8×10 Field Camera from the Drake Brothers Studio


Thanks to the generous gift of Larry S. Pierce, the library recently acquired an 8×10 field camera manufactured by the Rochester Optical Co., ca. 1905.  The camera, labeled as the “Improved Empire State,” includes the camera body, lens board & lens, extension rail, a cable release, and three plate holders.  Two of the plate holders are stamped “Drake Brothers Studio, Silverton, Oregon” on the inside cardboard septum (the septum being a sheet that separates one side of the plate holder from the reverse side, thus allowing each plate holder to house two undeveloped negatives).  Photographers June Drake and his brother Emory Drake founded Drake Brothers Studio in 1900, and the brothers operated together until a fire destroyed their studio in 1908.  June Drake continued, however, to photograph in a new studio until his retirement in 1960.

In 2012, the Manuscripts Division acquired an archive containing nearly nine hundred photographs taken by the Drake brothers. Along with the studio stamp on the back, many of the photographs contain detailed manuscript notes by June Drake.  The notes include dates, identification of individuals, and the names of buildings and streets (many of which no longer exist in Silverton).  For more information about the archive, see: Drake Bros. Studio Photograph Collection.


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