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Glen Shoemaker and Douglas Bates Columbia River Dam Sites Aerial Photographs


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Glen Walter Shoemaker (1892-1982) was a longtime civil engineer contracted with the Portland District U.S. Corps of Engineers, who following World War II became Head of the Appraisal Branch, and was an expert in photogrammetry and applications of aerial photographs for timber cruising, land classification, and appraisal. Biographical information from dealer description of Glen Shoemaker and Douglas Bates Columbia River Dam Sites Aerial Photographs (C1681).


Douglas Bates (1893-1963) worked at Portland Railway Light & Power Co. before World War I, and later became engineer before the Great Depression with the Portland District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Biographical information from dealer description of Glen Shoemaker and Douglas Bates Columbia River Dam Sites Aerial Photographs (C1681).

This collection includes two series of 177 silver gelatin aerial photographs (sized 7.25 x 9.5 inches up to 8 x 10 inches, a few with notes within the negative) taken by civil engineers Glen Walter Shoemaker (1892-1982) and Douglas Bates (1893-1963) for the Portland District U.S. Amry Corps of Engineers documenting the Columbia River during the Great Depression as construction and installation of power generating machinery at the Bonneville Dam project began changing the flow and nature of the river. The first series, shot in September 1935, was taken from directly overhead, while the second set, taken in May 1937, consists of oblique view images, with both series offering geographic and topographic details of the Columbia River.

The first series, with photographs numbered 58-158 (with a few breaks), follows the Columbia River East frame-by-frame from the Bonneville Dam construction site, past the Cascade Rapids at the Cascade Locks, the Dalles, Celilo Falls, the John Day River emptying into the Columbia River up past Umatilla landing.

The second series, numbered 1-63 (with some duplicates), provides a natural view of the Columbia River Gorge from the Bonneville Dam Site to Walla Walla, with extraordinary detail for the rugged landscape, river flow, town sites, bridges, railroad lines, and highways along the river. The photographs offer details of the Celilo Falls, Tenmile Rapids, and other features later hidden behind the John Day and The Dalles Dams after completion following World War II. In addition, there are several photos of the Stonehenge World War I Memorial and Maryhill Museum on the Columbia River bluffs. It also includes a typescript "Index to Oblique Photographs" that provides specific times the photos were shot as well as the river discharge flow rates at times from 4:30-8:00 PM.

Information was gathered from dealer description.

The order of materials at the time they came to the library were maintained.

Purchased from Zephyr Used & Rare Books in 2021. AM 2022-023

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This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2021. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2021.

No materials were removed from the collection during 2021 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Faith Charlton
Finding Aid Date
December 2021
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The collection is open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Columbia River Dam Sites Aerial Photographs First Series, 1935 September. 1 box.
Physical Description

1 box

Columbia River Dam Sites Aerial Photographs Second Series, 1937 May. 1 box.
Physical Description

1 box

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