|Other: James Crawford |
Other: James G. Crawford
Other: Taylor and Crawford
Joint: Crawford & Paxton
|Dates: ||1850 - 1929|
James G. Crawford (1850-1929) was the second child of Dr. G.F. and Mary Gilmour Crawford,
pioneers who crossed the country on the Oregon Trail in 1852.They settled on a farm near
Shedd, on flat land along the Calapooia River. James went to a local school taught by his father,
and to a school taught by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Condon which was near the Crawford farm. He
finished school at the Lebanon Academy in 1868.
James Crawford lived his life as a professional photographer. In fact, if you have looked at 19 th -
century photos of Albany or many other places in Oregon, you have seen his work, though you
probably did not know it at the time. He was taught the photographic skills by A.B. Paxton, the
first photographer in Albany, and after a year or less, he took over a portrait studio in Eugene.
This and his second studio, in Lebanon, were unsuccessful, so he took a photographic job in
Portland to learn the business side. By 1873 he had found a wife, Clara, and started a new gallery
in Harrisburg, which was to last ten years. There he developed into a skillful portraitist and
began selling views (large prints) and stereographs of Oregon scenery and most anything else.
By 1883 the photo technology had changed enough so that he again took a job for a Portland
studio (that of I.G. Davidson) to get up to date. In 1885 he and a brother bought Paxtonís studio
in Albany. Besides the portrait business, Crawford travelled over much of western Oregon
collecting views of towns, the coast, mountains, waterfalls, political events, disasters, fairs and
circuses, monuments, and hundreds of other subjects. He had a series of partners (his brother
Orville, Paxton, Littler, Paxton a second time, Harnish) and his daughter Lillie also became a
photographer. He remained in the photography business until his retirement in 1925.At that time
he said that he had seen 23 competitors come and go, and he probably holds a record with his 50-
some years recording Oregon history.
Besides his photography (amounting to tens of thousands of pictures), he was well-known in his
time for his work as an amateur scientist. He and a group of local men did some of the earliest
archeological work in Oregon, though they working in an area with no available information.
Crawford set up a museum in his photo gallery where his collections were publicly displayed. He
corresponded with the Smithsonian and worked with Condon and Dr. Horner, historian at what is
now OSU .His collections ended up at the Horner Museum in Corvallis.
Eric P. Gustafson (16 May 2018)
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|Family history |
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