Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990 - Ar-25501080-Ph000034

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This collection consists of 9,103 images taken by or incorporated into the collections of Jeffers Studios, Merle Junk, and Ron Allen, from 1889 to 1990. When combined, these prominent Olympia photographers’ careers spanned from the early 1903 into the 1990s, and all contracted with the State of Washington to take government related photographs which include state government officials, legislators, construction of state government buildings in Olympia, and other significant events.

For 70 years, Jeffers Studio was the premier photographic studio in Olympia, Washington. Founded by Joseph C. Jeffers and his brother, Hugh W. Jeffers, the business was in continuous operation between 1903 and 1973. Shortly after its founding, Hugh withdrew, leaving Joseph Jeffers as sole proprietor. After Joseph’s death during a climbing accident in the Olympic Mountains in 1924, his widow, Opal Jeffers, continued to run the studio. Their son, Vibert Jeffers, took over the family business in 1930. By the time Vibert retired in 1973, the Jeffers family had created a rich and extensive pictorial history of state government activities, people, buildings, street scenes, and more throughout Olympia.

Merle Junk photographed the Puget Sound area for over 35 years, from the late 1920s into the 1960s. He contracted with several state government agencies, taking on projects that included documentation of I-5 construction for the Washington State Department of Transportation, tourism promotion for Department of Commerce, and documentation of earthquake damage to State government buildings. Merle Junk’s images provide valuable documentation of state government officials, projects, and activities.

Ron Allen began working with Merle Junk in the early 1960s, and eventually purchased Merle Junk’s photographic business. In addition to a private portraiture business, Allen worked as a photographer for the Washington State Legislature and the Washington State Patrol. Like Jeffers and Junk, Ron Allen’s work continued to provide valuable documentation of state government related subjects.

These images were acquired by Susan Parish in the early 1980s and then sold to the Washington State Archives in 2001.

All notations are in English.

These images are open for research.

Digitization by Carla Sanchelli, Kyle Baumann, Devin McCosh, and Dennis Mooney; cataloging by Kathleen Waugh and Mary Hammer.

Preferred Citation: [Title of image], [date], [photographer if known], Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives,, [date accessed].

Source: Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990, Washington State Archives.

Original images held at the Washington State Archives, Olympia, WA.

For more information or to learn about related records, contact the Washington State Archives at (360) 586-1492, or email
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