Wiggins photographs, 1895-1940

Overview of the Collection

Wiggins, Donegan Reeder, 1888-1950
Wiggins photographs
1895-1940 (inclusive)
1.08 cubic feet, (2 letter document cases; 2 slim letter document cases)
Collection Number
Org. Lot 19
Collection consists of photographic prints and negatives that date from approximately 1895-1940; they relate to the family of Donegan Reeder Wiggins and depict the Oregon coast and central Willamette Valley. Also included are glass negatives taken by staff photographers for the Oregon Journal newspaper, which depict people and events around Portland from approximately 1910 to 1925, and glass negatives that depict Washington Park and the construction of the Lewis and Clark Exposition circa 1905.
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

Donegan Reeder Wiggins was born in Dodge City, Kansas, on February 10, 1888. His parents were Henry Gilbert Wiggins (1859-1932) and Nancy Elizabeth (Lizzy) Donegan Wiggins (1859-1920). In 1913, the Wiggins family moved to Salem, Oregon. There, Wiggins and his father operated the Salem Heights Grocery. In 1927, Wiggins went to work for the Oregon Secretary of State's office. Wiggins was also a firearms and ballistics expert. During World War I, he served as an armorer with a machine gun battalion of the U.S. Army. After the war, he performed as a trick shooter, assisted the Oregon State Police with servicing firearms, and testified in court cases as a ballistics expert. Wiggins also worked as a firearms consultant and editor for Adventure Magazine for 30 years. He regularly wrote short stories, poetry, and nonfiction articles on firearms, ballistics, famous gunfights, and the history of the American West for Adventure Magazine and several other publications.

Sources: "D. R. Wiggins, Arms Authority Dies in Salem," Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon), July 26, 1950; "The Don Wiggins Story," by Ernest E. Baker, Donegan Reeder Wiggins papers, Mss 1612, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection consists of 326 black-and-white photographic prints, 335 nitrate negatives, and 123 glass plate negatives primarily taken around the state of Oregon from approximately 1913 to 1940. Many of the prints in the collection correspond to nitrate negatives and are believed to have been taken by Donegan Reeder Wiggins and his family during travels around the state, particularly on the Oregon coast and in the central Willamette Valley area around Salem. Several of the prints and negatives have captions believed to be written by the original photographer. The subjects depicted in the photographs from the Oregon coast include vacation cottages and towns, coastal rocks and landscapes, people on beaches, shipwrecks, and bridges on Highway 101. Photographs taken in the central Willamette Valley region depict acquaintances and members of the Wiggins family, agricultural landscapes, abandoned homesteads, and interior and exterior views of the Salem Heights Grocery, which was owned by the Wiggins family. The collection also includes family portraits that date from approximately 1895 to 1940.

The connection of the glass plate negatives to the rest of the collection is unclear. 114 of the glass plate negatives in the collection were taken by staff photographers for the Oregon Journal, some of which are directly attributed to Le Roy Norr. Many of the photographs correspond with news articles that were published in the Journal between approximately 1910 and 1925. Subjects depicted in these photographs include Prohibition-era police raids, politicians, medical practitioners, food safety officers, boxers and wrestlers, and other several portraits of unidentified people. There are also 9 glass plate negatives that depict Washington Park and the construction of the Lewis and Clark Exposition. These photographs were taken in approximately 1904 or 1905 and are not believed to be associated with the Oregon Journal negatives.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Selections from the Wiggins photographs are viewable online in OHS Digital Collections.

Preferred Citation

Wiggins photographs, Org. Lot 19, 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

Acquisition Information

Transfer from the Oregon State Library, February 1961 (Lib. Acc. 9259; Photo Acc. 000D018).

Custodial History

Collection materials were originally donated to the Oregon State Archives in 1952 by the estate of Donegan Reeder Wiggins, care of Ernest E. Baker.

Preservation Note

Negatives are not available for direct access due to fragility. Researchers are asked to use digitized selections viewable online in OHS Digital Collections. Contact library staff for assistance.

Processing Note

The connection between the prints and nitrate negatives taken by Donegan Reeder Wiggins and the glass plate negatives in this collection is not clearly documented in the Oregon Historical Society Research Library's collection records. However, the prints and the glass negatives had been processed together as a single collection by 1977. In 2023, the collection was reprocessed, and description was expanded and revised to conform to current standard.

Separated Materials

Manuscript materials donated with this collection were separated into Mss 1612, the Donegan Reeder Wiggins papers, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Distilling, Illicit--Photographs
  • Landscapes--Oregon--Photographs
  • Photojournalism--Oregon

Corporate Names

  • Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905 : Portland, Or.)--Photographs

Family Names

  • Wiggins family--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Pacific Coast (Or.)--Photographs

Form or Genre Terms

  • cellulose nitrate film
  • glass plate negatives
  • photographs

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Oregon Journal (Firm) (publisher)