Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Ben L. Gifford Photographs, 1950-1955

Biographical Note:

Ben L. Gifford (1923-1996) was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of Ralph I. and Wanda Gifford, and graduated from Salem High School in May 1942. He attended Oregon State College as an engineering student in the fall of 1942 and then entered the U.S. Navy. Ben spent 23 months in the South Pacific working as an aircraft mechanic during World War II; he married Beth Greenlee in 1946. In 1946-1947, he took classes at the Vanport Extension Center in Portland and returned to Oregon State College in the fall of 1947, where he completed his BS in Business & Technology in 1950. Ben studied photography at the Fred Archer School of Photography in Los Angeles in 1950 and 1951 and in May 1951 began helping his mother with the family photography business. Ben also worked as a photographer for the Jesten-Miller Studio in Salem, Oregon, from 1951 to 1955.

In the family's photography business, Ben specialized in agricultural photography, particularly of the Willamette Valley's renowned agricultural resources. As his grandfather, father, and mother had done previously, he frequently visited and photographed the Mt. Hood area, particularly Timberline Lodge and its recreational activities.

Three generations of Gifford photography began to come to a close when Ben took an engineering job with the State Highway Commission in 1955. He worked there for 27 years, retiring in 1982. Ben died in August 1996 in Bend.


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