Historic and Contemporary Photograph Collections Saponowox, Yakima Indian, with two sons, in costume. Photo by Rutter, c.1910. Moorhouse collection, PH036-4149

Special Collections contains approximately half a million photographic images in its collections. Particular subject strengths include the history of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, including the history of timber and agriculture in the region, as well as photographic documentation of various sub-cultures and groups unique to Oregon, ranging from lesbian artist communities to the Rajneeshpuram community in Wasco County. Holdings also include important collections by significant documentary photographers and artists, among them the Doris Ulmann, Tee Corinne, John Bauguess, and Shawn Records. Please contact us if you are looking for a particular image.  

See the full list of photography collections in Special Collections.  A subset of our collections are also available digitally on Oregon Digital.  Please note, many photography collections are currently unprocessed and unavailable for immediate use.  We are working through the backlog of unprocessed materials.  If you are interested in an unprocessed collection, please fill out this form and we will review it for our processing queue.  We do not allow access to our glass-plate negative collections due to the handling issues of the fragile material. 

Other significant photo collections in Oregon: Oregon Historical Society, Salem Public Library, Archives of Oregon State University.

See Finding Primary Sources

Left: "Saponowox, Yakima Indian, with two sons, in costume." Photo by Rutter, c.1910. Moorhouse collection, PH036-4149. All rights reserved.

Selected Historic Collections

  • Clarence Andrews: Prints, albums and negatives from Alaska (1890s-1900s), 1,200 images.
  • Roy Andrews: Albums and negatives depicting schools in Lane County, Oregon (1911-1912), 220 images.
  • Stereo Collection: Artificial collection of images in stereograph format.
  • Angelus Studio: Prints and negatives depicting scenes and events in the Portland area (1870s-1930s), 10,000 images.
  • William H. Burton: 549 negatives and 2 albums of University of Oregon, Newport coast, and New York City, 1912-1915.
  • Brice P. Disque: Spruce Production operations of 1917.
  • June D. Drake: 28 vintage prints, c. 1905-1915.
  • Eugene Print Collection: 200 historic images of the Eugene vicinity.
  • James T. Gray: Prints and negatives, of Alaska and Oregon rivers (1902-1912), 250 images.
  • Joseph Lane: Vintage images related to the Oregon governor (1850s-1903), 8 images.
  • Print Collection: Artificial collection highlighting the history of photograhic processes. Subjects include architecture; local history; landscape; logging, shipping and railroads; and portraits.
  • William J. Smith: Images, mostly stereo, of the town of Detroit, Oregon, and logging operations (1898-1983), 67 images.
  • Doris Ulmann: Vintage prints, proof prints and glass-plate negatives featuring portraits of eminent literary figures, craftspeople and farmers from Appalachia and the Georgia Sea Islands (1920s-1934), 9,000 images.
  • Gertrude Bass Warner: approximately 5,500 hand-tinted lantern slides of art and culture of China, Japan, Korea and Cambodia from 1904 to 1929.

Pendleton Group

Images from Umatilla and the Pendleton area, c.1880-1957. Includes the Pendleton Roundup and many images of local tribes.

  • Walter S. Bowman (1865-1938): Bowman was a professional photographer noted for his images of Pendleton and the local tribes. Bowman images are found in many of the collections.
  • Electric Studio/ OJ Allen Photographs: Orla G. Allen (c. 1879-?) was a professional photographer operating in Pendleton, Oregon, circa 1910-1920. "Electric Studio" is a franchise name that appeared in locations throughout the West. 
  • Charles W. Furlong (1874-1967): was an explorer, adventurer, writer and scientist who documented his adventures in publications and notebooks and well as in photographs. The Furlong photographs include copies of his artwork, ethnographical evidence, historical events and personalities, and remote corners of the world. He was a competitor and chronicler for the Pendleton Round-Up, and helped establish the mythology of the American West.
  • Major Lee Moorhouse (1850-1926):Glass plate negatives depicting peoples, scenes, and events of Eastern Oregon (1897-1920), 6,300 images. Moorhouse collected work by other photographers, including Allen, Bowman, and others, sometimes identifying them as his own work.

Contemporary Collections

The Library also collects contemporary photographers, primarily those documenting ecological change and the conflict between man and nature, and alternative communities.