Thomas Leeander Moorhouse (1850-1926), known as Major Lee Moorhouse, was an amateur photographer from Pendleton, Or. In 1878, he served as field secretary for Oregon governor Stephen F. Chadwick during the Bannock-Paiute War and the following year was appointed to the Third (Eastern Ore.) Brigade of the Oregon State Militia, where he earned the rank of Major. The owner of a mercantile business in Pendleton, Moorhouse & Livermore (later Lee Moorhouse and Co.), Lee Moorhouse also served one term as mayor of the city in 1885. From 1889 to 1891, he was employed as the agent to the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Lee Moorhouse began taking photographs circa 1897-1898. During a period when many amateur photographers were experimenting with new innovations in film negatives and snapshot photography, Moorhouse used glass plate negatives to capture his subjects. He took over 9,000 images, photographing the activities of his hometown of Pendleton, Or. and, especially, Native American life in the Columbia River basin and Umatilla County.
The Lee Moorhouse photographs consist of photographic prints, photographic postcards, and one cyanotype taken by Maj. Lee Moorhouse circa 1897-1919. Many of the photographs are portraits of Native Americans of the Columbia and Umatilla River basins in Oregon, taken by Moorhouse circa 1900-1912 and including members of the Cayuse, Nez Percé, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes. These photographs also include views of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and other unidentified Native American settlements in Oregon. There are also some photographs of members of the Yakima tribe, and these images may have been taken by photographer Thomas H. Rutter, who photographed the Yakima until his death in 1906; Moorhouse collected many of Rutter’s negatives and sold them as his own. Several other photographs in this collection also depict landscape views of the areas in which Lee Moorhouse lived and worked with the Native Americans, such as Columbia River basin, including Celilo Falls; the Umatilla River in Oregon; and the Little Bighorn River valley in Montana. These landscape views were all taken circa 1897-1905.
The collection also contains photographs of the Pendleton Round-Up, a rodeo in Pendleton, Or., taken by Moorhouse circa 1909-1919. Subjects include various rodeo events such as bronc riding, bull riding, steer roping, and photographs of the Cowgirl’s Bucking Contest, which was discontinued after 1929, as well as Round-Up parades and participants, including African-American, Native American, and women performers. Additionally, there are two photographs by Moorhouse of other Round-Ups in Crooked River, Or. and Toppenish, Wa.
This collection also contains film negatives not taken by Moorhouse.
Restrictions on Access :
The collection is open to the public.Restrictions on Use :
The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library prior to any use of reproductions. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use of reproductions may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright holders.Preferred Citation :
Lee Moorhouse Photographs, Org. Lot 104, Oregon Historical Society Research Library
The collection is arranged in the following series and subseries:
Acquisition Information :
Accession nos. 00D025 and 00U025.Processing Note :
This collection was reprocessed in March 2006 to include photographs from this accession that had been cataloged individually in the Wang card files.Bibliography :
Photographs taken by Lee Moorhouse can also be found in the Daniel E. Warren photograph collection, Org. Lot 391, and the Self-Indexing Photo Files at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
The Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Library holds 7,000 of Lee Moorhouse's original glass plate negatives. 300 additional negatives by Moorhouse are located at the National Anthropological Archives at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute, and about 1,400 of his photographs were also acquired by the Umatilla County Library in 1958.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
This series contains photographic portraits, including one cyanotype, of various members of the Cayuse, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Walla Walla tribes and photographs of their settlements on the Umatilla Reservation and Columbia Rivers in Oregon, among other places, taken by Lee Moorhouse.
The series is arranged into two subseries: (A) Portraits and (B) Settlements.
This series contains taken by Lee Moorhouse of the Columbia River, including Celilo Falls, and Umatilla River in Oregon; the Little Bighorn River valley in Montana; and other unidentified photographs of landscapes, probably in northeastern Oregon, circa 1897-1905.
This series mostly contains photographic postcards taken by Lee Moorhouse of the Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Or., 1901-1919, including views of various rodeo events and African-American, Native American, and women participants. There are also two photographs of Round-Ups in Crooked River, Or. and Toppenish, Wa. Many of the photographs are duplicates or copy images made from original prints in the collection; there are also six film negatives made from photographs in this collection. Arranged into two subseries: (A) Pendleton Round-Up, 1901-1919 and (B) Other Round-Ups.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.