Charles F. Berg photographs collection, 1900-1974 PDF
- Charles F. Berg photographs collection
- 1900-1974 (inclusive)19001974
- 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
- 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.
- Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open to the public.
- 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
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.
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
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.
John Allesina Umbrella Store
|1916 and undated|
Series C: Charles F. Berg Store, circa 1920-1974Return to Top
Buildings--309-313 Morrison Street store
|circa 1921; 1923; undated|
Buildings--The Waist Shop at the Portland Hotel
Buildings--6th and Washington Street store
|circa 1926; undated|
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Exteriors
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Interiors, miscellaneous
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Interiors, Christmas decorations
|1939; circa 1960-1969; 1973|
Buildings--6th SW Broadway store--Interiors, flood damage caused by broken water pipe
Fashions--In-store displays and modelling
|1923-1924; 1949; 1957-1958; undated|
Fashions--Special promotions and displays
|circa 1965; 1967-1968|
Fashions--Rose Festival Court
See also scrapbooks in the Charles F. Berg papers, Mss 2512.
Special events and sales--Charity sales
Special events and sales--"Date with Dad"
Special events and sales--Fiftieth anniversary celebration
Special events and sales--George Washington's Birthday sale
|1938; 1951-1952; 1956; 1968; undated|
Special events and sales--Goodwill donation sale
Special events and sales--Opening of Park Street addition
Special events and sales--Re-opening of bridal salon on the third floor
Special events and sales--"Who's Your Hosier" sale
College and high school board activities--College Board
College and high school board activities--Hi Board
See also scrapbooks in the Charles F. Berg papers, Mss 2512.
|1960; 1967-1970; 1973; undated|
Personnel--Charles F. Berg
President of Charles F. Berg, Inc., 1921-1932.
|1907; 1920; circa 1930; undated|
Personnel --Forrest Talbot Berg
President of Charles F. Berg, Inc., 1932-1975.
|1954-1955; 1968; 1970-1971; 1974; undated|
|1926; 1967-1969; 1971-1973; undated|
Personnel--Sales and service awards--$100,000 sales club
Personnel--Sales and service awards--service pin awards
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.
Personnel--Activities--Rose Festival floral displays created by members of the store's staff
Personnel--Activities--Make and Bake sale
|1944; circa 1950-1969|
Series D: The Dark Horse store, circa 1960-1973Return to Top
The Dark Horse store was located at 10 N. E. Canyon Road (now 12345 SW Canyon Road), Beaverton, Or.
Special events--Store opening
Special events--Rose Festival floral displays
Special events--Men's Night
Special events-- Seventeen Day
|1969; 1973; undated|
Personnel--$100,000 Sales Club
See also 2/6.
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)