The Ralph I. Gifford Photographs consist of images taken by Gifford throughout Oregon, primarily during the 1930s and 1940s. The photographs depict many Oregon landmarks and scenes, including the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Mount Hood, the Wallowa Mountains, and the Snake River Canyon. The collection includes numerous images of sport fishing as well as several photographs of Native Americans. Ralph Gifford was the son of Benjamin A. Gifford and took over his father's Portland photography business around 1920. In 1936, Ralph became the first photographer of the newly established Travel and Information Department of the Oregon State Highway Department, a position he held until his death in 1947.
The Gifford Photographic Collection consists primarily of photographs taken by four Gifford Family photographers: Ralph I. Gifford; his father, Benjamin A. Gifford; his wife, Wanda Gifford; and his son, Ben L. Gifford. The collection also includes motion pictures filmed by Ralph I Gifford, some photographs for whom the photographer is not identified, images by other photographers, and documentary materials. The Gifford Family's photographic work began in 1888, when Benjamin A. Gifford emigrated to Portland, and continued into the 1950s. The collection documents Oregon landmarks and scenic views on the Oregon coast and in the Cascade Mountains, Willamette Valley, and central and eastern Oregon; agriculture in Oregon; and Native Americans, especially of the Columbia Plateau.