I love old photos, whether they are portraits of my ancestors or historical photos for the period when they lived. And it is important to a complete research that one attempts to understand the environment that surrounds our ancestors' lives if one wants to truly appreciate what they went through.
So where can they be found? Obviously the best resource is our own photo albums and those that our relatives possess. But what about other resources? Many archives, historical societies, libraries and genealogical societies have collections of old photos. And in the past few years there has been a massive movement towards making these historical photo collections available online. Some have search capabilities where you can actually put in a surname or a location, name of a building or historical event and find what is available.
For the state of Oregon, what collections are available for you to browse and/or search online? Here is a list of sites to start with. Please feel free to add in the comments other online resources that you might be aware of in the state.
Please be aware that there may be very strict rules regarding downloading or other use of the images that you may find. Copyright and other legal protections may be in force. Make sure that you read the limitations of use for any image that you find in these collections and wish to download and/or copy. It is your responsibility to adhere to the rules for all of these collections.
Please note that links to these sites may change in the future. The author (me) will not be constantly checking and updating these links, so if you find a broken link, please use your favorite search engine to locate the new link.
(Updated May, 2019; recently added links are in BOLD)
- Albany Regional Museum - Potts Photo Collection
- Baker County Historic Photographs
- Baker Photo Archive
- Beaverton Historical Photo Gallery
- Beaverton Historical Society Photos
- Braceros in Oregon Photograph Collection
- City of Woodburn - Recreation & Parks - Woodburn
- Columbia Gorge Discovery Center Photo Archive
- Corvallis Historical Images
- Deschutes County Historical Society Photos
- Douglas County Museum Photos
- Eastern Oregon Photo Album
- Eastern Oregon University Digital Photo Collections
- George Fox University Archives Newberg Photos
- Historic Images of Oregon
- Historical Images of Oregon State University
- Keizer Heritage Foundation Photos
- Lane County Photo Catalog
- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
- Lincoln County Historical Society Archive
- Linfield College Archives Photograph Collection
- Milwaukie Historic Photos
- National Archives - Digital Photograph Collections
- Old Oregon Photos
- Oregon Ancient Faces
- Oregon Dead Fred
- Oregon Encyclopedia
- Oregon Health and Science University Digital Collections
- Oregon Historical Photo Archive List
- Oregon Historical Photos
- Oregon Historical Society Digital Collections
- Oregon History Project
- Oregon Penny Postcards
- Oregon Pioneer Photo Gallery
- OSU Special Collections & Archives
- OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons
- Picturing the Cayuse, Walla Walla, and Umatilla Tribes
- Portland Historic Photos
- Portland State University Archives Digital Gallery
- Portland Through an African American Lens
- Smithsonian Images
- Southern Oregon Digital Archives
- Southern Oregon Historical Society Photos
- St. Paul Mission Historical Society - St. Paul
- Umatilla County Photographs, 1888-1916
- University of Oregon Libraries - Historic Photograph Collections
- University of Portland Digital Collections
- Vintage Portland Photos
- Washington County Heritage Online
- Willamette University Archival Collections
For historic photos from other states as well as articles about photo research, please visit the Photos page.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!