Russ, Dr. H. M. and Mary A. (Corvallis, Portland, Salem)

Russ, Mary A., Mrs. (1842-1911)

Post Office Gallery


1878 Salem

1881-1884 Portland

Dr. Russ had a dentistry office in Salem, and Mrs. Russ had a photograph gallery at the same location, on State street. Upon their departure W. P Johnson moved his photo studio into their old quarters.

In the summer of 1878 they moved to East Portland. At this time the business climate was transitional, since the first bridge across the Willamette was soon to be opened and the city of East Portland was incorporated into Portland.

By 1879 they had moved downtown into a gallery at 166 5th St, which was opposite the Post Office and Customs house. The 1879 Sanborn insurance map shows the “photo studio” as a small one story frame building with a shingle roof, and no adjacent structures.

Dr. Russ had a dental practice and his wife ran the photography operation at 166 5th. Both the photographic and dental work were very competitively priced, and their reception room was no doubt crowded with patients for extraction surgery and teenagers buying 36 tintype gems for 50 cents. Since Russ advertised in the Portland Daily Standard, its rival the Oregonian amused its readers with this account;


An Indignant Female

Yesterday afternoon an unsophisticated young lady from Yamhill stepped into the office of a well known dentist in this city, and after saying ‘How de do?’ proceeded to remove her hat, veil, apron, and gloves. She made no statement concerning any ailments to the teeth, but the gentlemanly D. D. S. invited her to be seated in the operating chair. He then pressed the spring, which threw the chair into a semi reclining position and was about to put his arm around her head, when she jumped to the floor and asked indignantly: ‘What do you mean, sir?’ The dentist was non-plussed. He stammered: ‘Didn’t you want some work done to your teeth?’ ‘No, sir,’ she replied, ‘I come to town to have my picture took, and I want you to leave me alone.’ and picking up her hat, etc., left the office in hot haste.” (Oregonian, 12 August 1880 pg. 3 col. 1)

Employee Listings

White, Thomas J., photographer for Post Office Gallery 1884

Directory Listings

1878 Pacific pg. 234 Salem “Russ, Mrs. M. A., photographer, State (street)”, “Russ, Dr. H. M. dentist, State (street)”

1880 PD pg. 273 East Portland “Russ, M. A. Mrs., variety store, I near Fourth, res same”

1881 Ore pg. 257 Portland “Russ, Mrs. H. M., photographer, 5th st opposite post office bet Morrison and Yamhill”

1881 PD pg. 233 “Russ, H. M., dentist and photographer 5th near Morrison res 243 Fifth near Main”

1882 GD pg. 338 “Russ, Mrs. M. A., propr Post Office gallery, Fifth e s bet Morrison & Yamhill res 166 East Park e s bet Morrison and Yamhill”; pg. 322 “Post Office Gallery, Mrs. M. A. Russ propr, e s Fifth bet Morrison and Yamhill”

1883 GD pg. 239 “Post Office Picture Gallery, Mrs. M. A. Russ, proprss, Fifth opposite post office, res 166 East Park”

1884 POWI pg. 304 “Russ, Mrs Mary A., photographer, 166 5th”, pg. 304 “Russ, Hiram A(sic), dentist, 107 Front”

1884 GD pg. 259 “Russ, Mrs., Post Office Gallery, Fifth, opposite Post Office, res 112 Seventh”

Mautz Oregon “Russ, H. M., 1880, East Portland”, “Russ, Mrs. M. A., 1878, Salem”, “Post Office Tin Type Gallery, 1885, Portland”

Photographer’s Imprints

“POST OFFICE Tin Type Gallery, 5TH STREET BET. MORRISON AND YAMHILL, PORTLAND, ORE.” rubber stamp on tintype folder back, ms note “R. G. Morrow, Portland, Or. Oct 85” (Robert Brown)


1878: “Salem Business Directory…Johnson, W. P. Photograph Gallery. Pictures taken in the highest style of art. State street in rooms formerly occupied by Mrs. Russ.” Salem Daily Record, 24 September 1878 (regular insertion)

1879: “Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Russ, photographers, had a movable gallery here on the 4th. Last Wednesday Mrs. Russ returned home, to Salem, while Mr. Russ removed his gallery to  Junction.” The Corvallis gazette, July 11, 1879, pg. 3, col. 2.

1880: “PICTURES!! Go to the New Ferreotype and Photograph Gallery for FIRST CLASS GEMS AND PHOTOS. On the east side of First street, between Stark and Washington, Portland. Dr. H. M. Russ’ New Dental Rooms adjoining Gallery. None but the Best work done.

Price of Pictures:

36 Gems                                                        .50

4 Bon Tons                                                  1.00                                              1 Cabinet                                    .50

2 Bon Tons                                                  .50                                              9 Card Size                                 1.00

Photographs Card Size, 1 doz                2.50                                              1 6×8                                            1.00

Cabinets, 1 doz                         4.00                                              1 8×10                       1.50

2 cabinets                                                     1.00

(Plus dentistry prices for teeth, extractions, etc.) Portland Daily Standard, 8 Jan 1880 (Same ad appears 10 Jan 1880 thru 24 Jan 1880)

1880: card Russ & Boyce (dentists, not photographers), 5th st. opp Post office. Portland Bulletin, 6 Dec 1880 pg. 1 col. 3

1882: dentist card, no photography, “Go to Dr. Russ for a good set of teeth for $10. no humbug… office 1st st, near Stark, over Prentice’s music store” Oregonian, 23 Oct 1882 pg. 3 col. 2 (also noted on 1 Nov 1882)

1911: “Oregon Pioneer is Dead. Mrs. Mary A Russ Was Resident of Portland for 25 Years. Mrs. Mary A. Russ, a well-known pioneer woman and wife of Dr. Hiram N. Russ, died at her home, 346 East Eighteenth street, Montavilla, Sunday, after a short illness. Mrs. Russ was born in Indiana 69 years ago. She moved with her parents to Wisconsin, where she was married to Dr. Russ October 10, 1868. With her husband she crossed the plains in 1864, reaching Salem, Or., in 1868. They resided in Salem, Albany, and Eugene for a short time, when they moved to Portland, where they lived for 35 years. Three years ago Dr. and Mrs. Russ celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. During the Civil War Mrs. Russ was interested in the sanitary work in behalf of the Union soldiers. She is survived by a husband, Dr. Hiram N. Russ, and the following children: Mrs. Mary Estella Guthrie, Portland, Or.; Mrs. Ida Belle Warren, Oak.” The Oregonian, 28 March, 1911, pg. 15


Brown, Robert O., Nineteenth Century Portland, Oregon Photographers: A Collector’s Handbook (author; Portland, 1991) pg. 52, 75, 75, 76