Research and Library

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Welcome to the Davies Family Research Library! We invite you to explore the world's largest collection of Oregon-related materials, including  photographs, manuscripts, books, maps, oral histories, motion pictures, videotapes, newspapers, ephemera, and much more. All our resources are available to everyone.

Note that some library materials are stored off-site and must be ordered a week in advance.  For information, please contact us at libreference@ohs.org or call 503-306-5240.

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Our Library and Research Resources

Visit the Library

The Oregon Historical Society Research Library is open to any researcher, professional or non-professional, who is working on a specific research project.

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Location

Oregon Historical Society
Davies Family Research Library
1200 SW Park Ave, 4th Floor
Portland, OR 97205
Tel. 503-306-5240
Email: libreference@ohs.org

Hours

Closed September 25 – 29 for collections maintenance

Tuesdays:
1pm – 5pm 

Wednesday – Saturday:
10am – 5pm

Admission

There is no charge for admission to the Research Library.

Museum admission information

Our Collections

The Oregon Historical Society's Research Library maintains thousands of books, maps, manuscripts, serials, vertical files, newspaper microfilm,...

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What’s Available Online

Since almost all of our collections are in closed stacks and are only available for use onsite in our Research Library, researchers use our...

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Research Help

Learn how to use the resources of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library to perform many different kinds of research.

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Library Online Catalog

The Research Library’s online catalog provides researchers with expanded search capabilities to find a wide variety of materials held by the...

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OHS Digital Collections

High-resolution digital images, documents, and recordings of selected items and some entire collections are available for educational and research use on the OHS Digital Collections website. This is a new initiative of the OHS Research Library, intended to broaden public access to our extensive collections.

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Oregon Historical Quarterly covers

Oregon Historical Quarterly

The Journal of Record for Oregon History

The Oregon Historical Quarterly is a scholarly asset and a public resource that is dedicated to putting the power of history into everyone’s hands and to advancing knowledge in all corners...

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Research Fellowships

The Donald J. Sterling, Jr. Fellowships in Pacific Northwest History at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland have been established through an endowment, made possible by...

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Staff Favorites from the OHS Digital Collections Site

To celebrate the Oregon Historical Society Digital Collections’ first year, we’re sharing some of our staff’s favorite items from the website.

Do you have a favorite image? Share it with the hashtag #happybirthdayohsdc !

Soldiers from Lord Strathcona’s horse regiment, 1938 Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0374N1193

“I’ve always been a sucker for uniformed pageantry.”

– Jeffrey Hayes, Archivist

Soldiers from Lord Strathcona’s horse regiment, 1938
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0374N1193

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/soldiers-from-lord-strathconas-horse-regiment

Wading in the Santa Cruz River, 1910 William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 A0065

“This was in the first batch of Finley materials we put up. While the wildlife photographs are amazing, and the quality of images is striking, to me, scenes like this stand out.

Family is a common subject throughout this collection, and it’s really touching to watch them grow as you make your way through it.”

– Mathieu Deschaine, Digital Collections Manager

Wading in the Santa Cruz River, 1910
William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 A0065

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/wading-in-the-santa-cruze-river

Mrs. George Loy, 1933-1941 Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0372A362

“As the person digitizing the Oregon Journal collection, I've handled literally thousands of images, but every so often, one really sticks with me. I never cease to be delighted that Mrs. George Loy's penetratingly skeptical gaze has been immortalized on film.

Decades later, the force of it remains undiminished. If you were thinking of bringing any nonsense her way, her face seems to say, you'd best think again.”

– Katie Mayer, Digital Project Archivist

Mrs. George Loy, 1933-1941
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0372A362

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/mrs-george-loy

Oral History Interviews with Yoneko Nadyne Dozono, by Clark Hansen, 1998 January 23 -February 5, SR 976

“Yoneko Dozono’s oral history tells a unique story. She was an American citizen, a Nisei, who grew up in Portland and then went to Japan as a teenager, where she spent the lead up and entirety of World War II, while her family was sent to the internment camps. After the war, she worked as a translator for the American troops. I find this glimpse into everyday life of the average woman in Japan during World War II fascinating.”

– Sara Stroman, Oral History Librarian

Oral History Interviews with Yoneko Nadyne Dozono,
by Clark Hansen, 1998 January 23 -February 5, SR 976

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/sr-976-oral-history-interviews-with-nadyne-yoneko-dozono

Theodore Bohlman with a puppy, 1914, Herman T. Bohlman Photograph Collection P202, Oregon State University

“What’s not to love about a vintage photo of a little boy and his puppy in the summertime?”

– Karen Peinl, Administrative & Development Assistant

Theodore Bohlman with a puppy, 1914, Herman T. Bohlman
Photograph Collection P202, Oregon State University

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/theodore-bohlman-with-a-puppy

Chicken perched on a branch Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N3334

“I think this photo is something to crow about. ☺”

– Debora Sanberg, Museum Store Coordinator

Chicken perched on a branch
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N3334

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/chicken-perched-on-branch-2

Dick Irvin, hockey player for Portland Rosebuds Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N5905

“There is a set of photos of the 1925-1926 Portland Rosebuds and there are several reasons why I think they’re great. First, I’m a sports uniform nerd, and these sweaters are exquisite. Second, before I moved hockey was a big part of my life, and these images got me curious about Portland’s hockey past. I had no idea that the Rosebuds competed for theStanley Cup and even more surprising I learned that the roster of this 1925-1926 team was sold to become the Chicago Black Hawks—one of the “Original Six” NHL Teams. Also Dick Irvin, pictured, went on to become one of the best hockey coaches ever, winning almost 700 games and four Stanley Cups with two franchises.”

– Mathieu Deschaine, Digital Collections Manager

Dick Irvin, hockey player for Portland Rosebuds
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N5905

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/371n5905

Don Q. Quail perched atop Jill (dog) in the snow, 1926 William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 D1898

“I love being reminded that our obsession with unusual animal friendships predates the invention on the internet. Here’s William Finley’s pets: Jill the dog and Don Q. Quail.”

– Molly Cochran, Major Gifts Officer

Don Q. Quail perched atop Jill (dog) in the snow, 1926
William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 D1898

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/don-q-quail-and-jill-14

Mazama Climber on Mount Jefferson, 1917. Herman T. Bohlman Photograph Collection P202, Oregon State University

“I like this photograph because it depicts the important participation and contributions of women in the early mountaineering movement in the Pacific Northwest. While we often think of early early climbers as men posing with alpenstocks and wool outfits, many of the early climbing expeditions in the late 1800s to peaks such as Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson (depicted here) included female climbers (who, by the way, often climbed in full skirts).”

– Lindsey Benjamin, Archives Specialist

Mazama Climber on Mount Jefferson, 1917. Herman T. Bohlman
Photograph Collection P202, Oregon State University

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/mazama-climber-2

Moonlight from Bird Rocks, Cannon Beach, Oregon 1909 Kiser Photo Co. photographs, Org. Lot 140, ba021251

“Oregon is a profoundly beautiful state. These photographs capture that well for me, and I like that these proofs capture the process of colorization of the prints. There are several examples in the collection of the same print recolored in different ways, sometimes creating dramatic differences in the scene.”

– Mathieu Deschaine, Digital Collections Manager

Moonlight from Bird Rocks, Cannon Beach, Oregon 1909
Kiser Photo Co. photographs, Org. Lot 140, ba021251

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/moonlight-from-bird-rocks

Preliminary abstract of votes, November 1857 Oregon election Oregon elections collection, 1846-1888; Mss 1231; Box 01, Folder 1

“I like the preliminary results of the 1857 election. I like this one because I remember when Elerina came across it, and we spent time researching it. Plus, it’s an example of how digital collections isn’t just images.”

– Jeffrey Hayes, Archivist

Preliminary abstract of votes, November 1857 Oregon election
Oregon elections collection, 1846-1888; Mss 1231; Box 01, Folder 1

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/preliminary-abstract-of-votes-november-1857-oregon-election

Turkey and two dogs, one carrying hatchet. Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N3353

“I love it because it is downright funny…”

– Shannon Bougher, Director of Human Resources

Turkey and two dogs, one carrying hatchet.
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N3353

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/turkey-and-two-dogs-one-carrying-hatchet

Harris, baseball player for Portland Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0369N0204

“As a baseball geek especially when it comes to uniforms and logos I was very excited to see this image. This was my first opportunity to view a photograph of a player in a Portland Webfoots uniform and it did not disappoint with its silhouetted duck in profile. The subject of the photograph was most likely William Harris who was on the 1902 team. The Webfoots were the first professional baseball team to call Vaughn Street Park home.”

– Andrew VanDerZanden, Visitor Services & Museum Store

Harris, baseball player for Portland
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0369N0204

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/harris-baseball-player-for-portland-2

Kiralfy's Carnival of Venice, Lewis and Clark Exposition, 1905 Kiser Photo Co. photographs, Org. Lot 140, OrHi 68756

“The Kiser photos that were taken during the Lewis and Clark Expo of 1905 are some of my favorites. I have seen them in our collection before, but with the OHSDC, the images are scanned in at such a high resolution that you are able to experience so many fantastic details in these photos that I was never able to take in before they were made available in this forma t. Any of the shots of Portland’s “little Venice” just blow my mind as it is so hard to picture something like this in modern day NW Portland!”

– Rachel Randles, Communications & Marketing Manager

Kiralfy’s “Carnival of Venice”, Lewis and Clark Exposition, 1905
Kiser Photo Co. photographs, Org. Lot 140, OrHi 68756

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/kiralfys-carnival-of-venice-lewis-and-clark-exposition

Herman T. Bohlman Lecture Notes, circa 1900-1920; Coll 542; Box 1, Folder 1; Hand painted lantern slides, Portland Audubon Society

“My favorite item is the first set of lecture notes by Herman Bohlman in Coll 542. The first three pages transport you not only to an early 20th century lecture hall filled with bird enthusiasts, but also into Herman Bohlman's basement, where he painstakingly hand colors glass lantern slides to illustrate his lectures, and into the close-knit world of wildlife conservation. Imagine Bohlman, armed with tiny brushes after a long day on the job as a plumber, attempting to bring to life his observations in the field. He has a mountain of slides to color, and who appears but internationally-acclaimed wildlife illustrator R. Bruce Horsfall? Shhh... Lights Out... it’s time for the show. #tinybrushes #missingdeadlines #famousvisitor #plumberbyday #artistbynight”

– Shawna Gandy, Library Director

Herman T. Bohlman Lecture Notes, circa 1900-1920; Coll 542;
Box 1, Folder 1; Hand painted lantern slides, Portland Audubon Society

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/lecture-notes

Joining of the center arch, Ross Island Bridge, 1926 Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N5074

“This reminds me of those iconic early twentieth century images of New York under construction. I'll try to recall it's beauty the next time I'm stuck in traffic trying to get to the west side.”

– Erin Brasell, OHQ Editorial, Design, & Production Manager

Joining of the center arch, Ross Island Bridge, 1926
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N5074

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/joining-of-center-arch-ross-island-bridge

St. Peter’s Dome, ca. 1909 Kiser Photo Co. photographs, Org. Lot 140, bb000204

“I like this image from the Kiser collection. These sorts of hand-colored photos are cool; I selected this one because it’s an Oregon scene, even though some of the best ones are his Glacier National Park images.”

– Jeffrey Hayes, Archivist

St. Peter’s Dome, ca. 1909
Kiser Photo Co. photographs, Org. Lot 140, bb000204

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/st-peters-dome-2

Don Q. Quail, 1926, William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 D1840 Irene Finley, “Don Q. Falls in Love,” ca. 1926

“As someone who has worked with a lot of historical documents, I always enjoy being able to connect to the past through someone’s sense of humor. Some jokes or stories lose their meaning outside of a very specific chronological context, but others like this one endure because they are charming, relatable, and vivid. I also like this particular story about Don Q. Quail because we always had a lot of quail around where I grew up and the idea of one being a happy pet and befriending a bunch of school children is too cute to bare. Finally, one of my favorite metaphors pictures a group of librarians as a covey of quail (that we are easily twitter pated, I think is the point) but that’s a story for another day.”

– Dana Miller, Collections Management Librarian

Don Q. Quail, 1926, William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 D1840
Irene Finley, “Don Q. Falls in Love,” ca. 1926
William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946 (MSS Finley), Oregon State University

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/don-q-falls-in-love

Irene Finley, ca. 1906 William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 A1327

“I have many favorite images in the Finley collection, but this particular image is near and dear to my heart. It was likely taken on one of the first times that Irene joined William Finley in the field and is the start of a lifetime partnership in wildlife photography and conservation. Plus, who doesn’t love a woman out hauling camera equipment beside her future husband? All while in a skirt and heels.”

– Laura Cray, Digital Services Librarian

Irene Finley, ca. 1906
William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 A1327

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/irene-finley-climbing-a-rock-face

Hood River and Mt. Hood. View from near Hood River Station Carleton E. Watkins photographs Org. Lot 93 OrHi 21635

“I grew up in the Hood River Valley, and something about the contrast and clarity of this photograph captures the essential wildness of the landscape in a way that modern color photography sometimes doesn't. In the Northwest, so much of the landscape is so jaw-dropping that over time, the magnificent becomes familiar, and it's easy to look at the land without really seeing it. This photograph reminds me to look again.”

– Katie Mayer, Digital Project Archivist

Hood River and Mt. Hood. View from near Hood River Station
Carleton E. Watkins photographs Org. Lot 93 OrHi 21635

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/hood-river-and-mt-hood-view-from-near-hood-river-station-o26

Frances Emeline (Geer) Grim Cartes-de-visite Collection; Org. Lot 500; b3.f462-1

“Frances Emeline Grim (Geer) was one of the makers of the samplers that we featured in the sampler exhibit that was on view last year at OHS. Her sampler came across the Oregon Trail with her and her family. I love being able to put a face to the name (and trying to imagine her as a young girl)!”

– Helen Fedchak, Curator of Collections

Frances Emeline (Geer) Grim
Cartes-de-visite Collection; Org. Lot 500; b3.f462-1

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/grim-emeline-2

Three English cocker dogs on leashes Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N3375

“I love this one because they are English Cockers, like my dog!”

– Shannon Bougher, Director of Human Resources

Three English cocker dogs on leashes
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N3375

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/three-dogs-on-leashes

Rosie? Helmer, Calgary Tigers hockey coach Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N1095

“The Oregon Journal Collections are a treasure trove of early sports uniform history. There is a lot to love about the era before professionally designed sports jerseys were common.”

– Laura Cray, Digital Services Librarian

Rosie? Helmer, Calgary Tigers hockey coach
Oregon Journal Negative Collection, Org. Lot 1368 0371N1095

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/rosie-helmer-calgary-tigers-hockey-coach

Bear drinking from a bottle, 1914 William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 D1734

“While I understand the horrors of a bear in captivity (and collar), this is a pretty amazing image.”

– Erin Brasell, OHQ Editorial, Design, & Production Manager

Bear drinking from a bottle, 1914
William L. Finley Photographs Collection, Org. Lot 369 D1734

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/bear-drinking-from-a-bottle-3

Monteith Family Photograph Collection, Org. Lot 1388

“The Monteith family photographs are my vote as some of my favorites. They demonstrate how, in the face of severely deteriorated originals, OHS remains committed to and works hard to provide high-quality images to the public of the people who have contributed to Oregon’s dynamic history.”

– Elerina Aldamar, Reference Archivist

Monteith family photograph collection, 1847-1854
Org. Lot 1388

https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/org-lot-1388-monteith-family-photograph-collection-1847-1854

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