Gifford, Benjamin A. (Portland, The Dalles)

Gifford, Benjamin A. (1859-1936)

Gifford & Prentiss

Gifford & Hale

Chronology

Fort Scott, Mo. (apprentice to Latour)

Sedalia, Mo.

Chetopa, Kansas

1888-ca.1895 Portland

ca.1895-ca.1910 The Dalles

ca.1910-ca.1920 Portland

ca.1920- Wa Ne Ka WA

In October 1919, Gifford married his secretary Rachel Morgan, and the following year he retired. The Gifford’s built a beautiful house which they called Wa-Ne-Ka, located at Salmon creek, just north of Vancouver, Washington. After Gifford’s death in 1936 the home was sold to E. V. Arbor. It was mistakenly demolished by construction workers in the 1940’s. The site is the present location of the United Methodist Church at 12201 NE Highway 99.

Employee Listings

Chinlund, Elmer A. photographer B. A. Gifford 1911

Kent, Violet, Miss., employee 1898-1901, in charge of studio 1901-?

Maddock, Francis B., photographer 1892-1893

Rachel, Morgan secretary 1917 (married to Gifford in 1919)

Directory Listings

1891 POWI pg. 455 Portland “Gifford, B. A., photographer, 115 Morrison”

1891 PCD pg. 307 “Gifford, Benjamin A res 244 Kelly”

1892 PCD pg. 453 “Gifford, Benjamin A photographer 313 1/2 Morrison res same”

1893 PCD pg. 428 “Gifford, Benjamin A photographic enlargements 313 1/2 Morrison res 147 10th”

1894 PCD pg. 357 “Gifford, Benjamin A photographic enlargements, 904 Corbett, res same”

1895 PCD pg. 322 “Gifford & Hale (B A Gifford, Herbert A Hale), photographers 145 1/2 3d.” “Gifford, Benjamin A (Gifford & Hale), res 904 Corbett”

1896 PCD pg. 300 “Gifford & Hale (B A Gifford, Herbert A Hale), photographers 145 1/2 3d.” “Gifford, Benjamin A (Gifford & Hale), res 882 Kelly”

1897 PCD pg. 293 “Gifford & Hale (B A Gifford, Herbert A Hale), photographers 145 1/2 3d.” “Gifford, Benjamin A (Gifford & Hale), res Fulton Park”

1899 EO & P pg. 44, Portland Photographers “Gifford & Hale 145 1/2 Third”

1901 POWA pg. 386 The Dalles “Gifford, Benjamin A, photographer”

1903 POW pg. 432 The Dalles “Gifford, Benjamin A photographer”

1903-4 Polk Dalles City and Wasco County Directory pg. 57 “Gifford Benjamin A, photog 35 Chapman blk, res 714 Union”

1905 POW pg. 533 The Dalles “Gifford, Benjamin A photographer”

1907 POW pg. 580 The Dalles “Gifford, Benjamin A photographer, Portraits and Views, Columbia River Scenery and Gifford’s Indians in Large Variety

1909 POW pg. 510 The Dalles “Gifford, Benjamin A. photographer, portraits and views, Columbia River scenery, and Gifford’s Indians in large variety”

1910 PCD Not listed

1911 PCD pg. 579 “Gifford, Benjamin A, Photo-Scenic Views 345 1/2 Washington, Tel Main 4928, A 3928, h 536 Boulevard (City View Park) plus display ad quoted below.

1911 POW pg. 503 The Dalles “Gifford, Benjamin A, photographer, portraits and views, Columbia River scenery, and Gifford’s Indians in large variety”

1912 PCD pg. 602 “Gifford, Benj A coml photgr 413 Stark h 505 E 50th N”

1913 PCD pg. 498 “Gifford, Benj A coml photgr 413 Stark h 505 E 50th N”

1914 PCD pg. 616 “Gifford, Benj A (Myrtle) coml photgr 413 Stark r same”

1914 PCBD Photographers “Gifford Studio, Scenic Photographer, 413 Stark, Main 5873”

1915 PCD pg. 500 “Gifford, Benj A (Myrtle) coml photgr 413 Stark, h same”

1917 PJD pg. 76 Photographers “Gifford & Prentiss, Inc. Commercial and Scenic, 444 Washington St. Main 2873. Scenic and Outside View Work.

1915 POW pg. 426 The Dalles “Gifford’s Studio (C Y Lamb) portraits, Chapman Block, Tel Blk 71”

1917 POW pg. 375 The Dalles “Gifford’s Studio (C Y Lamb) portraits, Chapman Block, Tel Blk 71”

1917 PCD pg. 454 “Gifford, Benj A (Myrtle) pres Gifford & Prentiss Inc h 444 Wash”; pg. 454 “Gifford & Prentiss Inc B A Gifford pres A M Prentiss vice-pres-mgr Rachel Morgan sec photgrs 444 Wash”

1925 PCD Not listed

Mautz Oregon “Gifford, 1895, Portland”, “Gifford, 1900, The Dalles”

Photographer’s Imprints

“Latour, Opp. Court House, Sedalia, Mo.” cabinet card imprinted front “Latour Photographer, established 1866, cor. 4th & Ohio Sts., Sedalia, Mo. Latour’s Specialties, All Sittings Made Instantaneously, Life Size Crayons, Small Pictures Enlarged to Any Size. Duplicates Can Be Had At Any Time.” engraved back with picture of his studio building.

“Tresslar & Gifford” on front of cabinet card, “From The Excelsior Studio of Tresslar & Gifford, Cor. of First & Main, Opposite the Huntington House, Fort Scott, Kansas, Negatives Preserved” on back. (tr)

“Gifford, Chetopa, Kan.” cabinet card, printed front. tr

“Gifford Fotografer 313 1/2 Morrison, cor 6th sts. Oregon” Cabinet Card with contemporary ms. date Aug 1893. (Collection Paul Bisset)

“Gifford, The Dalles” signed in negative and also signed in red ink on lower right corner on 30″ x 48″ mural print. (tr)

News Items and Advertisements

  1. 1880: (advertising card for Tresslar & Gifford, in Fort Scott, Kansas, steel engraving front with tipped in photograph, advertising text on back. The only copy available for examination to this author has been trimmed, resulting in text loss.) “THE LEADER. In all large cities, east or west, among all professions, businesses or trades, a leader can be found. Fort Scott is no exception to this rule, as we have leaders in the medical profession, the legal profession, and in every branch of industrial pursuits. That we have an acknowledged leader in photography is therefore not strange. To sustain the reputation of a leader requires close study and a large library, as well as the latest mechanical appliances. Speaking of photography reminds us that we have a leader in the firm of Tresslar & Gifford, of our city.

This firm, ever alive to the interest of their patrons, are constantly adding to their every department all new improvements as they develop. The gentlemen connected with this firm, as well as all who are in their employ, are thorough and competent artists. Nothing goes farther to establish the reputation of this firm than their work.

Nothing is permitted to leave their gallery until it is minutely inspected by one or the other of the firm. All work submitted to them receives the closest care and attention.

Like all artists whose reputation is at stake they demand ample time and will not hurry to turn out work. To thoroughly complete and … for pictures requires from ten to fifteen … less time would jeopardize the work.

The souvenir given to each visitor is …<remainder of text missing due to trimming of mount>

1901: “Benj. A. Gifford left on the morning boat for Portland, where he will make his future headquarters in his view business. Miss Violet Kent, who has been with him for the past three years and developed her gifted artistic talent, will be operator in charge. All work intrusted to her will receive prompt attention and satisfaction guaranteed. Gifford’s photos never fade.” The Dalles Chronicle. (The Dalles) 8 May, 1901 pg. 3, col. 2.

1909: “Gifford Pictures to Chicago. B. A. Gifford has received an order for a large number of his celebrated views to be placed in the public schools of the city of Chicago. He has added another fine picture to his collection, and people who are familiar with his work consider it one of his best productions, if not the best. The scene is on the lower Columbia and shows an approaching storm with a steamer in the foreground. To be appreciated, this picture must be seen, as its beauty of color and light effects cannot be pictured in cold words.” The Dalles Weekly Chronicle, 10 December 1909, pg. 4, col. 3., which is a weekly summary of news that originally appeared in the Monday, 6 December 1909 issue.

1910: “B. A. Gifford, who spent Sunday with his family in this city, returned to Portland yesterday evening.” The Dalles Weekly Chronicle 13 May 1910, report from edition of Tuesday, 10 May 1910.

1911: Photo-Scenic View Dept. Gifford, Photo-Scenic Views, Portland, Oregon. Columbia River and Northwest Scenery. Telephone Main 4928, A 3928. 345 1/2 Washington” Polk’s Portland City Directory 1911, Portland; R. L. Polk & Co, 1911, pg. 1660.

1936: “Artist Gifford Taken By Death. Benjamin Arthur Gifford, photographer, whose work has made the glories of Oregon scenery known throughout the world, died early yesterday at his home, ‘Wa-ne-Ka,’ six miles north of Vancouver, Wash. Mr. Gifford was born August 11, 1859, at Denby, Ill. He served four years’ apprenticeship when the photographic art was young and ‘wet plates’ were the best of several cumbersome means of preserving images. As a young man Mr. Gifford moved to Portland to keep pace throughout his long life with the growth of the Oregon country and the development of his chosen profession. He is said to have been the first man in Portland to make photographic enlargements by electric light.

Artistic Talents Pronounced. Mr. Gifford was enthralled by the scenic grandeur of Oregon. With a rare feeling for composition and the value of light and shade, he was able to immobilize glimpses of the mountains, gorges, waterfalls and seashore that have not been excelled. It was his practice to pack his equipment into the mountains as early in the spring as travel was possible, to make his pictures while the air was clean-washed with rain and before the inevitable summer smudge of forest fires dimmed the vistas. Mr. Gifford lived at The Dalles from 1898 to 1910, returning then to Portland, where he lived and worked until his retirement in 1920 to the artistic country home he created at Salmon creek on the Pacific highway north of Vancouver.

Funeral Scheduled Tomorrow. Of Mr. Gifford’s first marriage, at Fort Scott, Kan., in 1884, a son, Ralph I. Gifford, and two grandchildren, Ralph Arthur and Benjamin Lyle, survive. The second Mrs. Gifford, Rachel M., married October 15, 1919, also survives. The funeral will be conducted at Hamilton’s mortuary in Vancouver at 1:30 P. M. tomorrow. Interment will be in Lincoln Memorial Park.” The Oregonian, 6 March, 1936, pg. 7.

1936: “B. A. Gifford, Photographic Pioneer, Dies. Benjamin Arthur Gifford, pioneer photographer of Oregon, whose lovely scenic studies probably have done more to tell the story of Oregon’s scenic wonders to the nation than any other medium, died early Thursday at the age of 76.

“It was Gifford’s camera craft which most impressively proclaimed the glory of the Columbia River highway when it was first completed, and the designer of the scenic road, Samuel L. Lancaster, became his life- long friend.

“In tribute to a fellow patron of the beautiful, whose funeral will be held from Hamilton’s mortuary in Vancouver, Wash., at 1:30 p. m. Saturday with interment in Lincoln Memorial Park here. Lancaster prepared this biographical eulogy: “A great spirit passed from earth to heaven when the stars sang together in the early morning of Thursday, March 5. The Oregon country never had a better friend.

“Benjamin Gifford pioneered in photography, serving a four – year apprenticeship when “wet plates” were used exclusively before present methods were known.

“Having mastered the art, he came West and produced artistic pictures of this region that have never been excelled.

“The Columbia gorge appealed to him, as well as the snow- capped mountains round about and the many waterfalls; the seashore, ships and river steamers, were photographed with rare composition of sunlight, clouds and shadows, that will live for yet many years to come.

“Exquisite enlargements of many of his best pictures adorn the walls of prominent clubs today in Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D. C. They are clearcut and have not faded with the years being more beautiful than steel engravings. He brought out a large book entitled “Art Work of Oregon. The Journal published a full- page picture in the Sunday magazine section for a number of years, usually selected from Mr. Gifford’s beautiful pictures.

“Oregon’s premier pioneer photographic artist was born August 11, 1859, at Denby, Ill. He was married at Fort Scott, Kan., in 1884. Of this marriage, one son, Ralph I., and two grandchildren, Ralph Arthur and Benjamin Lyle, survive.

“On October 15, 1919, Mr. Gifford married his present wife, Rachel M. Gifford, who survives him.

“Mr. Gifford lived in The Dalles from 1898 to 1910. Returning to Portland until his retirement in 1920 to a lovely spot which he developed in his artistic way and named ‘Wa-ne-Ka’ after his famous picture. This home is on the Pacific highway, six miles north of Vancouver, Wash., at Salmon creek.” Oregon Daily Journal, 6 March 1936, pg. 8.

1946: (article about Sawyer) “the firm has about 30,000 negatives in the vault, including the collections from Kiser and Gifford, old-time Portland scenic photographers” Oregonian 26 May 1946 mag. pg. 5

Bibliography

Art Work of The State of Oregon, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Art Photogravure Co, 1909.

Art Works of The State of Oregon, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Art Photogravure Co, 1909.

Brown, Robert O., Nineteenth Century Portland, Oregon Photographers: A Collector’s Handbook (author; Portland, 1991) pg. 40, 63, 95, 96,

Corning, Howard McKinley, “Carriage Day Cameramen”, Oregon Journal, 26 June 1949 mag pg. 8-9 . The source of the material in this article is the Oregon Journal, 28 August 1929 article quoted above.

Gogol, John M. “Benjamin Gifford, Photographer Among the Columbia River Indians”, American Indian Basketry magazine (Portland) February 1982 pg. 4-5 + cover.

Edwin D. Culp, Yesterday in Oregon, (Caldwell; Caxton 1990) pg. 37, 167-182 Gifford Biography. “Benjamin Arthur Gifford, Born: Danby, Illinois, August 11, 1859, Died: Vancouver Washington, March 5, 1936” many good Gifford photos, with commentary and some quotations.

Lockley, Fred “Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man” Oregon Journal, 28 August 1929 “When I retired from the photographic profession,’ said Benjamin A. Gifford to me recently, ‘I turned over all my plates but one. That one is a picture of the Columbia river at sunset. In the background is a line of Lombardy poplars. The setting sun makes a path of gold on the majestic Columbia. In the immediate foreground is an Indian dugout, hollowed from some tree that once grew on the shores of the Columbia. Two teepees are pitched on the rounded and water-washed gravel near the river. The reason I wanted to keep this negative was because of its association. I believe it is the most artistic picture I had ever taken and I took it under rather peculiar circumstances.

‘I had gone up near Maryhill, which was then called Columbus, to photograph a band of sheep being driven to the railroad. After getting my sheep pictures, I went down to the river bank. The river seemed illuminated with subterranean light. The sun was setting; the shadows were gathering over the hills. Beside the river were two teepees. A dugout was drawn up on the river’s bank. No Indians were in sight. As I turned my back on the teepees to take the cap off my camera, a rock struck close to me. I turned quickly, but couldn’t see anyone. Once more I turned my back, and a rock whizzed by my head. Dropping the black cloth which I had over my arm, I reached in my back pocket and ran toward one of the teepees. Two Indians, who had been hiding back of the teepees, bolted, I went back to my camera and secured the picture. When I showed the picture to an Indian, he said, ‘Wa-ne-ka,’ which, as near as I can find out, means ‘the sun going down of the evening sun,’ or ‘the halo of the evening sun.’

‘I have photographed untold numbers of Indians, and this was the first time I ever had any trouble in photographing Indians. One time the photographers of the state assembled in convention at Portland. They came up to The Dalles on an excursion, on a steamer. On their return there were a lot of Indians aboard, dressed up in their finery, going to the exposition in Portland, The photographers were wild to take pictures of these Indians, but they shook their heads, and said, ‘No take our picture, Gifford – he takes our pictures; nobody else.’

‘I want you to come out to my place at Wa-ne-ka, on Salmon creek, on the Pacific highway, five miles north of Vancouver. I want to show you photographs of how the place looked when I took it some years ago, and I want you to see what it looks like now. Working outdoors restored my health and made me feel 10 years younger. I was 70 years old on August 11. I was born in Illinois. My father, Harvey D. Gifford, traveled all over that part of Illinois conducting singing schools. He taught vocal music for more than 40 years. My mother’s maiden name was Marletta Corbin. I am the youngest of their four children. My brother Corbin lives in Springfield, Mo. I had very little schooling before I was 21 years of age. Father sold the farm when I was 21 and I went to the Kansas normal college at Fort Scott for a year or two. Later I put in two years as an apprentice in a photograph gallery there. From Fort Scott I went to Sedalia, Mo., to finish my four years’ apprenticeship under William LaTour. Returning to Fort Scott, I became a partner of E. P. Tressler in a studio there. After two years I sold out and went to Chetopa, Kan., which is located on the Indian Territory line.

‘A friend of mine named Brundage had come out to Oregon and was working for the O. R. & N. company. He liked it so much out here that I decided to go West. I came to Portland in the summer of 1888, and started a studio diagonally across the street from the Hotel Portland, in a two-story building on the corner of Sixth and Morrison.

‘A person doesn’t have to take a four years’ apprenticeship nowadays to become a photographer, but 50 years ago, when I first became interested in photography, the process was much more complicated. Dry plates were just beginning to come in, but the old-time photographers were doubtful of them. When we went out to take scenic views or pictures away from the gallery we had to carry all our equipment with us. In those days our plate was a plain piece of glass. You held the plate in one hand, poured collodian over it, and then immersed it in a silver bath. You exposed the plate while it was still wet, and had to develop it at once, before it got dry. Your paper on which the photographs were printed was albumenized and you had to silver your own paper.

I was the first photographer in Portland who ever made an enlargement of a photograph by electric light. In those days we had no daylight electric service. The electric light was not turned on until dusk, so I had to make all enlargements at night.

‘I became tremendously interested in the Columbia river. I was the first person to get out an album of Columbia river views. I called this album ‘Snapshots on the Columbia.’ The photogravure views were 5×8 and accompanying each photograph was a page of text telling of the legends of the Columbia river Indians. From Portland I moved up to The Dalles, where I operated a studio for 15 years. It was at The Dalles that I began taking pictures of the Indians.

‘One time I took a picture of the wheat fields near Dufur. I brought it to Portland and showed it to A. L. Craig, general passenger agent of the O. R. & N. I said to him, ‘A few hundred pictures like this, scattered throughout the East, will do more to bring farmers and settlers to Oregon than all the books you can print.’ He agreed with me, and for years I furnished enlarged photographs of scenic views and farm scenes to the railroad companies.

‘You have probably seen the large book I have out entitled ‘Art Work of Oregon.’ It sold for $40. For years the Oregon Journal published a full-page picture of mine each Sunday in their magazine section. In about 1910 I sold my gallery at The Dalles to Charlie Lamb and moved to Portland. In 1920 I moved to my present place at Wa-ne-ka, in Clark county, Washington. In 1901 I took a picture of Mount Hood from Lost Lake. I have sold thousands of copies of that and have sent them all over the world. I was offered and refused $1000 for the negative. My son Ralph, who served in the navy during the World war, ran a gallery for some years at White River, at the foot of Mount Hood. He is now in the moving picture business.”

McNeal, William H.; History of Wasco County, Oregon, The Dalles; author 1953, revised edition, 1974. pg. 184-185. “In 1949 Mrs. Ralph Gifford, R.4, Box 232 at Salem said, ‘My husband Ralph Gifford (son Ben A.) sold all the B. A. Gifford negatives to Sawyer Inc. 735 SW 20, Portland, Oregon their being about 12,000 of them! I still have some of the oldest and best of the negatives as family heirlooms for our son Ben. Ralph Gifford has 500 choice negatives of Oregon views in our files which will increase in value as time goes on. Ralph built up a wonderful file of negatives for the Travel and Information Department of the Oregon State Highway Commission, before he died. When we came to Salem in 1936 that department didn’t even have a camera or dark room! Ralph offered to use his if they would establish a picture department to advertise Oregon. It went over big and now there are several stenographers besides the men at the head of the department and it does over $100,000 worth of business annually! It is too bad that Ralph didn’t live to see the fruitfulness of his efforts’.

“The ‘choice heirloom negatives’ Mrs. Ralph Gifford has are: The Western Queen ferry at The Dalles froze in the river ice about 1905; 2. Emigrants on the banks of the Columbia, with wagons, embarking on boats for trip down the river; 3. Ezra Meeker dedicating the marker in the Union street Park in 1906, 4. His famous SUNSET ON THE COLUMBIA near Maryhill, 5. Freighting in Central Oregon, out of Shaniko about 1905; Joseph Luxello seated on Pulpit Rock demonstrating how Jason Lee preached to the Indians, Luxello being his first Christian convert. 7. the Wood Scow Reliance under full sail heading up the Columbia to The Dalles. 8. The Indian Madonna maiden. 9. Matt Thornton the Typical Sheep herder taken near Kingsley about 1900. 10. Indians Fishing with spears at Celilo. 11. Gifford photo tent on the road. 12. Chief Hash-Nash Sheet of Pendleton and Chief Shen-No-Watch of Celilo in full Indian regalia about 1900. 13 & 14. Gifford Photo Wagon on the road. Prints $1. each.

“The Historical negatives at Sawyers, 725 SW 20, Portland, Oregon:

147 Indian Dugout canoe on Columbia with Indian, canoe now at Historical building; 149 Spinx Rock near The Dalles; 159 Steamer and Fish wheel on Columbia; 169 steamer Dalles City; 162 steamer Regulator; 172 Internationally famous Mt. Hood from Lost Lake glass negative that he was offered and refused $1000 for! 230 Same Lost Lake view. 185 80,000 sacks of wheat at the Dalles. 187 The Dalles with Mt. Hood in distance. 195 Bradford Island. 199-201 Cape Horn on Columbia. 214 Chief Hash-Nash and Shen-no-watch ; 216 & 231 Internationally famous print of Mt. Adams from Troutlake, Wn. 229 Indian squaw; 235 Dalles City at Rooster Rock; 241 Steamer <illegible word>243 Bailey Gatzert; 258 Fish wheel and train ; 263 Seining for Salmon at the Dalles; 277 Falls on the Deschutes; 284 Emigrant wagons on the Columbia;-near Deschutes crossing; 290 Old Log school house, believed to be Doyle on upper Chenowith; 289 Rocks near Fossil; 292 Wood Scow under full sail on Columbia; 305 Lava Butte at Bend; 315 3-Sisters at Bend; 316 Ralph Gifford on Deschutes; 318 Sagebrush of Central Oregon; 319 Interior of Drake house; 301.5 Drake House and ranch; 321 Sunset and Teepees on the Columbia, taken July 30, 1905 near Maryhill, Wn.; 322 Indian Madonna and her child;-taken July 20,1905 of a Warm Springs Indian maiden; 321 Waneka, another name for Sunset, 323 Internationally famous Freight Team and wagon of Central Oregon in 1905 near Antelope; 328 Yakima Indians.

“No. 329 was PULPIT ROCK & JOSEPH LUXELLO, Yakima Chief, seated on top demonstrating how Jason Lee chiseled out the seat and preached to the Indians, he was baptized at the mission about 1840. 331 Dugouts on the Columbia; 332 Cave at Ashwood; 333 End of Oregon Trail, Ezra Meeker dedicating marker in Union Street Park in 1906 to that effect; 339 Ashwood, Oregon; 346 An Oregon Beauty horse; 347 seems to be a duplicate of 221 Mat Thornton the Typical Sheepherder near Kingsley about 1900; 349 Fossil, Oregon; 351 John Day, Oregon; 353 Fish wheel near Celilo; 356 Dufur, Oregon; 357 Prineville Oregon; 358 Gateway to the Inland Empire; 364 Ice Jams on the Columbia; 368 Guard house at Old Fort Dalles & Supply House looking south; 370 Robber’s Roost in 30 Mile canyon near Condon; 372 Williams Fish Wheel on Columbia; 380 Junction at Warm Springs and Deschutes Rivers; 391 Mutton Mt.; 383 Dalles Vineyards; 364 Mill Creek; 365 Mt. Hood from Mill Creek; 566 Sphinx Rock; 574 Dalles Residents about 1900; 576 The Dalles from Washington shore; 823 Gifford and his Dalles cherry orchard; 826 Dalles orchard; 830 Dalles tomatoes; 810 Dalles prunes; 808 Dalles grapes; 805 Dalles melons; 800 Dalles pears; 896 Dalles pears; 808&816 Dalles apples & trees; 822 Dalles peaches; 831 Ranch at Dufur; 856 Grain at Dufur; 842 Hay at Dufur; 851 Main street in Dufur; 856-866 Dufur apples; 868 <illegible word> at Dufur; 875 Wheat warehouse at Dufur; 876 Dalles apples; 877 Dalles pears; 882 Dalles turkeys; 917 Watermelons at Goldendale.

“1010 Birdseye view of Dalles; 1043 Perry at Dalles; 1183 Freighting wheat at Heppner; 1246 Eastern Oregon sheep; 1308 Oregon Cedars; 1306 Oregon Timber; 1320 Dufur Country; 1321 Dufur wheat ranch; 1323 cultivating at Dufur; 1324 Mt. Hood from Dufur; 1330-1341 Hood River Scenes; 1345-77 Oregon coast scenes; 1495 Sheep camp at Dalles; 1501 Daisy field at Dalles; 1518-98 Eastern Washington scenes; 1614 Sheep shearing at Heppner; 1612 Pigs and more pigs; 1615 Hauling wool; 1624-91 coast scenes; 1844 Log raft on Columbia; 1649 Haystack Rock; 1757 Harney Valley cattle; 1765 The old Chuck Wagon; 1820 Threshing 1832 Hay stacks; 1897 Crooked River Bridge; 1928 Historical Building; 2256 Redwoods of Oregon; 2487 Dalles Reservoir; 2504 Celilo Falls; 2507 Columbia near Dalles; 2508 Swimming pool near Dalles; 2542 Exposition Buildings in Portland; 2571 Silver Thaw in Dalles in 1912; 2575 Horse and Wagon snow scene; 2585 Gifford home; 2805 Studio in Portland; 2948 Sheepherder’s cabin; 2952 Homesteaders cabin; 3609 to 3859 Yellowstone Park series;-taken for railroads; 47948 Coyote in trap; 8223 Mist Falls; 8242 Multnomah Falls;- also 6598 and 1000 other Columbia river scenes for railroads; 7965 Wasco Mill; 12,500 Tygh Valley; 12,502 Dufur; Glacier, Yosemite, Bryce, Grand Teton, etc. for railroads. Copies <illegible word>.”

“ADDITIONAL GIFFORD BIOGRAPHY: In addition to the biography data listed on page 62 on Benjamin A. Gifford, internationally famous photographer of the Dalles and Portland we have:

Born at Danville, Illinois Aug. 11, 1859. His early life spent in New York and Missouri on farms. Apprenticed in photography at Fort Scott, Kan. where he learned to make his own sensitized plates, shoot out-of-door scenes, do developing by sunlight on paper prepared by himself. Came to Portland in 1888; moved to the Dalles 1892 because of the wonderful natural beauties the Creator provided in the Columbia River Gorge and immediate vicinity in addition to our fine picture-taking weather, mountain peaks, Indians, People, recreational advantages which so many of us do not see. In later years much of his work was for the railroads making enlargements of his famous northwest photos for depots and hotels in the east to draw railroad tourists and settlers in the west. He was probably better known and appreciated for his fine photography in the east than he was in Oregon!

“His studio, then called a ‘gallery’ was in the Chapman Block, now occupied by the Dalles Camera Club. He sold his business to Chas. Y. Lamb in 1908, returned to Portland so as to be closer to railroad officials, for whom he was starting to do work for, and where there was more people who appreciated photography work. His first marriage in Illinois was to Myrtle Peck and their son Ralph was born in Portland in 1894. His second marriage was to Rachel Morgan of The Dalles, daughter of Seth and Margaret (Hamilton) Morgan, pioneers of the Three Mile area. She taught school in and about the Dalles from 1897 to 1907 when she took up art work and became an assistant to Mr. Gifford from 1912 until their marriage in 1919. Mr. Gifford retired to their Vancouver, Wash. home in 1920 where they lived for 16 years until his death in 1936. He is buried in the Mt. Scott cemetery in Portland. Mrs. Gifford is a resident of Oswego and a frequent visitor of The Dalles where she still retains possession of the Gifford cherry orchard up Mill creek on Orchard road. The Gifford family home in The Dalles was at 712 E 13 and later at the northeast corner of 7 and Union.”—Biography by Mrs. Gifford.

Photographer’s Association of the Pacific Northwest, Programme of Seventh Annual Convention, September 3rd – 6th, 1907, Seattle; n.p. 1907. (unpaginated) “Members Photographic Association of the Pacific Northwest 1907…Gifford, B. A.—Dalles, Ore…”

Ballou, Robert; Early Klickitat Valley Days Goldendale WA; Goldendale Sentinel ca. 1938, pg. 105-107 “Outwitted. In research for Indian pictures on the Washington shore, in Klickitat county, he wandered to Grant ferry, when the place was a scene of much bustling activity. When he viewed the immence piles of sacked wheat, large bands of prime Mt. Adams’ lambs and droves of fat hogs, brought to Grant ferry, for shipment to markets of the nation, he quickly grasped the opportunity for getting views that would advertise Oregon with something besides scenic grandeur. Of course, Mr. Gifford did not deliberately “remove” these views across the Columbia river, but they automatically acquired an Oregon classification because of his studio trademark.

My acquaintance with him began when he came to the scale house at Grant ferry, to enlist my aid in getting a picture of a tepee and Indian family, near the water edge in front of the Jordan Orchard property. When Mr. Gifford first came to The Dalles, he soon learned many Indians were opposed to having pictures taken. He overcame this by paying them liberally for views he especially desired. Some one told him I knew all the Indians and could talk with them.

I found him a very congenial and pleasant man. He had none of the glib aggressiveness, exhibited by most present day barn storming photographers. On the way, he said he would pay the Indians for the pictures he wanted. He did not say how much. I assumed it would be around four bits, of perhaps $1. When we arrived, the only Indian at home was the lady of the lodge, a picturesque squaw. To blue print this metaphor I will say: Her raven black hair was tinged with silver threads. Her attire was a blend of Indian rainment and gaily colored paleface calico print, made especially for Indian trade. She had the usual buxom figure of middle aged Indian women. She stepped around lively, with a side-ways gait. She knew what a camera was and also knew what Mr. Gifford wanted, just as well as I. She listened intently while I spoke my piece in the best Chinook I could muster. She then wanted to know how much Mr. Gifford would pay? When I put the matter up to him, he handed me a $5 gold piece. When I expressed astonishment and told him it was not likely the Indian woman had any change, he laughed and said, ‘give her the gold piece and the picture will be worth it to me.’

When she palmed the shiny digit, the squaw quickly ducked back into the tepee and fastened the flap behind her.

There was another member of the Indian family present. It was a large husky male canine. He looked like a cross between a St. Bernard and a bulldog.

Mr. Gifford laughed and said, ‘Well young man. I guess the old squaw has slipped one over on us.’ I proposed to try and cajole her out of the tepee, but Mr. Gifford said, ‘I will get my camera ready. You try and get the dog around front. I think he is better looking than the squaw, anyhow.’ I managed to arrange this maneuver so well, that the dog appears in the photograph with a pugnacious curl in his long tail and a look on his countenance, as if to give an angry growl. After two exposures, Mr. Gifford dismantled his camera and said, ‘that’s all.’ We had only gone a few paces, when the squaw came out again and hailed me in Chinook. She wanted a promise from Mr. Gifford, that he would give her one of the pictures, when she came to his studio at The Dalles. In reply, he said, ‘Yes, tell her she can have one for $5.’ The Indian woman did not wait for any interpretation of this faux pas. Instead, she stooped, grabbed a rock, set herself like a big league baseball twirler, letting loose with a fast one and let fly at us. Believe it or not, she was left-handed. Southpaws are always erratic with their aim, so, lucky for us, the rocks she hurled either splashed harmlessly in the water, or hopped and skipped about the pebble strewn beach, while we got out of range. Her rock flinging efforts were accompanied by the usual angry clicking, clucking and sputtering in the Indian tongue. This picture with Whee-ach in the background, proved to be a best seller, in the line of Indian photos, for the Gifford studio.”

 

 

Historic photos and images