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The Charles Libby Collection is a sample of 100 photographs from the Libby Studio Photograph Collection held by the Eastern Washington State Historical Society (Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture), Spokane, Washington. The sample was selected for a pilot digitization project with the Washington State Archives in 2010. The sample is limited to images from the year 1908 and attempts to reflect the scope of physical attributes within the entire Libby Studio collection. These attributes include the print’s generation (whether a historic print created by the studio close to the time the image was taken or a contemporary print created by the EWSHS/MAC from an original negative) and the print’s coloring (due to the printing process used at the time, fading or other changes to the print over time, or other properties of the print). The sample is also limited to prints housed as single items in the EWSHS/MAC collection, rather than prints in albums.
Charles A. Libby began his career in photography working for his sister, Addie, in the Libby Art Studio in 1898. He opened his own studio in 1901. Libby did both portrait and commercial work from the beginning. When Charles A. Libby, Jr. joined the firm in the early 1920s, the studio began to do extensive aerial photography in and around Spokane and the Inland Empire. After Charles, Sr. died in 1966, Charles, Jr. continued to operate the studio until 1969, when he sold it.
A monumental collection of the output of Spokane's most prolific and enduring commercial photography studio, the Libby Studio collection documents virtually every aspect of the city's life from 1900 through the 1950s. Photographs depict streets, neighborhoods, public buildings, businesses, residences, as well as the economic and social activities of people in all walks of life. Major portions of the collection record the building of Grand Coulee Dam, the development of roads and highways, the agriculture of Spokane County and surrounding areas of eastern Washington, summer at the lakes near Spokane, fairs and air shows. Major events include presidential visits of the two Roosevelts, Coolidge, Taft, and Hoover, as well as Charles Lindbergh. The Libby Studio photographed hundreds of social gatherings at Spokane's elegant Davenport Hotel, as well as the exteriors and interiors of the homes of Spokane's elite. Transportation photographs range from early street railways to automobiles and buses to airplanes. Area sports and recreation include golf, baseball, enjoyment of the region's many lakes, as well as the parks of Spokane, including the renowned Natatorium Park. In addition, there are numerous aerial photographs of Spokane, Spokane County and the surrounding area. Some portraits of individuals, weddings, graduations, and others remain unidentified.
In addition, a collection of the studio’s registers, 1911-1969, list numerically and chronologically the work done by the studio (Ms 75).
For further information about the Libby Studio collection or to inquire about specific photographs, please contact the Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives at the Eastern Washington State Historical Society (Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture) at (509) 363-5342 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Research Library and Archives is open to the public; please consult the website for current hours: http://www.northwestmuseum.org/index.cfm/Research_Hours_and_Services.htm.
Preferred Citation:[Title of image],[date], [photographer, if known], Charles Libby Collection, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov, [date accessed].
Source: Libby Studio Photograph Collection, Eastern Washington State Historical Society (Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture), Spokane, Washington.
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