Idaho State Archives Historic Photographs
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Photo Credit: R. Harold Sigler 62-20 16007
Experience Idaho’s visual history through the extensive photograph collections available at the Idaho State Archives, a division of the Idaho State Historical Society. Images date from the Territorial period to present day. The collections offer a variety of subjects, including ethnic, mining, military, railroads, and geographic locations. Noteworthy Idaho photographers are featured, such as Bisbee, Sigler, and Fuller.
Access to on-line indexes, digital image galleries and photographs from the collection are available online and at the Image Center located in the Research Center of the Idaho State Archives. Research Center staff is happy to provide assistance for locating and ordering photographs. Please check often for new collections.
View All Digital Image Collections
View all digitized collections. You can also select a specific photographer or Subject below. New photographs and collections are added regularly.
Digital Image Collections
The Browsing Collection
This collection is called the Browsing Collection because it is a collection of images available for patrons to browse through in the Merle W. Wells Research Center. The Browsing Photographs Collection is comprised of a vast array of subjects and locations from across Idaho. Biographies, general subjects, Native American groups, Idaho towns and Boise subjects come together to collectively form the Browsing Collection. The collection is considered a great starting point for researchers who simply want to browse general subjects and towns or are unsure of exactly what they are looking for. This collection is being added to weekly and is part of a greater digitization project to have the whole Browsing Collection available online.
Idaho Biographical Photograph Index
This index can be searched by name for photographs of people from Idaho.
Patrick Collins-Civil War Collection
This collection contains military documents, letters, family documents, and photographs related to the military career of Major Patrick Collins dating between 1833-1867. It features many soldiers in Civil War uniform and is informative of life during the Civil War but also of a family who moved out west after the war was over. This collection also features a document signed by Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.
Territorial Images of Boise
Territorial Images of Boise capture the development and changes of the city between 1863 and 1890. Photographs include Main Street, School and Businesses.
Idaho Old Penitentiary
Photographs of inmates, guards, the construction and fire of the Old Pen, and what daily life was like through the years. Dates range from 1870s-1980s.
Courthouses throughout Idaho dating from the Territorial Period to the 1970s. Some images are postcards and drawings.
Hazelton, Idaho Glass Plate Negative Collection
This collection is only comprised of 11 photographs but they are remarkable in what they depict and thier detail. They are 5x7 glass plate negatives images that have been scanned directly from the plate. The detail from a glass plate image surpasses many of the digitally enhanced images seen today. The images are of different and never seen before views of Hazelton. These photographs bring to light what character and meaning a photograph can have.
Lewiston State Normal Zimmerly Air Transport Album
The album documents the Navy Flight training program contracted by Lewiston State Normal and Zimmerly Air Transport in Lewiston, Idaho 1942-1943. This photograph album contains photos of runways, offices, shops, personnel, airplanes, Navy cadets and officers, athletics, and classes. There are also photographs of the Lewiston State Normal School, aerial views of Lewis-Clarkston and Fish Lake.The CAA War Training Service utilized civil aviation in a program for the flight training of naval personnel during WWII at locations throughout the U.S. Zimmerly Air transport was a flight contractor for the CAA training center that was located at Lewiston State Normal School at Lewiston, Idaho.
Everett “Shorty” Fuller
Everett "Shorty" Fuller was a freelance photographer in the Boise Valley during the 1930s and 1940s. Photos depict candid shots, and major events of the 30s and 40s in rural and urban areas of Boise Valley. Fuller PDF Inventory
Leo J. "Scoop" Leeburn
Leo J. "Scoop" Leeburn was a famous Boise area photographer that captured many iconic Boise images . Leeburn, started his photo journalism career in 1943, took pictures up until his death in 2002 at the age of 81. His photos appeared in The Idaho Statesman and Leeburn has been labeled Boise’s, “Unofficial photographer-at-large,” and “A Boise institution.“ His photographs show Boiseans' life at work and thier activities. The Boise Urban Renewal Project was also documented by Leeburn. His work has been featured in many exhibits. Leeburn PDF Inventory
R. Harold Sigler
The Boise photographer R. Harold Sigler is known for his portraits serving as the official photographer for Boise High School. The Sigler photograph collection includes not only his portraits, but encompasses at least 30,000 individual subjects of urban and rural landscapes, public buildings, churches, businesses and homes, athletic events, parades, and theatrical productions. Sigler photographs offer a visual recording of Boise and South Western towns of Idaho. Sigler PDF Inventory
J. A. Hanson was a professional photographer with studios in Moscow (in partnership with Henry Erichson), 1890-1892, and Grangeville, 1892-1910. His images capture rarely seen early images of Idaho. Hanson PDF Inventory
Leonard J Howard
Leonard J Howard documented the important period between 1899 and 1939. Howard traveled throughout Idaho and created a visual history of the roads, construction, and what life was like in Idaho during this time period. Howard PDF Inventory
Vogel Estate Collection
Many of the collections donated to the Idaho State Historical Society are digitized to provide access and preservation. The Vogel Estate Collection was donated in 2008 and features an array of postcards of views around Idaho. These postcards, which are only a fraction of the Postcard collection at ISHS, reflect how images were shared and sent to others. The collection also features views of Sun Valley Lodge when it first opened, Shoshone Falls, Thousand Springs and the Sawtooth Mountains just to name a few.
Lora Kulow-Civil War Album Collection
The Lora Kulow Collection (MS591) has material from 1860-1917. The Photograph album contains portraits of Civil War soldiers and thier families. The collection also boasts a large number of letters between the Kulow family after the Civil War. There is also a journal started in 1885 by Sarah E. Harger who is now buried in Morris Hill cemetery. The collection also has leather postcards, childrens books, a pocket seller and a history book.
U.S. Forest Service Collection
This collection of 339 black and white photographs document forestry activities in the Payette and Boise national forests. Included are photos of planning, site studies, grazing, homesteads, ranger stations, lookouts, and log buildings. 110 of these photographs are digtized. Whole collection is available to view.
Image Catalog for the Idaho Statehouse
Learn about the Idaho State Archives involvement with the Idaho Capitol Commission and view a selection of images catalog chosen specifically for tenants of Idaho's Capitol Building.
The Idaho Civilian Conservation Corps
The Idaho CCC collection captures the Idaho experience of the public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 17 to 23. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments.
Legislative Composite Portraits
Legislative composite portraits are of the House and Senate. There are also early legislative group photographs and a photograph of the first women to serve as legislators. Many of of these can be found hanging in the Idaho State Capitol.
Idaho Railroad Visual History
Explore Idaho's Railroad Visual History from Street Railroads to Union Pacific. This collection is being added to daily!
Mining in Idaho
Photographs, maps, oral history interviews, documents and more, all pertaining to the history of mining in Idaho.
ITD Digitization Project
The Idaho State Archives (ISA) currently holds a large collection of over 100,000 images that either relate to Idaho’s transportation history or originated with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). Currently, over 12,000 images have been scanned during the course of the project that began in July 2010. The collection you can view here and on the official ITD Digitization Project Flickr page feature the amazing variety of the pictures taken over the last 95 years all over the state of Idaho!
Did you know that you can purchase prints of historic maps or photographs?
Own a piece of Idaho History! Reproductions make authentic décor and creative gifts. The Idaho State Archives’ collections include nearly one million photographs, maps and documents. Images from the Idaho State Archives are used in all types of publications, business reports and products, educational exhibitions, family histories, office décor, and interior design. Reproductions from the collection can be found in the hearing rooms of the State Capitol, where historic images representing a variety of time periods and subjects can be viewed.
Consider Idaho’s visual history for personal, professional and commercial use. Fees for research services of photographs, maps and documents directly support the preservation and access to Idaho’s historical archives for current and future generations! For more information contact (208) 334-2620 or by e-mail.