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William J. Smith photographs

Identifier: PH 025

Scope and Contents note

The William J. Smith photographs consist of 47 glass-plate negatives and 20 prints, primarily in stereo format. The images were annotated in 1991 by a member of the family, Mrs. Grace Ruth Smith. The collection is arranged by format in three series: 1. Detroit, Oregon: Images of the vicinity of Detroit and its denizens, logging, and the Smith & Smith mill, c. 1898-1920, 2. People: Friends and family, c. 1898-1920, 3. Landscapes: Scenery, c. 1920-1983.


  • Creation: 1900-1911


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room.

Physical Access

Glass plate negatives and lantern slides are restricted due to the fragility of the format. All decisions regarding use will be at the discretion of the curator for visual materials.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical/Historical note

Little is known about William J. Smith. He was a member of a family that ran the Smith & Smith Mill in the early days of Detroit, Oregon. Detroit was named by families who emigrated from Michigan, and the Smith family was probably one of them. Smith did business in Detroit as W.J. Smith, dealer in lumber, poles and piling, and timber lands, selling out eventually to Gareck [?]. (The original site of Detroit and Macky Place was drowned in 1955 by the construction of Detroit Dam and Detroit Lake.) Information about Smith is primarily derived from annotations provided by Mrs. Grace Ruth Smith in 1991.


0.5 linear feet (3 containers)

Language of Materials



William J. Smith (dates unknown) grew up in Detroit, Oregon, at the turn of the century, and went into the family timber business. The Smith & Smith Mill processed timber in the Macky Place area. The collection consists of 69 photographs documenting the mill, the original town of Detroit, and landscape, and include several shots of the transportation of a donkey engine across a river and up a steep slope in 1911.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Some of the negatives were acquired from an unknown source prior to 1970. The prints and 21 additional negatives were donated by Mrs. Grace Ruth Smith in 1991.

General Physical Description note

3 containers, including 67 photographs

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Normandy S. Helmer, November 2004.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the William J. Smith photographs
Complete Description
Normandy Helmer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA