The Historic Photograph Collections
include over 10,000 photographs and
descriptions from the holdings of the Salem Public Library, the Oregon State Archives, and the Marion County Historical Society. Images date from the mid-1800s to the 1990s and depict a wide range of subjects such as Oregon towns, homes, businesses, occupations, scenic vistas, disasters, festivities, and recreational pursuits. The collections are searchable by keyword and are maintained by the Salem Public Library.
The Salem Public Library created an image database in 1992 to
provide access to photographs in its holdings. Later the scope
of the database expanded to include other repositories. The library asked for
the participation of the Oregon State Archives and the Marion County Historical Society in a grant funded effort called the Oregon Images Project. The goal
was to create a database that included
descriptions from all three repositories.
The Salem Public Library provided
computers, printers, software, and training necessary to conduct the project in each repository. In exchange, each repository committed to entering a set number of images to the database.
The Salem Public Library continues to add photographs from its holdings.
Salem Public Library Contributions
The Salem Public Library
contributed over 7500 photographs to the collections spanning from the mid-1800s to the 1990s. Major photographic collections
include the Ben Maxwell Collection; the Salem Statesman
Journal Collection; and the Kovel Homes Collection that includes images of approximately 600 Salem houses in the 1970s.
Oregon State Archives Contributions
The Oregon State Archives contributed nearly 2,300 photographs. The goal
was to complement but not duplicate subject areas
covered by the Salem Public Library. Many photographs feature regions of Oregon outside of the Marion County/Willamette Valley area. They date from the 1880s to the 1970s and represent activities of more than 30 state agencies. Oregon Highway Department tourism promotion photographs make up a large portion of the total. The database also includes photos
from the Oregon State Fair, Water Resources Department, and Oregon Department of Agriculture. These
only a small portion of the photographs in the holdings of the Oregon State Archives. Contact the reference staff
to access additional photographs.
Marion County Historical Society Contributions
The Marion County Historical Society contributed over 300 photographs dating from the late-1800s to the mid-1900s. Subjects include landmark buildings such as the Oregon State Capitol, the Marion County Courthouse, the Oregon State Penitentiary, and the Bush House.