Historic Photograph Collections

Joseph Lane photographs, 1850s-1903.

Joseph Lane PH205_01Biographical Sketch
Scope and Contents
Related Materials

Collection number: PH205

Extent: .25 linear ft. (1 container)


Joseph Lane was a politician in Indiana, served in the military during the Mexican War, and was appointed first governor of the Oregon Territory. He served in Congress and ran for vice-president. The collection consists of portraits of Lane and family members, some unidentified, and one military scene of the anti-slavery conflict in Kansas in 1856. The collection has been digitized; click on thmbnails to view.

 On-line finding aid

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], Joseph Lane photographs, PH205-[item number], Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299.

Image shown: The image shown is a daguerreotype portrait of Joseph Lane, c. 1845-1850, Joseph Lane photograph collection, PH205-01, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299. All rights reserved. Portions of the frame and case survive but are not shown.

Biographical Sketch

Joseph Lane (1801-1881) was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina. In 1810 the family relocated to Kentucky. Lane moved to Indiana as an adult, and served as a state representative 1822-23, 1830-33, 1838-39; and then as a state senator 1839-40, 1844-46. In 1846, he received the commission of colonel in the 2nd Indiana Volunteers in the war against Mexico. Lane attained the rank of major-general in 1847 before his discharge in 1848.

President James K. Polk appointed Lane to be governor of the new Oregon Territory in 1848. After a hazardous midwinter journey with Joe Meek, Lane arrived at Oregon City in March 1849 to begin his duties. These duties included traveling to Walla Walla to secure the surrender of five Cayuse Indians accused in relation to the Whitman Massacre. Lane served as governor until June 1850. He became a territorial representative to Congress until Oregon became a state in 1859. He served as first Oregon senator from 1859 to 1861 and ran as a Democratic candidate for vice president on the unsuccessful Breckenridge ticket in 1860. Lane's pro-slavery Southern sympathies and his participation in an Oregon secession movement limited his political career in the 1860s. He spent the rest of his life on his land claim in the Umpqua Valley where he took no active part in politics. Joseph Lane died in Roseburg in 1881.

One of his sons, Lafayette Lane, served in Congress from 1875 to 1877; and a grandson, Dr. Harry Lane, was a U.S. Senator from 1913 to 1917, dying in office. Lane County, Oregon is named for Joseph Lane, as are schools in Roseburg and Portland.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of two daguerreotypes, two cabinet photographs, an ambrotype, a tintype and two silver gelatin copy prints.

PH205-01: Daguerreotype portrait of Joseph Lane, circa 1845-1850. Frame and portion of case survive. Photographer unknown.

PH205-02: Cased daguerreotype of two unidentified boys. Photographer unknown.

PH203-03 and PH203-04: Duplicate copy prints of vintage portrait of Lane as a young man. Original probably in collection of Douglas County Museum. [Not digitized.]

PH203-05: Ambrotype of watercolor of Battle of Hickory Point in the Kansas Free State War by Samuel James Reader, 1903. The Battle of Hickory Point occurred in the Kansas Territory on Sept. 13, 1856 between a small group of pro-slavery and free-state forces. Gen. James H. Lane (no known relation to Joseph Lane) is shown. However, the annotations on the back show that this was given to Joseph Lane's grandson, Harry Lane, then mayor of Portland, in 1907 by Salmon Brown. Salmon was the son of John Brown, active in the Kansas free-state movement and leader of the 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry. The Brown family fled to Oregon following John Brown's execution.

Stamped imprint on back: "Sam'l J. Reader, North Topeka, Kansas. Amateur photographer." Inked annotation on back: "The Missourians are in the two log houses, called Hickory Point, north of Kansas River. Lane was repulsed. Next day, Sept. 14, Capt. Harvey fought them but failed also. I was with Lane. S.J. Reader." Sam Reader (1836-1914) was a lieutenant in the 2nd regiment of the Kansas State Militia and fought to repulse the Confederate advance in Missouri and Kansas in 1864. He kept a diary illustrated with watercolors of the events of the conflicts that are considered significant eyewitness documents. The Kansas Museum of History holds a version of this painting. The Kansas State Historical Society holds Reader's diaries. Penciled annotation on back: "Portland 1907. Friend Mayor Lane. This was sent to me by a friend. I thought you would like to keep it. Respectfully, Salmon Brown. "

PH205-06: Cabinet portrait of the daughters of Mrs. Winifred Lane Mosher and granddaughters of Gen. Joseph Lane, posed by portraits of their forebears, by Abell & Son of Portland, circa 1884-1887.

PH205-07: Cabinet portrait of four young women identified as Alice Mosher Urllis, Emma Mosher Cowan (both standing), Anna Mosher, and Winifred Mosher (both seated), posed with tea set. Photographer unknown.


PH205-08: Tintype on later card mount of unidentified man. Photographer unknown.

Related materials

Related materials are housed in the Joseph Lane Papers, Ax 183.


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 purchased in 1987.

Processed by: Normandy S. Helmer

Date Completed: September 2005