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Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998
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Oral history interview with Al Monner

  • SR 1068
  • Collection
  • 1993-02-25 - 1993-03-04

This oral history interview with Al Monner was conducted by Donald J. Sterling at Monner's home in Portland, Oregon, from February 25 to March 4, 1993. The interview was conducted in two sessions.

In the first interview session, conducted on February 25, 1993, Monner discusses his family background and early life on a farm in Kaskela, Oregon, including his education, his sister, and his recreational activities. He then talks about moving to Portland in 1923, his high school education, and his early interest in photography. He speaks about working for a public library, attending Linfield College, and working as a developer and photographer for Brubaker Aerial Surveys. He discusses working for Photo Art Studio, his friendship with Ray Atkeson, and his involvement with the Wy'east Climbers.

In the second interview session, conducted on March 4, 1993, Monner revisits the topics of his family background, and working as a developer and photographer for Brubaker Aerial Surveys. He speaks about his early career as a photographer for the Oregonian newspaper and describes his photography equipment. He then discusses his career as a photographer for the Oregon Journal newspaper, his photography equipment, and some of his assignments. He also talks about his freelance work, as well as photography he did for himself; photographers he worked with, including Minor White; and his involvement with the Mazamas and mountain climbing. He speaks about his marriage to Catherine Elizabeth Gnadinger, and about his children, their careers, and their families. He speaks at length about photographing Portland's Romani community and Native Americans. He then talks about Catherine Elizabeth Monner's death in 1961 and his retirement activities. He closes the interview by discussing famous people and events that he photographed.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Al Monner news negatives

  • Org. Lot 1284
  • Collection
  • 1936-1974

The vast majority of this collection is made up of negatives created by Al Monner for the Oregon Journal. A small number of negatives were likely created by fellow Journal photographer Ralph Vincent, also for the Oregon Journal. While it's likely that almost all the negatives in this collection were created as part of Monner's work for the Journal, some images may also be his personal work. Most of the negatives are black and white, with a handful of color images taken in the 1950s and 1960s. A small selection of images from 1936 to 1938 were likely taken during Monner's time at the Oregonian newspaper. Large-format negatives from 1936 to 1959 have been processed and inventoried, while 35mm film from 1959 to 1974 remains unprocessed.

The photographs highlight over 30 years of current events in and around the Portland area, with a smaller number taken elsewhere in the state. Yearly events, such as the Portland Rose Festival and the Pendleton Round-Up, are featured prominently. A substantial number of images from the 1940s show Portland war efforts during World War II, featuring photographs of shipyards, soldiers, and rationing efforts at home. A small number of photographs also show early incarceration of Japanese Americans. Monner also frequently photographed dam-building efforts on the Columbia River at Celilo Village, The Dalles, and Bonneville.

Also included are photographs of accident scenes, fires, explosions, new building projects, sporting events, contest winners, and important national figures visiting the Portland area. Taken together, the collection displays the breadth of Monner's work as a photojournalist, covering the everyday to the exciting.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Railroad Employees Pose Outside a Train

Photograph of 3 railroad employees posing outside a train. From left to right, they are a conductor, a brakeman, and another conductor. The conductor on the left stands on the ground while the brakeman and conductor on the right stand on the steps leading up into the train. All 3 hang onto a handlebar on the outside of the train. They look at the camera and smile. Stamp on the back for Alfred A. Monner, photographer for the Oregon Journal.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Hotel Chewaucan in Paisley, Oregon

View of the Hotel Chewaucan, located on a street corner in Paisley, Oregon. On the corner of the street is a sign designating the road as Oregon Highway 31 and a directional marker showing the distance and direction to nearby towns, including Bend, Lakeview, Bly and more. One automobile is parked in front of the hotel. The caption on the negative sleeve reads, "Search for robbers of Paisley post office" (negative 6 of 9).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

General Store in Paisley, Oregon

View of a road and businesses in Paisley, Oregon. On the left, several automobiles are parked in front of a store with a sign that reads, "Paisley Merc. General Merchandise." A large tree stands next to the store. Several other shops, including a grocery store, are visible to the right and up the street. The caption on the negative sleeve reads, "Search for robbers of Paisley post office" (negative 4 of 9).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Railroad Delegation for Retirement of Conductor F.P. Allen

Photograph of 4 railroad employees standing in front of a train. The second from the left is Railroad Conductor F.P. Allen, who wears his uniform. The other 3 men wear suits with hats and trench coats. Typed note on the back of the print reads, "Part of railroad delegation on arrival SP&S train No. 1 Portland Union Station March 18, 1952 on the occasion of retirement of SP&S conductor, F.P. Allen: J L Monahan, Asst. Superintendent F P Allen, Conductor A J Hunt, Asst. to Vice President and General Manager
H W Shields, General Passenger Agent." Stamp on back for Alfred A. Monner, photographer for the Oregon Journal.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Railroad Delegation for Retirement of Conductor F.P. Allen

Photograph of a group of men standing in front of an SP&S train. Most of the men wear suits, hats, and trenchcoats, except for 2 men who wear railroad conductor uniforms. The 6th from the left is Railroad Conductor F.P. Allen, who is retiring. Typed note on the back of the print reads, "Railroad delegation on arrival SP&S train No. 1 Portland Union Station March 18, 1952 on occasion of retirement of SP&S conductor, F.P. Allen: W.T. Cowan, Superintendent of Dining Care
A.G. Marble, Chief of Personnel
J.H. Jones, Manager N.P. Terminal Co. H. Stall, Pullman Conductor
J.L. Monahan, Asst. Superintendent
F.P. Allen, Conductor
A.J. Hunt, Asst. to Vice President and General Manager
O.A. Johnson, Conductor
B.P. Bennett, Chairman O.R.C. and Conductor
E.A. Blew, Retired Conductor
B.E. Kennelly, Chairman B.R.T.
D.R. McDougall, Conductor
H.W. Shields, General Passenger Agent"
Stamp on the back for Alfred A. Monner, photographer for the Oregon Journal.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Engineer Albert Myles Aboard the Empire Builder, SP&S

Photograph of Train Engineer Albert Myles leaning out of a locomotive cab and waving his left hand in the air. Handwritten note on the back of the print reads, "Veteran Engineer Albert Myles arrives 'on time' at Portland, Oregon Union Station on the SP&S Empire Builder Sept. 19, 1951, completing last run on his 71st birthday." Stamp on the back for Alfred A. Monner, photographer for the Oregon Journal. This photograph was published in the Oregon Journal on September 19, 1951.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Engineer Albert Myles Celebrates His Last Run on the Empire Builder, SP&S

Photograph of Train Engineer Albert Myles smiling as he shakes the hand of J.A. Cannon on the left. They stand in front of an SP&S locomotive. Myles' wife stands on the right and a little girl stands in front, looking up at Cannon. Handwritten note on the back of the print reads, "General Supt. Motive Power J.A. Cannon congratulating Veteran Engineer Albert Myles on completion of his last run on his 71st birthday Sept. 19, 1951. Mrs. Myles and their granddaughter look on - in front of the Empire Builder locomotive." Stamp on the back for Alfred A. Monner, photographer for the Oregon Journal.

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest at Seaside

“Miss Oregon” contestants from Astoria, Lebanon, and Tongue Point, posing together on swings in Seaside. They wear matching bathing suits and sashes. Photographs from this series were published in the Oregon Journal on Sunday, July 29, 1951 (negative 21 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest at Seaside

“Miss Oregon” contestants on a stage at Seaside. They wear dresses and tutus, as they stand in a line in front of a painted background. Photographs from this series were published in the Oregon Journal on Sunday, July 29, 1951 (negative 9 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest at Seaside

“Miss Oregon” contestants from Eugene and Portland sit together on a piece of driftwood on a beach in Seaside. They wear matching bathing suits and sashes. Photographs from this series were published in the Oregon Journal on Sunday, July 29, 1951 (negative 11 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest at Seaside

“Miss Oregon” contestants from Newport, Tillamook County and The Dalles pose together on a lifeguard stand on a beach in Seaside. They wear matching bathing suits and sashes. Photographs from this series were published in the Oregon Journal on Sunday, July 29, 1951 (negative 18 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest at Seaside

Thirteen contests for the “Miss Oregon” contest pose as a group on a beach in Seaside. They each wear a matching bathing suit and sash representing their city or town. This photograph was published in the Oregon Journal on Sunday, July 29, 1951 (negative 2 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest winner, Seaside

Audrey Ann Mistretta being crowned the 1951 “Miss Oregon” winner. She wears a crown and cape while holding a bouquet of roses. She looks upward at a man in a suit. A photograph from this series was published in the Oregon Journal on Monday, July 30, 1951 (negative 7 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

"Miss Oregon" contest at Seaside

“Miss Oregon” contestants ride in the back of cars at the Seaside promenade on the Oregon Coast. The cars are looping around a monument for the Lewis and Clark trail, as one man stands in the middle holding a microphone. Spectators are gathered around the edges of the loop, and the beach can be seen in the distance. Thirteen contests for the “Miss Oregon” contest pose as a group on a beach in Seaside. They each wear a matching bathing suit and sash representing their city or town. Photographs from this series were published in the Oregon Journal on Sunday, July 29, 1951 (negative 8 of 37).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

Slats Gill Coliseum opening, Corvallis

The opening of the new Slats Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, at Oregon State College. Basketball players from the Oregon State Beavers are playing against the University of Utah. Looking downward from upper seating above the basketball court, players can be seen moving on the court, being watched by a seated audience. Photographs from this series were published in the Oregon Journal on Saturday, December 17, 1949 (negative 1 of 14).

Monner, Al (Alfred Anthony), 1909-1998

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