-1978

Oral history interview with Charles Lewis Hayward

  • SR 9580
  • Collection
  • 1979-12-05

Charles Lewis Hayward discusses his experiences in World War I, including military balloon reconnaissance.

Hayward, Charles L. (Charles Lewis), 1895-1998

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

Oregon elections collection, 1846-1888

  • Mss 1231
  • Collection
  • 1846 - 1912

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)

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.)

Correspondence Collection

  • Mss 1500
  • Collection
  • 1800 - ?

Collection of materials assembled by the Oregon Historical Society comprised of various letters written from or to individuals in Oregon, ca. 1820-1973.

Portland State University Oral History Series

  • SR Portland State University Series
  • Collection
  • 1989

A collection of oral history interviews of Portland State University faculty, conducted by other Portland State University faculty.

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.

Franklin Historical Society Oral History Program

  • SR FHS
  • Collection
  • 2018-05-20 - ?

This is a series of oral history interviews produced by students at Franklin High School, as part of the Franklin Historical Society program. The program aims to preserve the oral history projects of Advanced Placement (AP) History students at Franklin High School in Portland.

At the end of each school year, students create a museum to display their final projects, many of which include oral history interviews. An online exhibit of some of these museum displays can be found at https://sites.google.com/view/franklin-historical-society/home

Franklin High School (Portland, Or.)

Senator Mark O. Hatfield Oral History Project

  • SR Hatfield
  • Collection
  • 1987 - 1988

This series of interviews was conducted with Senator Hatfield’s congressional aids, staff and advisors. Senator Hatfield had a long and distinguished career in public service. He began his career as an Oregon State Legislator. He was both Oregon’s youngest Secretary of State and Governor. Later, he was a United States Senator from Oregon for 30 years, the longest term of any senator from Oregon. He is perhaps best known for his early and consistent opposition to the Vietnam War.

Interviewees include: Douglas Coe, associate director of The Fellowship, who has had close relationships with many American politicians; Martin Gold, a member of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, appointed by George H.W. Bush, he was counsel to Bill First, Howard Baker and Mark Hatfield; Loren Hicks, counsel to Hatfield and later held many judgeships in Oregon, including circuit judge for Marion County; and Sam Mallicoat, a veteran of WWII and the Korean War, and Chief of Staff for Senator Hatfield during his first senate term.

United States District Court Oral History Project

  • USDCHS
  • Collection
  • 1966-2008 (bulk 1984-2008)

Since 1984, the Oregon Historical Society has partnered with the United States District Court of Oregon Historical Society to interview judges, lawyers and other legal professionals affiliated with that Court.
With an appeal rate at around 10%, the decisions made by the District Court of Oregon have been deeply influential on the laws and peoples of the state. It has presided over decisions on public land disputes and fishing rights, as well as civil rights and law enforcement. The stories of the people that make up this judicial body provide a valuable tool for helping the public understand the pivotal role the court has had on Oregon’s history.

Portland General Electric Centennial Oral History Series

  • SR PGE
  • Collection
  • 1987 - 1988

A series of interviews conducted by Judy Hartman and Craig Wollner with employees of Portland General Electric for use in creating a history of the company for its centennial in 1988.

Hartman, Judy

Pittock Mansion remembered

  • SR 9319
  • Collection
  • 1983-08-15 - 1984-03-26

A series of interviews conducted by Linda Brody regarding Pittock Mansions.

Tape 1: Marjorie Wright discusses her time living in the gatehouse of Pittock Mansion with her parents from 1920 to 1945, including the work her father did as head gardener.

Tape 2: Betty L. Meier discusses her childhood as a granddaughter of Henry L. Pittock and her memories of visiting Pittock Mansion.

Tape 3 and 4: Louise Barry discusses her relationship to the Pittock family and her memories of Pittock Mansion.

Tape 5: Robert "Peter" Gantenbein discusses the Pittock family and living in the Pittock Mansion. Eric Ladd is also present.

Tape 6: Allyn Staley discusses the restoration of the Pittock Mansion in the 1960s.

Tape 7: Alexander Bolton Pierce discusses the political process involved in the purchase of the Pittock Mansion by the City of Portland and its restoration in the 1960s.

Wright, Marjorie, 1920-2012

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

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

Theodore Roosevelt letter to George Himes, 1900 Feb 21

  • Coll 301
  • Collection
  • 1900

Typed note, signed, from Theodore Roosevelt when governor of New York, to George H. Himes, assistant secretary of the Oregon Historical Society, complimenting Himes and the Society on their work. This letter was a response to Himes' letter of February 13th, 1900, a transcript of which is included.

Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919

Abraham Lincoln letters

  • Mss 324
  • Collection
  • 1858-1861

One autograph letter, A.L.S., from Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Ill. to Simeon Francis in Oregon, 1860 Aug. 4, discussing the upcoming presidential election and prospects for the winning of various states. Collection also includes photostatic copies of three additional letters: Lincoln to James Thornton, 1858 Dec. 2; Simeon Francis to Lincoln, 1859 Dec. 26; and David Logan to Lincoln, 1861 Sept. 5.

Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865

Early Oregon census and tax records, 1842-1880

  • Mss 1
  • Collection
  • 1842-1880

This collection consists of early census and tax records from the Oregon provisional and territorial governments and early Oregon statehood. The materials in this collection were gathered from early, mostly pre-1958, Oregon Historical Society Research Library accessions of census and tax related records. The early census and tax records document demographic and economic data for what are now portions of Oregon and California. Original census records include Elijah White's 1842 census; a census (1849) of males over the age of 21; Jackson County census rolls (ca. 1854-1855, 1858); a Washington County census (1856); a Washington County tax roll (1852); and an agricultural census for Clackamas County (1870). Typescript and photostat reproductions of census records include Joseph Meek's Census of Oregon (1845); Charles Wells’ Benton County census (1854); the United States Census roll for Coos County (1860); and a partial typescript of the 1880 United States Census for Wasco County. The collection also includes reports of the 1850 census for Butte and Calaveras counties in California.

Oral history interview with Norma Paulus

  • SR 3972
  • Collection
  • 1999-02-10 - 2000-11-02

This oral history interview with Norma Paulus was conducted by Clark Hansen at Paulus's home in Salem, Oregon, in Lincoln City, Oregon, and in Portland, Oregon; and at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, from February 10, 1999, to November 2, 2000, and from February 10 to 27, 2010. In the interview, Paulus discusses her family background and early life in Burns, Oregon, including life during World War II and contracting polio at the age of 19. She also discusses working as a secretary for the Harney County district attorney, Leland Beckham; moving to Salem to work for a law firm; working for Judge Earl Latourette; and going to law school. Paulus describes meeting Bill Paulus while attending law school; his family background; and their marriage. Paulus discusses her involvement with the Republican Party; working as an appellate lawyer for the Oregon Supreme Court; working on Wally Carson's campaign for the Oregon Legislature in 1965; and getting her first political appointment, to the Marion County Boundary Commission, where she focused on land-use and city planning issues. She focuses on managing a career in law and politics while raising two young children and building a house.

She then discusses her time in the Oregon House of Representatives, from 1970 to 1976, including environmental issues such as the Bottle Bill of 1971 and recycling; education; the criminal code; taxes; attempts to make Cape Kiwanda a state park; and the Rajneeshees. Paulus goes into detail about the women's caucus and the bills they focused on for women's rights, as well as efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. She describes working with Bob Smith, Paul Hanneman, Betty Roberts, Stafford Hansell, Jack Anunsen, Wally Priestly, Dick Eymann, Lynn Newbry, Glenn Jackson, Jason Boe, and Gretchen Kafoury. She also talks about being co-chair for Clay Myers' 1974 race for Oregon governor.

Paulus goes on to speak about her time as Oregon's first woman secretary of state from 1977 to 1985, including her first campaign in 1976 against Blaine Whipple; her efforts to increase voter turnout; and conducting audits, particularly of the Forestry Department. She also discusses the secretary of state's role as state archivist and the conflict between the Oregon State Archives and the Oregon Historical Society over which records belong with which institution. She also discusses working with Governor Vic Atiyeh. Paulus discusses running for governor against Neil Goldschmidt in 1986 and the challenges her campaign faced. She discusses her position on the Northwest Power Planning Council from 1987 to 1990, including working with Ted Hallock and Bob Duncan. She also discusses her position as Oregon superintendent of public instruction from 1990 to 1999, including her efforts to fund K-12 education. Paulus also relates a story about sharing an airplane with Moshe Dayan.

Paulus, Norma

Oral history interview with Charles E. Wright

  • SR611
  • Collection
  • 1991-07-03

This oral history interview with Charles E. Wright was conducted by Elizabeth Buehler on July 12, 1991. In the interview, Wright discusses his education at Yale Law School, particularly studying corporate law with Professor William O. Douglas, who was later a U.S. Supreme Court justice. He briefly discusses returning to Oregon in 1932 and working as a lawyer in Portland; working for the regional office of the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission in Seattle, Washington; and returning to private practice in Portland. He then returns to the topic of William O. Douglas.

Wright, Charles E. (Charles Edward Pares), 1906-1999

Interview with Thomas H. Mercer

  • SR 3974
  • Collection
  • 1976

This interview with Thomas Mercer was conducted circa 1976. In the interview, Mercer, who was running against Al Ullman, discusses his current campaign for a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives. He also discusses his heart issues and how they have affected his career; gun control; and health care. In addition to the interview, there is a recording of a question-and-answer session with Mercer and voters during his campaign. In the session, Mercer addresses questions regarding abortion and taxation.

Also on the audiocassettes with the Mercer interview is a speech delivered by an unidentified man circa 1977, regarding his experience in the Oregon Legislature, and a discussion held in Salem, Oregon, also circa 1977. The speakers in the discussion include Robert Marx, Anthony Meeker, Margaret Dereli, Mae Yih, Bill Rutherford, Wally Carson, Ken Jernstedt, Tony Van Vliet, and other unidentified legislators. Topics include municipal-, county-, and state-level taxation; revenue sharing; correctional institutions; SB 100 and land use planning; and energy conservation. It is unknown what, if any, relationship these recordings have to the Mercer interview.

Mercer, Thomas H.

Oral history interview with Allan Hart

  • SR 1200
  • Collection
  • 1986-04-15 - 1986-07-22

This oral history interview with Allan Hart was conducted by James Strassmaier at Hart's office in the KOIN Center in Portland, Oregon, from April 15 to July 22, 1986. In this interview, Hart discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon, including his education at Moran School. He talks about his education at Stanford University and Yale Law School, including his social life, his friendship with Boyd McNaughton, working for the Stanford and Yale papers, and the relationship between Yale and Harvard. He then discusses returning to Portland, joining his father's law firm, and cases he argued. Hart talks about serving as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1936 to 1938 and cases he prosecuted, including liquor and narcotics cases. He also discusses the Lawyers Guild and the Oregon State Bar; his investigations into the Red Squad; the De Jong case; and his work on an antitrust case involving the American Medical Association. He then discusses his work as counsel for the Bonneville Power Administration from 1938 to 1941, including the beginnings of BPA, as well as dealing with private utilities and aluminum companies, particularly PGE and Alcoa. Hart also describes his experience during World War II as an officer in the Judge Advocate General Corps in the Pacific Theater, and then during the occupation of Japan.

Hart discusses his return to law practice in 1946. He talks about taking on the Kenji Namba v. McCourt case as a way to overturn the Alien Land Law. He briefly discusses his involvement with the Oregon Democratic Party, as well as raising a family. He talks about establishing the Hart, Davidson, and Veazie firm in 1956, including working with Jebbie Davidson, as well as the subsequent changes the firm underwent, which ultimately led him to the law firm of Lindsay, Nahstoll, Hart, and Krause. He discusses his involvement with the American Civil Liberties Union and civil rights cases that he worked on. He discusses his involvement with education, including serving on the board of the Sylvan School District from 1952 to 1956, and facing issues of school funding; serving on the State Board of Higher Education; and serving on the board of Catlin Gabel School. Hart speaks at length about discriminatory practices at many Portland social clubs, as well as U.S. District Court Judge Gus Solomon's efforts against them. He then discusses his relationships with Solomon and U.S. Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas and Abe Fortas. Hart talks about his stymied aspirations of being appointed as a judge; political infighting in the Democratic Party; and additional cases he worked on. He revisits the topic of the Bonneville Power Administration, describing the changes it underwent after World War II, as well as the WPPSS crisis of the 1980s. Hart closes the interview by discussing his retirement activities.

Hart, Allan (Charles Allan), 1909-2002

Oral history interview with Noreen Saltveit McGraw

  • SR 2409
  • Collection
  • 1996-11-29 - 1996-11-29

This oral history interview with Noreen Saltveit McGraw was conducted by Jim Strassmaier on November 29, 1996, as part of the Legacy of Hope: Catholics and Social Justice Project. In this interview, McGraw discusses representing the Hmong community, with the help of Reverend Morton Parks, in a case where a baby's spinal cord had been severed during delivery. McGraw mediated the dispute over whether to continue life support.

McGraw, Noreen Saltveit, 1934-

Photo Art Commercial Studio photographs

  • Org. Lot 791 - 1944
  • Collection
  • 1944

The Photo Art Commercial Studio Collection represents the work of one of Portland’s premiere commercial photography firms. The collection consists of hundreds of thousands of negatives, plus prints, slides, and film footage, from 1936 to 1998. This exceptional collection is rich in Northwest scenic views, portraits, photographs of community events and organizations, and business products and operations. Prominent Northwest photographers, such as Ray Atkeson, photographed for the studio.

Photo Art Studios was opened in 1925 by Claude F. Palmer who had operated a small photo studio as a teenager. Photo Art began as a photofinishing operation, expanding in later years to commercial and advertising photography, motion pictures, and photo murals. In 1959, John Patterson, an Oregonian who was studying photography, joined the staff of Photo Art. In 1965, Patterson became a partner in the business with Claude Palmer; Patterson assumed full ownership in 1978 after Palmer’s retirement.

Palmer, Claude F., 1899-1991

Carleton E. Watkins photographs, 1861-1885

  • Org. Lot 93
  • Collection
  • 1861 - 1885

This collection contains stereographs, cartes de visite, cabinet and boudoir cards, photograph albums, mammoth plates, and other loose prints taken by landscape photographer Carleton E. Watkins, 1861-1885. Watkins photographs that were taken before he lost his Yosemite Art Gallery studio in 1876 to Isaiah W. Taber are known as his "Old Series." Watkins photographs taken after 1876 are referred to as his "New Series." The collection contains both Old Series and New Series images and includes some of Watkins' photographs printed under Taber's imprint..

The bulk of the stereographs and mammoth plate photographs in this collection were taken during Watkins' trips to Oregon to photograph Portland, the Willamette River, and the Columbia River in 1867 (Old Series), as well as in 1882, 1883, and the winter of 1884-1885 (New Series). There are also some stereographs that were taken by Watkins on his 1882 voyage to photograph Puget Sound in the Washington Territory and Victoria in British Columbia. Other mammoth plates, cartes de visite, and stereographs depict views of places in California, including Yosemite and Mariposa County, the Farallon Islands and other scenes of the California coast, San Francisco, Round Top, Mount Lola, and Mount Shasta, as well as views of Utah taken for the Union Pacific Railroad. There are also cabinet card portraits taken by Watkins of various people, including Oregon railroad financier Simeon Gannett Reed and members of the family of Cornelius C. Beekman (1828-1915), banker from Jacksonville, Or.

The collection also contains two photograph albums assembled by Watkins and originally owned by Charles H. Prescott (b. 1839), manager of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Co. from 1881-1887. One album, "Sun Sketches of Columbia River Scenery," contains images taken by Watkins during his trips to the Columbia River Gorge circa 1882-1883, and the second album, ""Great Storm of the Winter of 1884-5. Columbia River, Or.," contains images that he took during a winter blizzard in December and January of 1884-1885 that snowed in an Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. train on its tracks along the Columbia River. The collection also contains one group of stereographs entitled "Watkins' Pacific Railroad" that were originally taken by Alfred A. Hart, official photographer for the Central Pacific Railroad, between 1862-1869 and reprinted by Watkins under his own imprint after 1870.

Watkins, Carleton E., 1829-1916

Cartes-de-Visite photographs

  • Org. Lot 500
  • Collection
  • 1855 - 1905

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. Cartes- de- visite were traded among friends and visitors and they were popularly displayed in albums. 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. Photographs of celebrities, military, and political figures were also popular for collecting and trading. Cartes- de- visite were superseded by Cabinet cards, a similar, larger format of roughly 4.5 x 6.5 inches, in the 1870s, but they remained popular into the 20th century.

This artificial collection was accumulated from accessions containing cartes- de- visite photographs acquired prior to 2010 by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library. The cartes- de- visite were originally part of a topical photograph collection and were separated into their own collection to address preservation concerns. The numbering scheme for the collection reflects their original placement within the topical photograph collection. As a result, numbering in this collection is not sequential. The collection includes portraits taken from about 1855 through the early 1900s. Many of the portraits have attached biographical information. Portraits by many well-known Oregon photography studios are represented in this collection, including Joseph Buchtel, Andrew B. Paxton, Isaac G. Davidson, Peter Britt, and F. A. Smith. The collection also contains images of locomotives, ships, buildings, and landscapes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also included is the Photographer Study Collection, which contains sample work from several studios in Oregon, California, and Washington. The portraits in this series are unidentified with the exception of a small selection of portraits that were identified after the collection was assembled.

In addition to Oregon-related materials, the collection includes cartes- de- visite of notable military, political, and celebrity figures from the late 19th century. The most common subjects are American Civil War portraits, a series of illustrations of George and Martha Washington, European notables cards, and advertisements.

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