Dr. G. Orlo Jefferson (1860-1949) was an optometrist in Portland Oregon, and also a trustee of Pacific University. He and his wife, Matilda J. Calhouns Jefferson (1859-1933) traveled extensively in the Western United States, the Middle East and Europe during the early twentieth century. They appear have to have enjoyed automobile travel, going on lengthy car trips in remote areas.
From 1909-1910, the Jefferson went on a lengthy trip to the Middle East and Europe, travelling by train, ship, carriage, donkey and their own personal car.
They began the trip by train, leaving Portland on September 29 for New Orleans via Juarez, Mexico. They took a boat from there up the Mississippi, eventually arriving in New York. There, the Jeffersons bought a 1910 Cadillac Model 33 and had it shipped ahead to Italy, where they would pick it up later. They left the United States from New York on the "Cedric" on January 5, 1910. Their ship stopped briefly in the Azores, Madeira and Gibraltar. After pausing at several cities in Italy, they moved on to Egypt, where they spent about a month sightseeing. From there, they went to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and then stopped briefly at Beirut and Damascus before reaching Constantinople in Turkey. From there, they travelled on to Greece and then back to Italy, where the Jeffersons picked up their automobile from customs in order to drive for the remainder of their trip. They drove to various cities in Italy, and then went through Austria to Germany, followed by the Netherlands and France. After shipping the car across the Channel, they then travelled through England, Wales and Scotland, and after another ferry ride, through Ireland. They logged 1,246 miles in the British Isles alone. They sailed back to New York City on October 15, 1910, more than a year after beginning their journey.
The Jeffersons also saved early images of tourist routes through scenic areas of the Western United States, including roads in the Mount Rainier National Park (late 1910s or early 1920s), the Columbia River Highway (circa 1920), and Tioga Pass near Yosemite National Park (1923).
The Jeffersons appear to have had no close living relatives when they passed away. The bulk of their estate was bequeathed to Pacific University and funded a building for the new School of Optometry, which had just opened in 1948. The building is named Jefferson Hall in their honor.
The bulk of the collection is made up of photographs, diaries, and travel documents relating to the Jeffersons' travels across the Western United States, the Middle East and Europe in the early twentieth century. Many of the photographs illustrate their interest in driving automobiles to exotic and scenic locations. There are many images of roads, unusual vehicles and tourist locations. Early images of tourist routes through Yosemite National Park, Mount Rainer National Park, and the Columbia River Highway depict the roads and natural scenery of these areas. The group of photographs from the Jeffersons' trip to the Middle East and Europe (1909-1910) includes many pictures of tourist sites, but also many pictures of street scenes. They took numerous photographs of people doing manual labor. There are pictures of African American dock workers moving freight, women washing clothes, shoe shiners, peddlars and two pictures of child laborers in Italy, among others. In addition to the photographs, other notable items in the collection include a two-volume diary of the Middle East/Europe trip; a visa issued for travel in Turkey; and a group of unidentified family photographs.
Provenance information for the collection: The donor of this collection to the Pacific University Archives, Glen Griffitts, worked as a police detective in Portland, Oregon. A colleague of his, Detective Patrick McGuire, found these items abandoned in a house in Northeast Portland in the mid-1970s. Glen Griffitts determined that they were once the property of Dr. G. Orlo Jefferson and his wife, Matilda. The Jeffersons donated a large sum of money to Pacific University around 1945 and had no children. Glen Griffitts believes, based on probate records, that the Jeffersons bequeathed this collection to one of their household staff, and that it was subsequently abandoned. Additional information about the provenance is available in the research notes section of this collection.
Preferred Citation :
G. Orlo & Matilda Jefferson Collection, Pacific University Archives, Forest Grove, Oregon.Restrictions on Use :
Pacific University owns the copyright to some, but not all, of the materials housed in its archives. Copyright for materials authored or otherwise produced as official business of Pacific University is retained by Pacific University and requires its permission for publication. Copyright status for other collection materials varies. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open for research.
Acquisition Information :
Donated to the Pacific University Archives by Glen Griffitts, February 2012.Custodial History :
The donor, Glen Griffitts, worked as a police detective in Portland, Oregon. A colleague of his, Detective Patrick McGuire, found these items abandoned in a house in Northeast Portland in the mid-1970s. Glen Griffitts determined that they were once the property of Dr. G. Orlo Jefferson and his wife, Matilda. The Jeffersons donated a large sum of money to Pacific University around 1945 and had no children. Glen Griffitts believes, based on probate records, that the Jeffersons bequeathed these items to one of their household staff, and that they were subsequently abandoned. Additional information about the provenance is available in the research notes section of this collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Nearly all the photographs in this series have a handwritten caption and date on the verso.
Notes on the provenance and history of the materials in the collection; also includes print-outs of historic maps, photographs, census documents, and other items relating to the history of the collection.