The Research Library maintains an extensive collection of still photographs. Millions of photographs and negatives relate to the commercial, industrial, and agricultural development of the Pacific Northwest (especially Oregon), persons who took part in that development, and the growth of communities and urban areas. Subject fields in which the collection is particularly strong are lumbering, railroads, maritime, performing arts, the natural environment, politics and government, family and community life, and Portland.

Newspaper photograph collections provide extensive coverage of places, events, and personalities associated with the region. Many regionally prominent photographers are represented throughout the collection, which spans the 1850s to the present.

How to Order OHS Photos

OHS photos are found in many places, including our exhibits and the entire family of OHS websites. If you have a negative number or digital image number plus a description of the photo, you may place your order for a digital file or print reproduction by contacting our Photo Services, It’s helpful to let them know where you found the information.

To order an image from the online library catalog, click on the title of the photo. Then copy the url of the full description (at the top of the page) and paste it into an email to For images on the OHS Digital Collections website, copy the url for the individual item. You can paste in as many url's for as many photos as you want. We will get back to you with prices, order forms, and options for reproductions.

For images used on our website, hover over the image with your mouse, and include the description that is displayed in your email. Especially helpful are any negative or image numbers (such as "OrHi 1234," or "bb5678"), as well as any other information regarding the collection name, box number, etc. For images displayed on the Oregon History Project or Oregon Encyclopedia, you can copy and paste any information in the image's caption or description. You can also right-click the image, select "Copy image address" and then paste this into your email.

Our reference staff will be happy to help in your photo search. You can contact a reference librarian at, or call 503-306-5240.

Copyright, Access, and Use

For complete information about using items from our collections, please visit the Copyright, Access, and Use and Terms of Service pages on the OHS Digital Collections website.

General Principles

  • OHS will make digital copies of unrestricted Public Domain collections available for use without limitations through its online digital collections.
  • OHS will make items for which it holds copyright available under a Creative Commons – Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (
  • Items where the copyright is held by a third party will be made available for research purposes only - additional restrictions may apply - and all rights must be cleared with rights holder before any use in excess of “fair use” as defined by copyright law.
  • Items with Undetermined Copyright are provided solely for educational and/or reference purposes only with no additional rights implied.

Each object in OHS Digital Collections has a Rights Statement identifying how the object may be re-used. In some cases, items may be subject to agreements outside of copyright that restrict access to those materials.  In those cases, access can be provided in-person at the OHS Research Library.

Reproduction Policy

Notice Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions:

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Requests to copy material constitute an agreement that you will not reproduce, transfer, distribute, broadcast, publicly display, offer for sale, or otherwise use or publish any material subject to copyright, or a portion thereof, in excess of “fair use” as defined by copyright law, without the express permission of the copyright holder. You are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of materials, if not otherwise stated, and obtaining permission to use material from the copyright holder. OHS will not facilitate or undertake additional requests for permission.

Delivery or download of digital reproductions shall not transfer any underlying rights to the images to you or to any third party. Underlying rights to the OHS copyright-held images are not sold; the images are provided for limited purposes as described in the rights statement attached to each digital object. All images remain the physical property of OHS and the intellectual property of the copyright holder, if applicable.

We reserve the right to restrict the use of certain items and to deny a reproduction request due to copyright regulations, privacy rights, donor-imposed regulations, or other rights related issues.