Randall V Mills photographs c 1937-1952
Historic Photograph Collections
Randall V. Mills photographs, c. 1937-1952.
Collection number: PH008
Extent: 3 linear feet (11 albums)
Randall V. Mills (1907-1952) was an English professor and folklorist who was also fascinated by the history of transportation in the Northwest.
Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Randall V. Mills photographs, PH008-[item number], Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299.
Image shown: The image shown is " A study in nonchalance. An Oregon City train with motor 1065" by Stephen D. Maguire, undated. Randall V. Mills collection, PH008-1058, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299.
Randall Vause Mills, born in Wisconsin in 1907, was an English professor with a variety of interests related to the Pacific Northwest. Educated in California, he received his undergraduate degree in 1929 from UCLA and his master\'s from UC-Berkley in 1932. He joined the University of Oregon English faculty in 1938.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mills wrote two books and numerous articles. One of his primary interests was the history of transportation in the Pacific Northwest, especially steamboats and railroads. Growing up he had a chance to see steamboats in action and, at one point, worked for a steamship company in Los Angeles. His first book, Stern-Wheelers Up Columbia, was published in 1947 and gives a general account of steamship navigation on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. His interest in railroads took hold as a young boy, continuing throughout his life and culminating in 1950 with the publication of his book Railroads Down the Valleys: Some Short Lines of the Oregon Country. Steamships and railroads were the subjects of numerous other published articles as well.
Another subject for which Mills showed enthusiasm was folklore, particularly proverbs, dialect, songs, superstitions and place names. He was the founder and first president of the Oregon Folklore Society. Serving as Director for the Oregon branch of the American Dialect Society, he also chaired the state sub-committee for the collection of dialect sayings. He held the positions of associated editor for Western Folklore. The University of Oregon has named its Folklore Archives in honor of Mills.
Mills also found the subject of covered bridges of interest. He investigated all aspects, from builders to construction to materials to need and location.
Randall Mills died in 1952 at the age of 44.
The collection consists of contemporary images and copies of vintage images, taken or collected by Mills. The source of the original images is not known, but evidence suggests that Mills acquired images from dealers including George Abdill, E.D. Culp, Portland General Electric, Charles V. Hess, T.G. Wurm, Frederick Shaw, R.D. Kimmel, Charles S. Jones, Joe Smith, Douglas F. Richter, Moody, and Arthur Lloyd, Jr. Fifty-eight images by W.J. Gould (1854-1926), a British Canadian photographer who claimed to have worked in Oregon early in his career, may also be included.
The first twelve albums are scrapbooks assembled and captioned by Mills, focusing on rolling stock. The last four contain 164 images documenting shipping on the Columbia River.
|Album 1||Railways: Northern California, Nevada, Colorado & Oregon Electric.|
|Album 2||Pacific Electric|
|Album 3||Electric Railways: California|
|Album 4||Southern Pacific Lines and Pacific Electric Railway|
|Album 5||Miscellaneous Electric Railways & Trolleys (Portland Wide Gauge)|
|Album 6||Electric Railways of California|
|Album 7||Miscellaneous Railways: Western Pacific, Panama, El Paso & Southwestern, etc. Viaducts.|
|Album 8||Railroads: National, Santa Fe, B&O, Bridgton & Harrison, etc.|
|Album 9||Electric Railways (Trolley Cars): Ohio thru Wisconsin, plus British Columbia and Ontario|
|Album 10||Electric Railways (Trolley Cars): Alabama thru North Carolina|
|Album 11||Oregon Railroads: Steam|
|Album 12||Portland Railway, Light & Power Co., & Predecessor Companies (Narrow Gauge)|
|Album 13||[Sternwheelers of the Northwest, 1-40]|
|Album 14||[Sternwheelers of the Northwest, 41-81]|
|Album 15||[Northwest shipping personnel, Cascade portage, stamps, and river towns, 82-123]|
|Album 16||[Early Portland, 124-164]|
The papers of Randall V. Mills are held in the Manuscripts collections, Coll. 88, and include correspondence, notes and drafts of books related to transportation, in addition to other aspects of his research. The finding aid is onlin through Northwest Digital Archives at http://nwda-db.wsulibs.wsu.edu/documents/retrieve.asp?docname=orucoll_088.xml
Randall V. Mills Archives of Northwest Folklore is a repository of Oregon folklore, named for Mills and housed on the University of Oregon campus, that includes materials collected by Mills.
Publication rights: Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish images must be submitted to the Photographs Curator of Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Access restrictions: None.
Provenance: The collection was donated by Hazel Mills, Randall's wife, shortly after his death in 1952.
Processed by: Megan Dazey
Date Completed: May 2005