The SOHS Sawyer Collection

The images presented here are part of a donation we are calling the Sawyer Collection. The images may have come from multiple photography studios, including Sawyer’s and Kiser, but were saved and cared for by William Gruber, who had a long working relationship with Sawyer’s. Gruber was the inventor of the popular View-Master, which he produced in collaboration with Sawyer’s. According to the donor, in 1939, Sawyer’s was poised to dispose of these glass plate negatives in order to focus on the View-Master, when Gruber offered to take the plates. Over the past eight decades, the Gruber family has meticulously maintained the collection of approximately 3,000 plates, weighing roughly two tons. Southern Oregon Historical Society received the plates as a donation in 2019 and with grant funding from Oregon Parks and Recreation and the Oregon Cultural Trust, is making them publicly available to view and purchase.