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.

Our Collections

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. Listen to the recordings or read the transcripts of interviews with people from all walks of life sharing their recollections of life as it was and how it is becoming. Listen to 19 Oral history clips paired with historical photographs illustrating topics here.

Historical Photograph Collection

women-fishingOur  photograph collection numbers nearly 13,000 photographs taken by many of the outstanding photographers of the area. Among the early photographers whose work is featured in our collection are:  Martyn Mallory, Eugene Antz, Lou Holliday, and many others. In 1983, the Union Pacific Railroad donated over 9,000 photo negatives and transparencies taken between 1936 to 1964, when U. P. owned and operated the Sun Valley Resort. In the past year, we have begun work to restoration of the 2500 color images from post –WWII Sun Valley and photos from the Wood River Journal photo morgue. View 2300 historical photographs here.

hemingwaynobelprizeErnest M. Hemingway

The Regional History Department has one of the most extensive collections of information on Ernest M. Hemingway in the nation. Our holdings encompass  collections amassed by his ardent fans John  Bitner and Victor Gould. It also includes books by and about Mr. Hemingway as well as oral  history interviews with many people who were his personal friends and family members. We have photos not found in any other collection. On loan to the department is a Royal typewriter that traveled with Hemingway on an Italian liner from Genoa to Havana Cuba.


The term “ephemera” is mysterious to many people. It is simply an archivist’s word for “things of the day.” Included in this collection are some of the more entertaining items housed in the archives. These include: Historical brochures, fliers, obituaries, posters, and more.

Ski Information Collection


Sun Valley 1950 Ski Team

Bill Lash was instrumental in founding our ski information collection. From his initial donation in 1988 of video tapes, books and ski publications, our collection is developing into one of the country’s best. In our department, visitors can trace the evolution of skiing and ski insruction through the ages.

Additional collections you’ll find in the Regional History department:

Our Special Collections:

  • Lewis Family Albums
  • Edith Ellis Hyde
  • James Knipe
  • Cora Marie Stroh
  • George Matsumoto
  • The Ladies Plastered Golf Association
  • Art Ensign Collection
  • Institute of the American West

Learn more about all of our Collections here.

Services we provide to our patrons:

  • Access to collections
  • Researcher’s writing area
  • Microform reader
  • Museum-quality archival photograph reproduction
  • In-department access to audio-visual equipment
  • Long-term storage and preservation of items donated to the Library by people like you.



Our Online Resources

Through generous grants from foundations and individuals, the Regional History Department has embarked on a journey into the digital age. Projects are underway to make more of our materials available online. In the near future we will be digitizing the newspapers printed around the turn of the 20th Century. We will also be refining our digital photo gallery to enhance user accessibility.

Access our Online Catalog of Historical Photos:
1) Click here to access our Online Catalog and experience over 15,000 historical photographs.

Please note, all images belong to The Community Library.  Downloading photos or use of any photographs is strictly prohibited unless in agreement by the library. We appreciate viewers respecting our Historical Photography policy. Learn more in our FAQ section or contact us using the contact form below. You may also download a photo usage agreement form here.


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.

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Support The Community Library and enjoy a piece of history!
Visit our online store and purchase a Sun Valley historical photo imprinted on your choice of our great items. Buy one for a friend – they’re the perfect gift!

Regional History Department Hours:

Monday and Wednesday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM, Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and by appointment.