Welcome to the Regional History Department where the past is preserved and accessed both in the library and through innovative online solutions.
The Jeanne Lane Moritz Regional History Department of the Community Library in Ketchum, Idaho, is a resource, like a national park or a wilderness area. We preserve the history of the Wood River Valley to aid visitors and researchers in their understanding of the land and the people of the area.
The Regional History Department was established in 1982 as a research and resource center and a depository for the preservation and long-term storage of two-dimensional historical materials relating to the Alturas and Blaine County regions of Idaho. These materials include books, oral history interviews, diaries, letters, official reports, photographs, ephemera, manuscripts, newspapers on microfilm, DVDs and videos, and other related materials. The purpose of the department is to support research and enrich the experience of our visitors.
Oral History Collection
The oral history collection contains nearly 500 interviews preserving the memories of the people of the Wood River Valley. Subject matter ranges from the industries that created our lives in the valley — from mining, ranching, timber, railroad, recreation, and tourism to pioneer life and local tragedies. A few theme-related projects have been recorded such as the Gibbonsville Project and the Miriam Breckenridge Sheep Farming Project. Sound clips from the Miriam Breckenridge Project are accessible online in an e-exhibit via VoiceThreads.com. Here are the links:
Below you can listen to a complete interview with John Breckenridge conducted by Miriam Breckenridge in 1978. John was a sheep rancher in Twin Falls, ID. Every summer he brought his sheep up to graze in the Sawtooth Mountains. In this interview he talks about his ranching years from the 30s to the 70s. To directly access the Wood River Valley Oral History digital collection click here: http://rhd.thecommunitylibrary.org/luna/servlet/s/48szng
Historical Photograph Collection
Our photograph collection includes many subject areas from views of early Ketchum, Hailey, and Bellevue; Union Pacific Railroad publicity photos of Sun Valley resort; many aspects of sheep ranch life; and documentation of the mining era: 1880s to 1950s. The early known photographers included in the collection are: Martyn Mallory, Eugene Antz, and Louis Holliday. Other prominent collectors of photos were Dorice Taylor, Art Ensign Jr., the Institute of the American West, Nellie Vierra, Wood River Journal (photo morgue), and various community individuals. To see our digital collections, CLICK HERE.
Additional collections you’ll find in the Regional History department:
Our Special Collections:
- Lewis Family Albums
- Edith Ellis Hyde Papers
- Dorice Taylor Papers
- Art Ensign Jr. Collection
- Institute of the American West
Contact The Regional History Department
The Staff of the Regional History Department is always happy to help our visitors in their research whether newspaper ads, family history, or doctorial dissertations.