About

The Maxwell Collection consists of over 5000 photographs donated to the Salem Public Library by the estate of Mr. Ben Maxwell. Most of the photographs were taken by Mr. Maxwell, a noted Salem photographer and historian who died in 1967. Mr. Maxwell was a native of Salem where he was born in 1898. He attended college at Oregon State University where he studied history and journalism. He started working with the Capitol Journal  newspaper in 1939. Because he packed his camera on every quest for historical stories, he was able to illustrate his articles for readers of the Capitol Journal,  the Oregon Journal,  the Oregonian,  and several magazines. He recorded on film at least 13 governors, old-timers now gone, covered bridges now missing, and buildings and homes no longer standing. The collection includes copies of rare early Oregon photographs taken by others which have in turn been copied over and over by later researchers and feature story writers. Many additional photographs remain to be scanned and added to the collection as this is a work in progress. 
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