Charles Butterworth and Esther Butterworth papers, 1856-1975

Overview of the Collection

Butterworth, Charles, 1858-1936; Butterworth, Esther, 1889-1976
Charles Butterworth and Esther Butterworth papers
1856-1975 (inclusive)
1893-1970 (bulk)
1 cubic feet, (2 document cases, 1 flat box)
Collection Number
Mss 2427
Papers of Charles Butterworth (1858-1936), a photographer and painter in Portland, Oregon, and his daughter, Esther Butterworth (1889-1976), also a photographer. Materials include correspondence, family history and genealogical materials, and Charles Butterworth's studio log books. Also included is a book of minutes of the Trails Club of Oregon, 1928-1930.
Oregon Historical Society Research Library
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Photographer and painter Charles Butterworth was born in 1858 in Mainsville, Ohio, near Cincinnati. He grew up on his parents' farm and studied photography in New Vienna, Ohio. There, he married Etta Miller in 1883. He worked as a photographer in Wilmington, Ohio, then moved with his family to Ontario, California, in 1895. In 1898, the Butterworths relocated to Portland, Oregon, where they remained the rest of their lives. Charles Butterworth achieved recognition for his artistic photographic work, especially children's portraiture, and he was instrumental in the formation of the Photographic Association of Portland. The Butterworths had two children, Arthur and Esther. Esther Butterworth (1889-1976) became a photographer herself, and was also known as a photo colorist. She worked for a time in the studios of photographer Edwin S. Curtis in Los Angeles, California.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection consists of materials of and relating to photographer and artist Charles Butterworth and his daughter, photographer Esther Butterworth. Materials include correspondence of Charles Butterworth and his wife, Etta Butterworth; writings by Charles Butterworth; correspondence and documents of Esther Butterworth, including certificates, ephemera, and a copy of her will; materials on family history and genealogy; and Charles Butterworth's photography studio logs, dating from 1911-1933 (with gaps). Among the correspondence in the collection is a letter from Charles Butterworth, 1893, describing the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and a letter from Etta Butterworth describing the family's train trip from Ohio to California in 1895. The collection also contains a book of minutes of the Trails Club of Oregon, 1928-1930.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Charles Butterworth and Esther Butterworth papers, Mss 2427, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society owns the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is arranged in two series:

  • Series 1: Charles Butterworth papers, 1856-1970
  • Series 2: Esther Butterworth papers, 1862-1975

Acquisition Information

Gifts of David L. Davies, August 1976, Russell I. Butterworth, July 1976 (Lib. Acc. 13718).

Processing Note

Collection was titled "Charles Butterworth papers" prior to April 2024. Includes materials previously designated as Mss 2427-1.

Related Materials

A painting of Ezra Meeker by Charles Butterworth is held in Museum Collections at the Oregon Historical Society.

Separated Materials

Butterworth family photographs and albums that the Oregon Historical Society Research Library received with the materials in this collection were separated to photograph collections and cataloged as Org. Lot 1169.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1:  Charles Butterworth papers, 1856-1970Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
1 2
1 3
1 4
Fragments and undated letters
1 5
Butterworth genealogical materials
1 6
Writings of Charles Butterworth
1 7
Marriage certificate and wedding invitation
1 8
Newspaper clippings
1 9
Pacific International Photographers Association, certificate of membership
1 10
Trails Club of Oregon minutes
3 1
Photography studio journal
3 2
Photography studio register
1911 June-1915 April
3 3
Photography studio register
1919 October-1920 November
3 4-5
Photography studio register (bound volume and loose pages from volume, with date gaps)
1918-1933; undated
3 6
Photography studio register
1925 December-1931 January

Series 2:  Esther Butterworth papers, 1862-1975Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 11
Photographs of ancestral sites
circa 1960-1970
1 12
Family poems
1 13
Sesquicentennial scrapbook, Religious Society of Friends
1 14
"My family genealogy" (ledger book)
2 1
2 2
Correspondence, certificates, and ephemera
1941; 1953-1955; 1960; undated
2 3
Documents and ephemera

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Clubs--Oregon
  • Families--United States
  • Photographers--Oregon--Portland
  • Photography--Oregon--Portland

Personal Names

  • Butterworth, Charles, 1858-1936
  • Butterworth, Charles, 1858-1936--Correspondence
  • Butterworth, Esther, 1889-1976
  • Butterworth, Esther, 1889-1976--Correspondence

Corporate Names

  • Trails Club of Oregon--Records and correspondence

Family Names

  • Butterworth family
  • Butterworth family--Genealogy

Form or Genre Terms

  • correspondence
  • registers (lists)

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Trails Club of Oregon