An extraordinary system of cultural and historic resources.

ISA Historic Photographs

Idaho State Archives Historic Photographs

"Ada Theater for Electric Product
Co. 1937"

Photo Credit: R. Harold Sigler 62-20 16007

Experience Idaho’s visual history through the extensive photograph collections available at the Idaho State Archives. Images date from the Territorial period to present day.  The collections offer a variety of subjects, including ethnic, mining, military, railroads, and geographic locations. Noteworthy Idaho photographers are featured, such as Bisbee, Sigler, and Fuller.

Access to on-line indexes, digital image galleries and photographs from the collection are available online and at the Idaho State Archives Research Center. Research Center reference staff are happy to provide assistance for locating and ordering photographs.  Please check often for new collections.

Own a piece of Idaho History! 

Reproductions make authentic décor and creative gifts.  The Idaho State Archives’ collections include approximately 500,000 photographs as well as maps and documents of visual interest.  Images from the Idaho State Archives are used in all types of publications, business reports and products, educational exhibitions, family histories, office décor, and interior design. Reproductions from the collection can be found in the hearing rooms of the State Capitol, where historic images representing a variety of time periods and subjects can be viewed. 

Consider Idaho’s visual history for personal, professional and commercial use.  Fees for commercial use and research services of photographs, maps and documents support preservation and access to Idaho’s historical archives for current and future generations!  For more information contact (208) 334-2620 or e-mail.

 

Search Digital Image Collections

View all digitized collections and search by keyword to search on specific places, subjects or people. You can also select a specific photographer or subject below. 

 

People

Idaho Biographical Photograph Index

This index can be searched by name for photographs of people from Idaho.  

Idaho Photographers

Everett “Shorty” Fuller

Everett "Shorty" Fuller was a freelance photographer in the Boise Valley during the 1930s and 1940s.  Photos depict candid shots, and major events of the 30s and 40s in rural and urban areas of Boise Valley. Fuller PDF Inventory

J.A. Hanson

J. A. Hanson was a professional photographer with studios in Moscow (in partnership with Henry Erichson), 1890-1892, and Grangeville, 1892-1910.  His images capture rarely seen early images of Idaho. Hanson PDF Inventory

Leonard J Howard

Leonard J Howard documented the important period between 1899 and 1939. Howard traveled throughout Idaho and created a visual history of the roads, construction, and what life was like in Idaho during this time period. Howard PDF Inventory

Leo J. "Scoop" Leeburn

Leo J. "Scoop" Leeburn was a famous Boise area photographer that captured many iconic Boise images . Leeburn,  started his photo journalism career in 1943, took pictures up until his death in 2002 at the age of 81. His photos appeared in The Idaho Statesman and Leeburn has been labeled Boise’s, “Unofficial photographer-at-large,” and “A Boise institution.“ His photographs show Boiseans' life at work and thier activities. The Boise Urban Renewal Project was also documented by Leeburn. His work has been featured in many exhibits. Leeburn PDF Inventory

Bob Lorimer

Bob Lorimer was a writer, columnist and photographer in the Boise Valley during the 1960s and 1970s.  Photographs include various subject of daily life in Boise Valley. Lorimer PDF Inventory

Roland Onffroy

Roland Onffroy photographed all of Idaho in the 1940s. Onffroy PDF Inventory

R. Harold Sigler

 The Boise photographer R. Harold Sigler is known for his portraits serving as the official photographer for Boise High School. The Sigler photograph collection includes not only his portraits, but encompasses at least 30,000 individual subjects of urban and rural landscapes, public buildings, churches, businesses and homes, athletic events, parades, and theatrical productions. Sigler photographs offer a visual recording of Boise and South Western towns of Idaho. Sigler PDF Inventory

Legislative Composite Portraits

Legislative composite portraits are of the House and Senate. There are also early legislative group photographs and a photograph of the first women to serve as legislators. Many of of these can be found hanging in the Idaho State Capitol. 

Lora Kulow-Civil War Album Collection

The Lora Kulow Collection (MS591) has material from 1860-1917. The Photograph album contains portraits of Civil War soldiers and thier families. The collection also boasts a large number of letters between the Kulow family after the Civil War. There is also a journal started in 1885 by Sarah E. Harger who is now buried in Morris Hill cemetery. The collection also has leather postcards, childrens books, a pocket seller and a history book.

Patrick Collins-Civil War Collection

This collection contains military documents, letters, family documents, and photographs related to the military career of Major Patrick Collins dating between 1833-1867. It features many soldiers in Civil War uniform and is informative of life during the Civil War but also of a family who moved out west after the war was over. This collection also features a document signed by Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

Places

Hazelton, Idaho Glass Plate Negative Collection

This collection is only comprised of 11 photographs but they are remarkable in what they depict and thier detail. They are 5x7 glass plate negatives images that have been scanned directly from the plate. The detail from a glass plate image surpasses many of the digitally enhanced images seen today. The images are of different and never seen before views of Hazelton. These photographs bring to light what character and meaning a photograph can have.

Idaho Courthouses

Courthouses throughout Idaho dating from the Territorial Period to the 1970s. Some images are postcards and drawings.

Idaho Statehouse Image Catalog

Learn about the Idaho State Archives involvement with the Idaho Capitol Commission and view a selection of images catalog chosen specifically for tenants of Idaho's Capitol Building.

Lewiston State Normal Zimmerly Air Transport Album

The album documents the Navy Flight training program contracted by Lewiston State Normal and Zimmerly Air Transport in Lewiston, Idaho 1942-1943. This photograph album contains photos of runways, offices, shops, personnel, airplanes, Navy cadets and officers, athletics, and classes. There are also photographs of the Lewiston State Normal School, aerial views of Lewis-Clarkston and Fish Lake.The CAA War Training Service utilized civil aviation in a program for the flight training of naval personnel during WWII at locations throughout the U.S. Zimmerly Air transport was a flight contractor for the CAA training center that was located at Lewiston State Normal School at Lewiston, Idaho.

Old Idaho Penitentiary

Photographs of inmates, guards, the construction and fire of the Old Pen, and what daily life was like through the years. Dates range from 1870s-1980s.

Vogel Estate Collection

Many of the collections donated to the Idaho State Historical Society are digitized to provide access and preservation. The Vogel Estate Collection was donated in 2008 and features an array of postcards of views around Idaho. These postcards, which are only a fraction of the Postcard collection at ISHS, reflect how images were shared and sent to others. The collection also features views of Sun Valley Lodge when it first opened, Shoshone Falls, Thousand Springs and the Sawtooth Mountains just to name a few.

 

Organizations

Civilian Conservation Corps in Idaho

The Idaho CCC collection captures the Idaho experience of the public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 17 to 23. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. 

Idaho Transportation Department Digitization Project

The Idaho State Archives (ISA) currently holds a large collection of over 100,000 images that either relate to Idaho’s transportation history or originated with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). Currently, over 12,000 images have been scanned during the course of the project that began in July 2010. The collection you can view here and on the official ITD Digitization Project Flickr page feature the amazing variety of the pictures taken over the last 95 years all over the state of Idaho!

U.S. Forest Service Collection

This collection of 339 black and white photographs document forestry activities in the Payette and Boise national forests. Included are photos of planning, site studies, grazing, homesteads, ranger stations, lookouts, and log buildings. Over 100 of these images are digitized. 

 

Subjects

Browsing Collection

This collection is called the Browsing Collection because it is a collection of images available for patrons to browse through in the Merle W. Wells Research Center. The Browsing Photographs Collection is comprised of a vast array of subjects and locations from across Idaho. Biographies, general subjects, Native American groups, Idaho towns and Boise subjects come together to collectively form the Browsing Collection. The collection is considered a great starting point for researchers who simply want to browse general subjects and towns or are unsure of exactly what they are looking for. This collection is being added to weekly and is part of a greater digitization project to have the whole Browsing Collection available online.

Idaho Railroad Visual History

Explore Idaho's Railroad Visual History from Street Railroads to Union Pacific. 

Mining in Idaho

Photographs, maps, oral history interviews, documents and more, all pertaining to the history of mining in IdahoMining PDF Inventory 

Territorial Images of Boise 

Territorial Images of Boise capture the development and changes of the city between 1863 and 1890. Photographs include Main Street, School and Businesses.