Hall, James J. (Woodburn)

James J. Hall (1871-1947)
1905-1945 Woodburn
On 25 November 1905, Hall bought the studio of A. Jensen, where he was employed. The original bill of sale is preserved, with a full itemized inventory of the capital items including two cameras, props and backdrops.
In 1907 he purchased the Kodak stock of Grover Drug Co., and applied to Kodak for the transfer of the Kodak franchise from Grover to his own studio, which was turned down. By 1924 he was successful in obtaining the Kodak franchise for cameras and amateur supplies, as a 1924 envelope attests.
Hall did portrait work, general commercial work and on-location photography of buildings and farms. He also produced lantern slides. He did scenic photography of the Columbia Gorge and the Oregon coast, and sold real-photo post cards of his images. He opened a branch gallery in Canby for a short period. In later years he was equipped with a Graflex for portraits. He was mayor of Woodburn for three consecutive terms. According to his grandson, his glass negatives were stored on the second floor of a building, and when the weight threatened to collapse the structure they were converted into greenhouse glass. However it appears the family did donate a large group of prints and negatives to the Oregon State Library in Salem. He liquidated his studio in March 1945. The studio was bought by Esther Johnson, who operated it under the name Alyce Studio. He died on 26 March 1947.
Directory Listings
1907 POW pg. 606 Woodburn “Hall, James J photographer”
1909 POW pg. 537 Woodburn “Hall, James J photographer”
1910 Or. pg. 302 Woodburn “Hall, Jas J., photos, Front St.”
1911 POW pg. 528 Woodburn “Hall, Jas J photographer”
1913 POW pg. 1952 photographers “Hall, J. J., Woodburn O”
1913 Salem Directory: Woodburn pg. 421″Hall, James J. (Jane), photgr and photgrs supplies ws Front 3 n Arthur, res ns Lincoln av 1 w Corby”
1915 POW pg. 1493 photographers “Hall, J. J., Woodburn, O”
1917 POW pg. 1536 photographers “Hall, J. J., Woodburn, O”
1925 POW pg. 490 Woodburn “Hall, James J. photog”
1934 Marion County Polk pg. 584 Woodburn “Hall, James J (Jane) photog 237 Front h 253 E Lincoln”
1942 Polk Salem pg. 717 Woodburn “Hall, James J. (Jane) photog 237 N Front h 253 Lincoln
Photographer’s Imprints
“Woodburn Studio, Jas. J. Hall, Prop.” rubber stamp on portrait back (early)
“Hall Studio, Woodburn Ore.” printed on front of portrait mount (1920s-1930s)
“Hall Studio, Woodburn Ore.” printed inside of portrait folder (1940s)
“Hall Studio, Woodburn, Oregon.” blind stamp on portrait mount (c. 1908)
Special Papers
BILL OF SALE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO: “Woodburn, 11-25-05, I hereby sell and convey to Jas. J. Hall the following described property for the sum of $185.00. (signed) A. Jensen. 1 Rect. Lens, cost $100.00, $50.00; 1 8×10 camera, cost $25.00, 18.00; 1 Camera Stand, cost $9.00, $6.00, 1 holder $13.50; Backgrounds, cost $35.00, $20.00; Posing Chair, cost $6.00, $5.00; Cane Chair $8.00; One Chair $1.00; 2 50 ¢; 3 stools $1.00; Retouching Frame $3.00; Table for same 50¢; Center Table $1.00; Spread for Same $1.00; Head screen & rest $5.00;, Printing Frames 7-(4 1/4 x 6 1/2), 2-(5×8), 3-(4×5), 3-(6×8), 4-(8×10), 4-(5×7) $10.00; Goat Skin Robe $3.00; Brass Forms and Trimmers $2.50; View Camera $6.00; Wide Angle Lens $10.00; Miscellaneous $5.00″ from Hall family papers.
Letter to James J. Hall from A. Jensen, on Letterhead of Browning Photo Studio, 8 July 1907 “Friend Hall, You wrote about a crayon of Ingle’s baby, I haven’t got any baby pictures from you to be enlarged. The only one I had was of the man that I sent with the plates last week and one I got Saturday of an old lady.
I met with Mr. Anderson on the street this afternoon. He said they were all packed up. They are here in town. He is undecided about going to Glendale. He said he could get a job from Ladd and Tilton at $100.00 per mo. I told him to take job and let Glendale go. Wouldn’t you? and let the people at Glendale go to h—. They will only give him $100.00 a year. That would be no better than Woodburn.
He is going to see about the job tomorrow, and will come in to see me tomorrow night. I carry mail in the daytime and work at Mrs. Browning’s after I am through. She got another man last Monday but he was no good so she fired him. She will try to get along with what I can help. I got your $5.00. The last lot I sent up was $1.00 for the crayon, 45 for cards, and I figure the retouching at $2.00. This time retouching $1.00.
You got some money from Anderson. Do you want to use it, or do you want to let me have enough to pay up my land?
I will take the plates to the depot tonight. That is the only place open after 6. A. Jensen.” (Hall family papers, courtesy Jeffry Uecker)
LIQUIDATION OF STUDIO IN MARCH 1945, PAPER FOR IRS: “James J. and Jane Hall, Woodburn, Oregon. Schedule D (Form 1040) Photo Studio Equipment, Furniture and fixtures, Mdse. and supplies: Sold March 1945 for total of $1500.00; For Mdse and supplies (Inc. in sales–Sched, C) $500; (balance obtained by deducting the second figure from the first) $1000…” from Hall family papers.
News Items and Advertisements
1923?: “ELECTED MAYOR OF NATIVE CITY 3 TIMES- James J. Hall. Woodburn, Ore., Jan. 30 (Special) – James J. Hall, life resident of Woodburn, is serving his third successive term as mayor of the busy town between Portland and Salem. He was born in Woodburn on June 6, 1871. Progressive economy in city administration has been the aim striven at by Mayor Hall. Without increasing the municipal debt he has attempted to carry out improvement programs such as paving and sewer extensions planned for this year. He is a photographer…” (includes portrait of James J. Hall) unidentified clipping in Hall family papers.
1947: “James J. Hall Rites Friday. Woodburn, March 26- James J. (Jupe) Hall, 75, life long resident of Woodburn and for whose family the community of Hall was named, died early today at a Salem hospital. A native of Woodburn he had for many years operated a photographic studio, retiring in 1945.
Besides his photographic business he was a rural mail carrier in the pre motorized days. He was the son of Benjamin and Mary Hall, born June 10, 1871. He was mayor of Woodburn from 1918 until 1924 and was on the city council from 1929-1930.
He was married to Jane Dawson Nov. 16, 1897 and they were making plans for observance of their golden wedding anniversary this fall.
Besides the widow survivors are a son, Neill D. Hall, Seattle; a daughter, Mrs. Margaret Oster, Potsdam, New York; and four grand children. Funeral services will be held at 2 p. m. Friday from Ringo’s mortuary and final services at Mt. Crest abby, Salem.” unidentified newspaper clipping, Hall family papers.
1947: “J. J. Hall Dies On Wednesday. J. J. Hall, resident of Woodburn for the last 42 years, died Wednesday morning at the Deaconess hospital in Salem after an illness of several months. Funeral arrangements are being made at the Ringo chapel but were not completed before the Independent went to press.
Mr. Hall came to Woodburn in 1905 and set up a photographic studio off Young street near the Southern Pacific station. In 1911 he built a brick structure for his studio on Front street just south of Young. He retired from business in 1945.
Mr. Hall was active in civic affairs and had served as mayor of the city. He was also a leader in the Garden club, and was chairman of this year’s flower show until illness made it necessary for him to withdraw.
He is survived by his widow, Mrs. J. J. Hall of Woodburn; a son Neal (sic) Hall of Seattle; and a daughter, Mrs. Arthur Foster of Potsdam, N. Y. Both of his children arrived in Woodburn prior to his death.” The Independent, (Woodburn) undated clipping, Hall family papers.
1947: “James J. Hall, Woodburn, Dies. Woodburn- James J. Hall, 75, life long resident of Woodburn, died early Wednesday morning, March 26, at the Deaconess hospital in Salem. Son of Benjamin Hall and Mary Johnson Hall, pioneers of this vicinity, he was born on the Hall homestead adjoining Woodburn June 10, 1871, and lived here all of his life. For 40 years he operated a photograph gallery here, retiring about three years ago. He served as mayor of Woodburn from 1918 to 1924 and on the city council in 1929 and 1930.
Mr. Hall and Miss Jane Dawson were married at Woodburn November 16, 1897, and were planning for the celebration of their golden wedding anniversary this fall.
Besides his wife he is survived by a son, Neill D. Hall of Seattle; a daughter, Mrs Margaret Oster of Potsdam, New York, and 4 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements will be made by Ringo.” Capital Journal (Salem) 26 March 1947, pg. 11.
1947: “JAMES J. HALL. Woodburn, March 27 (Special)- James J. Hall, 75, a life-long resident of Woodburn, died Wednesday at a Salem hospital.
Son of Benjamin Hall and Mary Ann Johnson Hall, pioneers of this district, he was born on the Hall homestead adjoining Woodburn June 10, 1871, and lived all of his life here. For 40 years Mr. Hall operated a photo studio here, retiring about three years ago. He served as mayor from 1918 to 1924 and on the city council in 1929 and 1930…” unidentified obituary in Hall family papers.
1950: “Jane Dawson Hall, a prominent resident of Woodburn for the last 60 years, died Monday, November 6th, 1950, at her home at 396 Montgomery Street, after an extended illness. Born in San Creek, Saunders County, Nebraska, January 7, 1875. She was married to J. J. Hall November 14, 1897. Together with her late husband, she conducted a photography business in Woodburn for a number of years…” typescript of unidentified obituary, Hall family papers.
The Focus, (periodical) San Francisco; Hirsch & Kaye, vol. XVII no.9, September 1941 pg. 1. “INTRODUCING- … James J. Hall was born in Woodburn, Oregon. His parents were pioneers of the state, his father settling there in 1845. He was raised on a farm and when conditions permitted, he attended a county school for the vicinity. On graduating from school, he attended the Oregon State College, and it was followed by his appointment in the postal service. He carried the mail for three years until sickness compelled him to make a change.
While it was his early ambition own and operate a little farm, his mind turned to photography and in 1905 he found employment with Mr. A. Jensen, who operated the studio at Woodburn. Some time later he purchased the studio, which he has operated as his own since that time. At one time he had a branch in Canby, but decided he could best succeed if he could give his individual attention to one, rather than two, studios.
Looking back at his earlier decision, Mr. Hall is still of the opinion that were he to make a similar decision a second time, he would stick to photography.
He is a member of several fraternal organizations but is not regular in his attendance. He has been interested in local politics. For six years he was mayor of Woodburn and at a later time was a member of the city council. He was also city recorder, but with all this experience he is not interested in politics as a career.
Aside from the studio his principal interest in life is his family. His son is an engineer for a telephone company in Seattle and his daughter is a teacher in the Anaheim High School. He likes gardening and delights in flowers and shrubs. Photographers passing through Woodburn and interested in flowers will find much of common interest in conversation with Mr. Hall.” (includes portrait of James J. Hall)
Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester NY, letter to Jas. J. Hall, dated 21 March 1907. “Dear Sir:- We have your favor of the 13th inst., stating you have purchased the stock of our goods formerly in the hands of the Grover Drug Company.
In looking over the purchases of your predecessors it hardly seems as though you could have taken over much of a stock. It is not customary for us to continue extending trade discounts to dealers who do not carry a fairly representative assortment of cameras in stock and we find we sold the Grover Drug Company less than $12.00 worth of cameras in 1905 and less than $10.00 in 1906. We also find that their purchases of amateur supplies in general during last year were practically nothing. The bulk of their purchases seem to have been professional goods, principally plates and paper.
As regards extending you trade discounts, (we) wish to say that we cannot, according to our general policy extend you as a professional photographer trade discounts on goods for your own use. We are obliged to make this a general rule as it would be manifestly unfair to give one photographer the advantages of discounts over another. In other words there would be no advantage to you in handling these goods except the profits on strictly amateur products and judging from the Drug Company’s purchases of these for the past two years they would amount to practically nothing, their purchases in that time being $48.46. Yours Truly, Eastman Kodak Company by
Woodburn Independent, 14 January 1965, mag. pg. 1, 3, 4 “J. J. HALL, Pioneer Photographer… He had learned the trade from his predecessor and was now on his own in the little studio located near the present Bernard Chevrolet Co. car lot on Young St… As a photographer, Hall had an able teacher as he learned his trade from a former Woodburn photographer, a man named Jensen. Jensen was a skilled craftsman and some of his prize winning photos are still in existence. Thus began a business career in Woodburn which lasted 42 years… In 1911 he built a brick building next door to the Masonic hall into which he moved his photo studio. Downstairs was a shop displaying photo supplies and equipment and a darkroom, while upstairs was the studio. It had a large glassed-in area which gave a soft north light which was necessary for good portraiture. Artificial lighting was coming into use, but Hall depended upon the natural north light for his photos for many years. … During the 42 years that Hall served as area photographer, he was a familiar sight at family gatherings, schools, or anywhere that pictures were desired. He had a camera that was more portable than the big studio camera, and with this he traveled all over the prairie taking pictures. At first he used a horse and buggy, and later an automobile… After Hall’s death in 1947 the plates were donated to the picture collection by Esther Johnson, proprietor of Alyce Studio, successor to the Hall Studio…

.” includes illus., portrait of Hall, view of studio camera.
Letter from David C. Duniway, State Archivist, Oregon State Library, Salem, to Mrs. Margaret Foster, dated 1 December 1950. Letter acknowledges donation of prints and negatives, and other materials. Index of subject categories. Header: Oregon State Archives Records Transfer Inventory No. 80. (Hall family papers)
Foster, Jim, of Klamath Falls, Oregon, grandson of J. J. Hall, letter to author dated 3 September 1992.
Hall, Neill D., of Seattle, WA, son of J. J. Hall, letter to author received September 1992.