Angelus Studio (Portland)

Angelus Studio (Portland)

The Angelus studio is known for the large collection of their negatives now at the University of Oregon. The story of how all of these came together is somewhat complex. Many photographers were involved.

Angelus Studio was founded around 1910. The manager was Harry C. Brown (q.v.), and Frank Aldrich (q.v.) was a photographer. They advertised “We Photograph Construction Work, Interiors and Exteriors of Buildings, Real Estate Views, Machinery, Furniture, Automobiles, Catalog Work, etc. Special Instruments for Every Requirement. Goodnough Bldg, 5th and Yamhill.”

Fred Clark began as the secretary and accountant of Angelus studio around 1916. By 1925 he was an owner. He was not a photographer. His large family was very active in business, and were mutually involved in each others concerns. Fred Clark owned a billiard parlor and a restaurant. Under Clark’s administration, Angelus became one of the top three studios in Portland, the other two being Photo Art and Acme. All three studios made 8×10 negatives that were contact printed. After the depression, the studio continued to have staff photographers doing commercial photography, but the principal source of their income was doing photofinishing for regional drug store chains including Fred Meyer. Angelus was the first local finisher to install the Pako automatic print dryer, an enormous gas fired ferrotyping press with canvass belts. They also manufactured all of the postcards for Cross & Dimmit (q.v.). When Clark passed away, the negatives were in storage. The owner of the Old Oregon Bookstore arranged a sale of them to the University of Oregon. Many boxes of them found their way into the Oregon Historical Society.

In 1932, Fred Clark had bought the estate of Arthur Prentiss, who was one of Oregon’s most prolific commercial photographers. These files contained the negatives of George Weister and other photographers dating back to the 1880s. George Weister had worked at the Partridge Photo Supply beginning in the later 1880s. The owner, Edward Partridge, died in 1891 and Weister bought it. He continued to operate the photo supply through 1911. During this time he bought negatives from other photographers (and he also had a portion of the Partridge Brothers negatives.) Weister was a photographer and was very successful, by 1905 he was one of the top three scenic photographers published in the region, the other two were Benjamin Gifford and Fred Kiser. Weister died in 1922 and his estate was bought by Arthur Prentiss, who had been employed by Weister as a photographer from around 1910-1915.

Please consult these listings for further information:

Adams, John Foster.

Aldrich, Frank C.

Brown, H. C.

Gensler, Jacob

Hasenmayer, Max

Hasenmayer, Oscar

Prentiss, Arthur

Weister, George

Historic photos and images