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Ben L. Gifford Photographs, 1950-1955

By Finding aid prepared by Lawrence A. Landis; updated by Elizabeth Nielsen

Collection Overview

Title: Ben L. Gifford Photographs, 1950-1955

Predominant Dates: 1951

ID: P 218-SG 5

Primary Creator: Gifford, Ben L.

Extent: 0.6 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Ben L. Gifford Photographs are arranged in 15 series: I. Fred Archer School of Photography Class Assignments, 1951; II. Numbered Images, 1950; III. General Farm Scenes, 1951; IV. Farm Animals, 1951; V. Farm Buildings, 1951; VI. Soil Erosion and Conservation, 1951; VII. Cultivation of Soil, 1951; VIII. Farm Children, 1951; IX. Harvest, 1951; X. Horticulture, 1951; XI. Public Buildings and Structures, 1951; XII. Commercial Work, 1951; XIII. Scenic Views, 1951; XIV. Color Postcards, circa 1955; and XV. Unnumbered Photographs, 1954-1955.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]

Abstract

The Ben L. Gifford Photographs consist of images taken by Ben L. Gifford in the early-mid 1950s as he completed his senior year at Oregon State College, pursued photographic training at the Fred Archer School of Photography, and then joined the family photography business in Salem, Oregon. The images document agriculture, primarily in the Willamette Valley, and also include images of Timberline Lodge and the Mt. Hood area. Ben L. Gifford was the son of photographers Ralph I. and Wanda Gifford; Ben L. worked as a photographer from 1950 until 1955, when he began working as an engineer with the Oregon State Highway Commission.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Scope and Content Notes

Ben L. Gifford's photographs were taken between 1950 and 1955 as he completed his senior year at Oregon State College, pursued photographic training at the Fred Archer School of Photography, and then joined the family photography business in Salem, Oregon. The photographs include scenes of Oregon State College and the Corvallis area, especially fellow students at Colorado Lake. Photographs that Gifford made as part of his classwork at the Fred Archer School of Photography in Los Angeles are part of the collection. Most of these photographs were probably made in California; they depict various subjects and reflect several forms of commercial photograph, including advertising and still life.

The bulk of the collection (Series III through XIII) is comprised of images made by Ben during May and June 1951, soon after he joined the family photograph business that are arranged in groups (1A through 16P) by topic. Most of these images document agriculture, primarily in the Willamette Valley, and include images of dairy and beef cattle, horses, sheep, and a goat; barns and silos; harvesting of strawberries, apples, gooseberries, and cherries; and FFA and 4-H stock shows. Many of the agricultural scenes were submitted to and published in agricultural trade magazines such as Hoard's Farm Journal. These series also include images of the Marion County Courthouse and Oregon State Capitol and scenic views of the Wallowa Mountains and Wallowa Lake. A few of the images may have been taken by Wanda Gifford.

The collection also includes unnumbered photographs taken in 1954-1955 that depict workers at the State Highway Department; Hoo Doo Bowl and Santiam Lodge at Santiam Pass; and Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood. Numerous images of skiers, snow-covered trees and landscapes, and snowplows are included.

The primary format in the collection is 4x5 film negative. Prints are included for about half of the negatives.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Biographical / Historical Notes

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.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 485 photographs; 4 boxes, including 2 oversize boxes

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The photographs were transferred from the Oregon State University Horner Museum to the University Archives in July 1996.

Related Materials:

This is one component of the Gifford Photographic Collection (P 218) held by the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Other components are: Benjamin A. Gifford Photographs (P 218-SG 1); Ralph I. Gifford Photographs (P 218-SG 2); Ralph I. Gifford Motion Pictures (P 218-SG 3); Wanda Gifford Photographs (P 218-SG 4); Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown or Other Photographers (P 218-SG 6); and Gifford Collection Documentary Materials (P 218-SG 7).

Other photographs made by Ben L. Gifford are part of the Wanda Gifford Photographs (P 218-SG 4); some of the photographs in the Unknown or Other Photographers component of the Gifford collection (P 218-SG 6) may have been taken by Ben L. Gifford.

See also: The Gifford Photographic Digital Collection, a growing online repository of the Gifford Family photographers' documentation of Oregon from 1890-1950.

The Richard W. Gilkey Photographs (P 252) include many images of Oregon State College students and activities during the time period that Ben L. Gifford was a student in the late 1940s to early 1950s. The Robert E. McDole Papers (MSS McDole) include a notebook for a photography course that McDole took at Oregon State College during this period.

Preferred Citation: Ben L. Gifford Photographs (P 218-SG 5), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before December 1, 2015.

Creators

Gifford, Ben L.

People, Places, and Topics

4-H clubs--Oregon.
Agriculture--Oregon.
Corvallis (Or.)
Fred Archer School of Photography (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Fruit-culture--Oregon.
Gifford, Ben L.
Gifford, Wanda.
Hood, Mount (Or.)
Landscape photography--Oregon.
Livestock--Oregon.
Local History
Natural Resources
Oregon Association of Future Farmers of Amerca.
Oregon State College--Students.
Photography--Study and teaching--California--Los Angeles.
Salem (Or.)
Santiam Pass (Or.)
Skis and skiing--Oregon.
Snow--Oregon.
Timberline Lodge (Mount Hood, Or.)
University History
Youth--Oregon--Societies and clubs.

Forms of Material

Film negatives.
Photographic prints.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.