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Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown or Other Photographers, circa 1915-1955

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

Collection Overview

Title: Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown or Other Photographers, circa 1915-1955

Predominant Dates: 1935-1950

ID: P 218-SG 6

Primary Creator: Gifford family.

Extent: 0.5 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown and Other Photographers are arranged in two series: I. Unknown Photographers, circa 1915-1955 and II. Other Photographers, circa 1930-1955.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]

Abstract

The Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown or Other Photographers consists of images created and assembled by the Gifford Family. Many of the photographs may have been taken by Ralph I. Gifford, his wife Wanda, or his son Ben L. in the course of their photographic work. The photographs include portrait photographs; scenic views of Oregon landmarks; and images of agriculture, primarily in the Willamette Valley, and public buildings and businesses in Salem, Oregon.

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

Scope and Content Notes

The Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown or Other Photographers consists of images created and assembled by the Gifford Family. They include images for whom the photographer is not identified as well as a few images that were taken by other (non-Gifford family) photographers. Many of the photographs described as "unknown photographer" may have been taken by Ralph I. Gifford, his wife Wanda, or his son Ben L. in the course of their photographic work, but their is not enough information provided with the images to specifically and confidently determine the photographer. The images include portrait photographs; scenic views of Oregon landmarks; and photographs of agriculture, primarily in the Willamette Valley, and public buildings and businesses in Salem, Oregon. Of special note are a set of photographs of Berg's Supermarket in Salem, Oregon, and images of canning and food processing operations for green beans, mushrooms, and strawberries.

Images by other photographers primarily depict Oregon scenes such as the Columbia River Gorge and Highway, the Hood River Valley, and the Fossil Beds. Photographers include the Photo-Art Commercial Studios and the Angelus Commercial Studio in Portland.

Most of the images in this collection (about two-thirds) are prints without accompanying camera negatives; the remainder of the collection is camera negatives. These include 4x5, 5x7, and 120 film negatives and several nitrate negatives. Only a few items have both a camera negative and print of the same image.

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

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Gifford Family is considered Oregon's first family of photography. Beginning in 1888, when Benjamin A. Gifford emigrated to Portland from Kansas, they began a photographic tradition that lasted into the 1950s and spanned three generations. Benjamin A. Gifford worked as photographer in Portland and The Dalles, Oregon, from the late 1880s until about 1920, when his son Ralph took over his studio in Portland. In 1936, Ralph became the first photographer of the newly established Travel and Information Department of the Oregon State Highway Department, a position he held until his death in 1947. After her husband's death, Wanda Muir Gifford took over the family's photography business and continued to take and sell photographs through the mid-1950s. Ben L. Gifford, the son of Ralph I. and Wanda Gifford, joined his mother in the family's business in early 1950s and also worked for a Salem photography studio from 1951 until 1955. Three generations of Gifford photography began to come to a close when Ben took an engineering job with the State Highway Commission in 1955.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 273 photographs; 6 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); Ben L. Gifford Photographs (P 218-SG 5); and Gifford Collection Documentary Materials (P 218-SG 7).

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

Preferred Citation: Gifford Collection Photographs by Unknown and Other Photographers (P 218-SG 6), 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 family.
Gifford, Ben L.
Gifford, Ralph I.
Gifford, Wanda.

People, Places, and Topics

Agriculture--Oregon.
Cascade Range
Fruit processing plants--Oregon.
Gifford family.
Landscape photography--Oregon.
Natural Resources
Pacific Coast (Or.)
Portrait photography--Oregon.
Salem (Or.)
Vegetable processing plants--Oregon.

Forms of Material

Film negatives.
Nitrate negatives.
Photographic prints.


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