Kiser, Frederick H. & Oscar H. (Warrendale, Portland)

Kiser, Frederick H.
Kiser, Oscar H. ( -1904)
Kiser Bros
Kiser Photo Co.
Kiser Scenic Photo Studio.
1903-1905 Warrendale
1905-ca.1925 Portland
One of the best known commercial view photographers in the era between the turn of the century and the first world war.
The brothers grew up on Columbia Beach, on the Columbia River opposite Beacon Rock. Their parents owned the Columbia Beach Hotel and Nursery.
Fred was a longtime member of the Mazamas, a mountain climbing club that is still active and based in Portland. He was a frequent contributor of photographs to their publication.
Oscar died in a boating accident in 1905. He is buried in Lone fir cemetery in Portland.
In 1915, Fred Kiser he sold his business, in order to devote his time to photograph ing the new Columbia River Highway. In 1922, Fred Kiser opened a motion picture studio.
Murals by Kiser presently are on display at Multnomah Falls Lodge, Crater Lake Lodge, and the chateau at Oregon Caves. It is certain the Kiser Brothers were technically able to produce murals no later than 1905.
Sawyer Scenic Photos claimed they bought the negatives of Kiser, and there are many prints with Kiser signed in negative on prints produced for sale by Sawyer. It is known that groups of Kiser negatives are at other locations, including the OHS.
Employee Listings
Ely, Maie, Miss., tinted 1907 Portland Hotel exhibition
Frost, Garner B., photographer for Kiser 1905
Stevens, David M., photographer for Kiser 1905
Directory Listings
1903 POW pg. 445 “Kiser Bros, photographers”, “Kiser, P. H., propr Columbia Beach Hotel and Nursery”
1903 PCD not listed
1904 PCD pg. 553 “Kiser Bros (Fred H and Oscar H), scenic photographers 425-426 Abington bldg.”, “Kiser, Fred H (Kiser Bros) bds 874 E Yamhill.”, “Kiser, Oscar H (Kiser Bros) bds 874 E Yamhill.”
1905 PCD pg. 625 “Kiser Photographic Co (Fred H Kiser, David M Stephens), Official Photographer for Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition 602 Goodnough Bldg”; “Kiser, Fred H (Kiser Photographic Co), res 1044 E Washington.”; “Kiser, Oscar H bds 546 E 18th”
1905 POW pg. 550 Warrendale “Kiser Bros, photographers”
1906 PCD pg. 924 “Kiser, Frederick H, res 921 E Stark”; pg. 1308 “Kiser Photo Co, 424 Lumber Exchange Bldg”
1907 POW pg. 598 Warrendale “Kiser Bros, photographer” “Kiser, P. H., hotel”
1907 PCD pg. 764 “Kiser Photo Co, F H Kiser Pres, Scenic Photographers, Sales Dept 248 Alder”; pg. 763 “Kiser, Frederick H, pres Kiser Photo Co, res 9212 E Stark”
1909 PCD pg. 810 “Kiser Photo Co, F H Kiser Pres, Scenic Photographers 240 E 32d, Tel B1477”; “Kiser Fredk H pres Kiser Photo Co h 240 E 32d” plus display ad
1910 Or. not listed
1910 PCD pg. 638 “Kiser Photographic Co, Fred H. Kiser pres 240 E 32nd”, “Kiser, Fredk H., Kiser Photo Co h 240 E 32nd”
1910 Lane County directory pg. 80 lists Eaton, Allen Book Bindery, Eaton’s Book and Art Store” (Lane is Kiser’s Eugene representative)
1911 PCD pg. 820 “Kiser Photo Company, Frederick H Kiser pres, Clarence L Winter vice-pres, Allen Eaton (Eugene) sec, 240 E 32d”; “Kiser Fredk H pres Kiser Photo Co h 240 E 32d”
1912 PCD pg. 854 “Kiser Photo Company, Frederick H Kiser Pres, Clarence L Winter Vice Pres, Allen Eaton (Eugene) Sec, 240 E 32d, Tel Tabor 2878, B 1477”; “Kiser Fredk H pres Kiser Photo Co h 240 E 32d” plus display ad
1913 PCD pg. 700 “Kiser Photo Company, Frederick H Kiser Pres, Clarence L Winter Vice Pres, Allen Eaton (Eugene) Sec, 240 E 32d, Tel Tabor 2878, B 1477”; “Kiser Fredk H pres Kiser Photo Co h 240 E 32d” plus display ad
1914 PCD pg. 842 “Kiser Photo Company, Frederick H Kiser Pres, Clarence L Winter, Allen H Eaton (Eugene) sec), Rear 240 E 32d, Tel Tabor 2878”; “Kiser, Fredk H (Bessie) (Kiser Photo Co) h Scappoose RFD 1” plus display ad
1914 PCBD Photographers “Kiser Photo Co, 240 E 32nd”
1915 PCD pg. 694 “Kiser Photo Company, Frederick H Kiser Pres, L E Crouch Sec, Alfred L Parkhurst Treas, 773 Milwaukie, Tel Sellwood 1842”, “Kiser, Fredk H (Bessie) pres Kiser Photo Co. h 1473 E 18th” plus display ad
1916 PCD pg. 703 “Kiser’s Scenic Photo Studio, Fred H Kiser Mgr, 773, Milwaukie, Tel Sellwood 1842”; “Kiser, Fred H (Bessie) mgr Kiser’s Scenic Photo Studio h 1473 E 18th” plus display ad
1917 PCD pg. 649 “Kiser’s Scenic Photo Studio, Fred H Kiser Mgr, 773, Milwaukie, Tel Sellwood 1842”; “Kiser Photo Co- see Winter Photo Co”; “Kiser, Fred H (Bessie C) mgr Kiser’s Scenic Photo Studio”; pg. 1235 “Winter Photo Co, Successor to Kiser Photo Co (C L Winter, F P Luetters), 240 E 32d St, Tabor 2878); plus display ad
1917 PJD pg.76 Photographers “Kiser Scenic Photo Studio, Fred H. Kiser,mgr. 773 Milwaukie St., Sellwood 1842, B-1842. Scenic”; pg.76 Photographers “Winter Photo Co. C. L. Winter, F. P. Luetters, Propr. Successor to Kiser Photo Co. 240 East 32d St. Tabor 2878 scenic”
1920 PCD pg. 803 “Kiser’s Scenic Photo Studio, Fred H Kiser Mgr, 773, Milwaukie, Tel Sellwood 1842”; “Kiser, Fred H (Bessie C) pres-mgr Scenic American Co mgr Kiser’s Scenic Photo Studio h 1819 E Morrison”; pg. 1258 “Scenic American Co F H Kiser pres-mgr H A Sands v-pres photgrs 773 Milwaukie” plus display ad quoted below.
1925 PCD pg. 920 “Kiser Studios Inc, Fred H Kiser Pres, Richard J. Grace Sec, E B Labbe Treas, 773 Milwaukie St., Sellwood 1842”
Photographer’s Imprints
“Kiser Bros. Warrendale, Ore” hand-signed on mount, ms date 1903 (OHS collection)
“Lewis & Clark Offical Photographic Co. F. H. Kiser, director. 602 Goodnough Bldg, Portland OR” printed on mount front, “C. 1905 Kiser Photo Co.” stamped on print, 6 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ print on 11″ x 13″ mount (OHS)
News Items and Advertisements
1907: “CAMERA CATCHES OREGON SCENES. Kiser Exhibition at Portland Hotel Attracts an Admiring Crowd. MAYOR PRAISES ARTIST. After October 1 Collection Goes to Various Coast Towns and Thence East to Principal Cities on Mission of Education. In many ways the finest art collection ever on exhibition in Portland is to be seen in the parlors of the Portland Hotel. The pictures are the results of eight years work by F. H. Kiser, one of the best scenic photographic artists in this country, and cost to produce over $40,000. On the walls of the two rooms are hung 200 exquisitely colored scenes of Oregon scenery, while on the tables are over 800 additional views.
“The exhibit was opened yesterday at 2 o’clock. Mayor Lane presided and spoke briefly, followed by Will G, Steel and C. H. Sholes, president of the Mazamas. The rooms were crowded with many of the most prominent people of Portland and guests of the hotel. The pictures will be open to view from 8 in the morning till 10 at night every day, including Sunday, till October 1. From this city the collection will be taken to various Oregon towns for a few days in each, and will then be shown a week or more in about 20 of the leading cities of the East, including New York and Chicago.
“Lecture on Crater Lake. They will be in the care of Henry B. Corliss, who is in charge of the present exhibit, with the assistance of Miss Esther Gunther. Miss Male Ely, who for years colored the famous Yellowstone Park views, did the tinting in the present collection. Saturday, at 10 A. M., will be High School day when Mr. Steel will deliver a lecture on Crater Lake. No admission whatever in charged at any time.
“The exhibit is easily located in the hotel by two superb views of “The Coming of the White Man” and “Sacajawea, the Bird Woman,” on either side the door. As a study in browns these two splendid pictures alone are well worth going to see, to say nothing of the wealth of artistic conceptions within.
“Mayor Lane Lauds Work. Mayor Lane, in his introductory remarks, spoke as follows: Ladies and gentleman, I have been called upon to be present at the opening of the Kiser exhibit, a collection of photographs of the mountain scenery of the State of Oregon. It is a pleasure and an honor; we owe as a master of justice, many words of thanks to the gentleman who has risked his life and been to great expense and trouble to produce such an elegant collection of views as we see here today; and he has many more which are not an exhibition at this time. In his efforts as an artist, Mr. Kiser has become, as a matter of fact, a public benefactor to the state. His work will live after him, and will bring great good to the state; for an exhibit of this kind cannot be made in the Eastern States.
“People in the East do not “comprehend that such scenery as this exists; they would not believe it if we tried to describe it to them by word of mouth; if we made oath to it they would still doubt. They might even dispute the work of the painter, saying that it was the product of his imagination. But these cold facts as they are presented by the camera, a scientific and accurate instrument, is astonishing to those who are unnoqnaited with Oregon. Such an exhibit throughout the East will be of great advantage to the state; it will bring us tourists, hundreds and thousands of people who travel all over the world in the Summer season, many of them visiting places that have no such scenery as we have here.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Kiser for his efforts in his behalf. So I am prepared to say, not only as Mayor of this city, but as an old Oregonian, who was born in the state, and has always thought Oregon was one of the most beautiful countries in the world and as one who has been through the mountains hunting and fishing, that we all greatly appreciate and admire the work which Mr. Kiser has done; and I thank him in the name of the city and the state for the great work he is doing and has done, believing that for the future it will be of great and enduring value to the state.
“A work of this kind is of value in opening up the resources of the state to people who visit it as tourists, as well as those who come here as investors. It will serve to make the people of the East acquainted with the attractions of the state from a scenic standpoint, and in that regard deserves our unqualified support.
“Tells About Collector. Mr. Sholes, in opening the exhibit, spoke in part as follows: An artist is not without honor save in his own city. There is a Portland boy, whose name and fame are practically unknown in this city, who is today winning laurels among Eastern admirers of Western scenery, and I am informed that he has more commissions to execute than he can possibly keep up with. He has been “discovered” in the East. I have no doubt there are well informed people in Portland who when they read of this exhibition will say “Who is Kiser?” And we must not blame them too much for their ignorance. The true artist does not binnon illegible his war with the sound of trumpets. His son is in his work, and if he achieves that which he struggles for in his art that is satisfaction enough for him. There comes a time, however, in the history of every artist when to be ignorant of his work argues oneself unknown or grossly ignorant.
“Mr. Kiser is of Portland, Or.; his whole ambition is bound up in the wonderful scenery of the great Northwest; and through this exhibition of his work the citizens of Portland are given an opportunity to discover a real and genuine artist in photography. Let us hope they will reserve to themselves the honor of making that discovery before this exhibit goes to Eastern cities, for after that it will be too late; recognition will speedily come from connoisseurs, and to that city or state or country that finds an artist, first recognizes the glory of his work, and announces it to a waiting world forever belonging in more or less degree the joy of ownership is him and in his work.” Oregonian, 27 September 1907, pg. 12.
1915: “Kiser Photo Co, Art Photographers, Largest and Greatest Collection of Photographs showing Pacific Northwest Scenery Makers of Colored in Oil Enlargements, Colored in Oil Prints, Lantern Slides and Transparencies. Telephone Sellwood 1842 Studio 773 Milwaukie St, Portland, Ore.” Polk’s Portland City Directory 1917. Portland; R. L. Polk & Co. 1915 pg. 1503.
1917: “Kiser’s Studio. Fred H. Kiser, Manager, Scenic-Photo Artist Hand-Colored-In-Oil Photos. Enlargements, Transparencies, Lantern Slides of Northwest Scenery. 773 Milwaukie Street, Portland, Oregon.” Polk’s Portland City Directory 1917. Portland; R. L. Polk & Co. 1917. pg. 1474
1920: “Kiser’s Studio. Fred H. Kiser, Mgr. Scenic-Photo Artist, Hand-Colored-In-Oil Photos. Enlargements, Transparencies, Lantern Slides of Northwest Scenery. Mezzanine Floor Benson Hotel and 773 Milwaukie Street, Portland, Oregon.” Polk’s Portland City Directory 1920. Portland; R. L. Polk & Co. 1920. pg. 1808.
1983: article about biography of Kiser under preparation by Mark Parsons, of Vancouver WA. Oregonian, 10 April 1983, NW mag., pg. 17

1921: “MOVIE STUDIO PROJECTED Permit to Establish Laboratory
Asked Of City Council. Special permission for the transformation of a building at Milwaukie and Bush streets, owned by the Scenic America company. Into a motion picture studio was asked from the city council yesterday. The laboratory is to be conducted by the Kiser Studios, Inc, of which Fred H. Kiser, photographer of outdoor
scenes, is prime mover. Plans for the establishment of the new photoplay company in Portland are well under way, according to Rasmussen & Grace, contractors, who
made the application for the permit. Outdoor plays will be used as much as possible to allow the full use of wonderful mountain and valley scenery within easy access of Portland. A conference between A. L. Barbur, commissioner of public works; H. E.
Plummer, chief of the bureau of buildings, and Edward C Grenfell, fire marshal, will be held later to pass upon the plans for the new studio.” Morning Oregonian, March 29, 1921, pg. 10, col. 3.
Kiser, Fred; Crater Lake, Published and copyrighted by Kiser Studios, Portland, Oregon. n. d. hand tinted gravure plates tipped in. text by Josephine H. Fourney.
Kiser, Fred; The Hidden Power of Money, Los Angeles; Wetzel publishing 1941.
Oregonian 26 May 1946 mag. pg. 5 (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”
Mark Parsons, unpublished biography of Kiser.
Kiser Bros., Pacific Coast Pictures, Portland c.1904
Ellen S. Thomas, Scooping the Local Field; Oregon’s Newsreel Industry, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 90, No. 3, Fall 1989, pg. 229
Filming the Old Oregon Country, Portland ca. 1920 promotional brochure of Kiser Studios.
Scenic Wonders – Portland and Columbia River. Kiser Photographic Co. n. d., (printed by the Albertype Co, Brooklyn, NY), 24 plates, many of which are ©1903-1904 Kiser. These are among the best of Kiser’s work.
See America First, Great Northern Railway, Kaiser Photographs. hot-stamp printed cover, bound book of 8×10 photographic prints, prints are individually copyrighted 1909 by Kiser Photo Co, Portland, Oregon. prints are captioned, some are ms. and some are hot-stamped.
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…Keiser Bros. (sic)—Portland, Ore…”