Archives West Finding Aid
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Mike Roberts Photographs of the West, circa 1950
- Mike Roberts Photographs of the West
- circa 1950
- 1 folder
- Collection Number
- PG 63
- Spectratone color print reproductions of Kodachrome photographs originally taken by Mike Roberts and Ray Atkeson. Photos consist of natural landscape scenes around the Pacific Northwest.
University of Idaho Library, Special Collections and Archives
Special Collections and Archives
University of Idaho Library
875 Perimeter Drive
Historical NoteReturn to Top
Mike Roberts (1905-1989) is famously known as America's Postcard King due to his impressive career in color photography and printing that spanned more than 50 years. He began working in a photo studio in San Bernardino when he was young and had the opportunity to photograph figures like Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart. He also photographed scenes from the 1939 World's Fair in San Francisco to be published in The Saturday Evening Post, Fortune, and Life and was later commissioned to take color photographs for a Standard Oil marketing campaign after WWII with the idea that color photos would be given to people who were filling their cars up with gas so they would want to take trips to the places in the photos, using more gas. Mike's son, Bob Roberts, said that his father had a bunch of photographs left over from the commission and decided to turn them into postcards.
Bob wrote a book about his father and his career, which is called Wish You Were Here: Mike Roberts, The Life and Times of America's Postcard King. This book includes 103 full-color photographs and 51 black and white photographs. Many of the photographs needed to be retouched, so The Image Flow's Lightroom expert Taralynn Lawton reproduced about 70 images, each image requiring different work. "Taralynn Lawton in August of 2012…was tasked with painstakingly reproducing each image with a high-resolution digital camera and then retouching the files to its original glory." The article, "Retouching the Life & Times of America's Postcard King" (URL below) provides further detail of her process of reproducing some of these photos, including before-and-after images.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The collection consists of five Spectratone color print reproductions of Kodachrome prints originally produced from photographs taken by Mike Roberts and one Spectratone color print reproduction of a Kodachrome print produced from a photograph taken by Ray Atkeson. Photos consist of natural landscape scenes around the Pacific Northwest.
The folio in which the prints are contained is titled Color Prints of the West. The information on the back of each print indicates they were reproduced by Spectratone from an original Kodachrome by Mike Roberts and Ray Atkeson.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
[description of item], PG 63 (Mike Roberts Photographs of the West), Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library, Moscow, Idaho.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Photographs have original numbering on the back, beginning with the letter "C" and followed by a number.
The information included in the Scope and Content and Biographical History was partially derived from the following websites:
"Wish You Were Here…Mike Roberts: The Life & Times of America's Postcard King" article on Huffington Post, written by Arnie Wilson, Contributor and Author. URL: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/wish-you-were-heremike-ro_b_7875752
"Retouching the Life & Times of America's Postcard King" article on Photography Center. URL: https://theimageflow.com/photography-blog/fine-art-photography-retouching-americas-postcard-king/
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
|C11: Mt. Hood, Oregon
Color print (8 x 10 inches). Written on verso: The ever-snowcapped Mt. Hood, height over 11,253 feet, is a peak of the Cascade Range near Portland, Oregon. More frequently climbed than any other peak in America. Reproduced by Spectratone from An Original Kodachrome by Mike Roberts.
|C13: Mt. Rainier, Washington
Color print (8 x 10 inches). Written on verso: "Our greatest mountain." An old volcanic cone near Seattle, Wash. Altitude 14,408 feet. The upper part is covered by snow and ice, the latter in 11 main glaciers, radiating from the summit like the arms of a great starfish. Reproduced by Spectratone from An Original Kodachrome by Mike Roberts.
|C24: Columbia River
Color print (8 x 10 inches). Written on verso: The Columbia River Gorge, gateway through the Cascade Range. Tides sweep in through this cleft to the heart of the lofty Cascade Range. Rooster Rock, at left, was a shrine of Indian worship; the highest point on the right is Larch Mountain, locally known as "Nature's Granstand." Reproduced by Spectratone from An Original Kodachrome by Mike Roberts.
|C26: Crater Lake, Oregon
Color print (8 x 10 inches). Written on verso: Situated in Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountains, this vast crater is filled with clear, spring water to the depth of 2,001 feet, and the walls of the crater rise above from 500 to 2,000 feet. Reproduced by Spectratone from An Original Kodachrome by Mike Roberts.
|C42: Mt. St. Helens, Washington
Color print (8 x 10 inches). Written on verso: A volcanic peak of the Cascade Range in Washington, height 9750 feet. On the north side at the base is Spirit Lake. The head and shoulders of this mountain rise to a snowy cone above the purple forest robe and stand as perfectly posed as a Greek statue of marble. Reproduced by Spectratone from An Original Kodachrome by Mike Roberts.
|C56: Shepperds Dell, Oregon
Color print (8 x 10 inches). Written on verso: A picturesque scene where the highway weaves along the Columbia River, graceful as a gull's flight. The Columbia River Highway, hewn out of towering rock walls, was built with an eye single to the natural beauty everywhere about. Only the shrubs, ferns and wild flowers in the exact path of the finished roadway were disturbed. Reproduced by Spectratone from An Original Kodachrome by Ray Atkeson.
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Northwest, Pacific--Pictorial works
- Postcard Industry
- Postcards as Art Material
- Northwest, Pacific
- Washington (State)