Charles F. Berg photographs collection, 1900-1974  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Title
Charles F. Berg photographs collection
Dates
1900-1974 (inclusive)
Quantity
2 cubic feet, (1,029 photographs and 122 safety negatives in 3 boxes; 15 photographs in 1 album; and 1 glass lantern slide)
Collection Number
Org. Lot 103
Summary
Photographs collected by Charles F. Berg (1871-1932) and his son, Forrest Talbot Berg (b. 1901), owners and operators of Charles F. Berg Company, a major women's apparel store in Portland, Or. The photographs depict the stores owned by the company, as well as its predecessors, as well as store events, fashions, sales, and personnel, 1900-1974.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English.
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Charles F. Berg Company was first established as Lennon's in Portland, Or. in 1907 when the San Francisco retailer by that name purchased John Allesina's Umbrella Store at 309 Morrison Street. Charles F. Berg joined the firm that same year and moved to Portland to manage the new store. Berg sold women's specialty items such as umbrellas, gloves, and hosiery at Lennon's until 1921, when he became sole owner of the Portland store and changed its name to Charles F. Berg. Shortly thereafter, he expanded the store to include moderately priced to better women's apparel and opened shops at other downtown locations. "Who's Your Hosier?" and "Glovingly Yours" became well-known advertising slogans for the stores.

Forrest Berg joined the staff in 1922 to manage the store's newly opened Ready-to-Wear Department. At a time when most stores catered to the "mature woman," he saw a market for younger fashions, and under his direction, Berg's became a leader in selling apparel in smaller sizes to younger women. The store formed the first college board in the Pacific Northwest in 1924 and, in the early 1940s, added high school boards. These students boards, which were representative of local colleges and high schools, were employed as sales clerks on alternate Saturdays throughout the year. Board members were also actively involved in sales promotions such as fashion shows and "Date with Dad" nights. The 1920s also saw the introduction of the "Chumley" label. Later the slogan "Chumley Young Fashions" was adopted.

In 1929 Charles Berg leased and significantly renovated in the art deco style Dolph Building at 614 S.W. Broadway, and in 1930, the store moved to that location. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Sites in 1983. In response to the growth of west suburban Portland, Charles F. Berg, Inc. purchased the Dark Horse store in Beaverton in 1960. Renamed The Charles F. Berg Dark Horse, the Beaverton store operated with the same merchandise and took part in the same promotions and employee activities as the downtown Portland store. Forrest T. Berg sold the company to Rusans, a Washington clothing chain, in 1975.

For additional historical background, such as explanations of special store promotions and staff activities, see Folder A in Box 1. Included there are descriptions of store activities provided by Doris Wills Setzer, formerly Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Charles F. Berg, Inc. Ms. Setzer provided valuable assistance in organizing and identifying photographs in the collection.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of photographs, dating from 1900-1974, that were collected by Charles F. Berg (1871-1931) and his son, Forrest Talbot Berg (b. 1901), owners and operators of Charles F. Berg Company, a major women's apparel store in Portland, Or. The collection includes images of the downtown Charles F. Berg stores as well as their predecessors, the John Allesina Umbrella Store and Lennon's, and the Charles F. Berg Dark Horse, a branch store in Beaverton, Or. Photographs of store interiors, displays, and promotions illustrate changes in fashion, market emphasis, and merchandising techniques during the history of the company. Images relating to store personnel document efforts by the management to motivate employees and encourage good relations between executive and sales personnel.

The works of numerous Portland commercial photographs, including Ackroyd Photos, Allen J. DeLay, Columbia Studio, and Photo Arts, are represented in the collection. Photographs dating from the 1960s are primarily color snapshots photographed by members of the store's personnel department. There is also one lantern slide in the collection.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright holders.

Preferred Citation

Charles F. Berg photographs collection, Org. Lot 103, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series A:  Background informationReturn to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/A

Contains clippings, press releases, publicity material, and typescript letters from Doris Wills Setzer on the history of the Charles F. Berg Company.

Series B:  Predecessor stores, 1900-1916Return to Top

6 items.

The Charles F. Berg store was preceded by the John Allesina Umbrella Store, which was located at 309 Morrison, Portland, Or. before 1907, and Lennon's, which was located at 309 Morrison Street in Portland, Or. from 1907-1921.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
John Allesina Umbrella Store
1900
1/1
Lennon's
1916 and undated

Series C:  Charles F. Berg Store, circa 1920-1974Return to Top

966 items.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/2
Buildings--309-313 Morrison Street store
circa 1921; 1923; undated
1/2
Buildings--The Waist Shop at the Portland Hotel
circa 1920-1929
1/2
Buildings--6th and Washington Street store
circa 1926; undated
1/3
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Exteriors
1968; undated
1/3-6, 3/16
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Interiors, miscellaneous
circa 1920-1969
1/7
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Interiors, Christmas decorations
1939; circa 1960-1969; 1973
1/8
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Interiors, flood damage caused by broken water pipe
1957
1/9-1/11
Fashions--Window displays
1924-1974
1/12, 3/16
Fashions--In-store displays and modelling
1966; 1968-1969
1/13-1/16
Fahsions--Fashion shows
1923-1924; 1949; 1957-1958; undated
1/17
Fashions--Special promotions and displays
circa 1965; 1967-1968
1/18
Fashions--Rose Festival Court
circa 1940s
1/19
Fashions--Miscellaneous
See also scrapbooks in the Charles F. Berg papers, Mss 2512.
undated
1/20
Special events and sales--Charity sales
1974
1/21
Special events and sales--"Date with Dad"
circa 1960s
1/22
Special events and sales--Fiftieth anniversary celebration
1956
1/23
Special events and sales--George Washington's Birthday sale
1938; 1951-1952; 1956; 1968; undated
3/17
Special events and sales--Goodwill donation sale
undated
1/24
Special events and sales--Opening of Park Street addition
circa 1960
1/25, 3/15
Special events and sales--Re-opening of bridal salon on the third floor
1974
1/26
Special events and sales--"Who's Your Hosier" sale
1972
1/27
College and high school board activities--College Board
1930-1940
1/28-1/32, 3/8
College and high school board activities--Hi Board
See also scrapbooks in the Charles F. Berg papers, Mss 2512.
1960; 1967-1970; 1973; undated
2/1, 3/26
Personnel--Charles F. Berg
President of Charles F. Berg, Inc., 1921-1932.
1907; 1920; circa 1930; undated
2/2-2/4
Personnel --Forrest Talbot Berg
President of Charles F. Berg, Inc., 1932-1975.
1954-1955; 1968; 1970-1971; 1974; undated
2/5-2/6
Personnel--Staff
1926; 1967-1969; 1971-1973; undated
2/7
Personnel--Sales and service awards--$100,000 sales club
undated
2/8-2/9, 3/21
Personnel--Sales and service awards--service pin awards
circa 1950-1979
1/9a
Personnel--Activities--World War II activities
Includes photographs of launch of landing craft LCI 741 at Commercial Iron Works and the store sponsored party for the crew in 1944, as well as sales promotions to raise money to send cigarettes to Oregon and Washington men in the South Pacific in 1943.
1943-1944
2/10, 3/14
Personnel--Activities--Rose Festival floral displays created by members of the store's staff
1969-1975
2/11, 3/13
Personnel--Activities--Make and Bake sale
1974
2/12-18, 3/1-3
Personnel--Activities--Christmas parties
1944; circa 1950-1969
3/5
Personnel--Activities--Costume party
circa 1950s
3/6
Personnel--Miscellaneous
undated

Series D:  The Dark Horse store, circa 1960-1973Return to Top

90 items

The Dark Horse store was located at 10 N. E. Canyon Road (now 12345 SW Canyon Road), Beaverton, Or.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/7, 3/22
Building--Exteriors
1960
Album
Album 782
Building--Interiors
1960
Box/Folder
3/8
Builsing--Interiors
circa 1960-1979
Album
Album 782
Special events--Store opening
1960
Box/Folder
3/23
Special events--Rose Festival floral displays
undated
3/9, 3/24
Special events--Men's Night
1968
3/14
Special events-- Seventeen Day
1970
3/11
Personnel--Portraits
1969; 1973; undated
3/12
Personnel--$100,000 Sales Club
See also 2/6.
1973

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Fashion merchandising--Photographs
  • Retail trade--Employees--Oregon--Portland--Photographs
  • Stores, Retail--Oregon--Portland--Photographs
  • Personal Names :
  • Berg, Charles F., 1871-1932--Photographs
  • Berg, Forrest Talbot, b. 1901--Photographs
  • Corporate Names :
  • Charles F. Berg, Inc. (Portland, Or.)--Photographs.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Portland (Or.)--Buildings, structures, etc.--Photographs.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Lantern slides
  • Photographic prints
  • Safety film negatives
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • DeLay, Allen J. (photographer)
    • Ackroyd Photos (Portland, Or.) (photographers)
    • Photo Arts (Portland, Or.) (photographers)
    • Columbia Studio (Portland, Or.) (photographers)