The Jones Photo Historical Collection is a success story that includes four generations of two families spanning three consecutive centuries of life, work, art and commerce in one great area of Washington State.
That area is the Olympic Peninsula, the families are the Jones family and the Middleton family. They have been very busy people during the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries making, collecting, preserving and now sharing on the internet these thousands of wonderful photographs.
The Jones Photo Co. has created a legacy of approximately 175,000 glass and film negatives and more than 85,000 prints. The variety of assignments was broad and deep; the Jones family of photographers covered all aspects of life in northwest Washington — from loggers, lumbermen, mill hands and merchants, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, and tribal chiefs; to newborn babies, graduating classes, just married couples, the newest buildings in town, the launchings of small wooden boats and big fiberglass yachts — the Jones Photo Co. was there to see it all.
Jones Family History
The Jones Photo Co. story began in 1880 in Silverton, Oregon when William L. Jones, an immigrant from Wales, developed a keen interest in picture-taking. He "had a talent for being a good artist...and got himself a tent and would travel from town to town and set up the tent and that would be his studio...but later on, business wasn't so good in Silverton, and of course there were logging camps and mills just booming in Grays Harbor". So he and his family including his son Bliss B. Jones, moved to Washington in 1913. Jones senior opened a portrait studio in Hoquiam while Bliss, at the age of 22, bought an Aberdeen commercial and photofinishing studio in 1914. Thus began the Jones family photographic dynasty.
Bliss' son, William D. "Bill" Jones carried the business into the 21st century. Beginning in 1933 at the age of 11, Bill did the pickup and delivery work for studio customers, walking all over downtown Aberdeen. Soon, he too became a photographer, assisting his dad on assignments. Bill joined the U.S. Navy in 1942, proposed to his wife Marzella while stationed in San Francisco, served in the Pacific, got married in 1945, and returned to Grays Harbor that year. He went back to work with his dad at the Jones Photo Co. He also began the joyous work of raising a family.
Bill and Marzella's first child, Ruth, was born in 1947; she was followed by Paul, Barbara, David, Greg and Karen. This was a big family to support, and Bill went immediately to work photographing postwar western Washington. His father Bliss passed away in 1953, leaving Bill even busier than ever.
This story, shared by Nancy Mucken, proves that the Jones Photo Co. worked hard to make great photographs: "My father, Warren McGuire hired Mr. Jones to take a picture of me at Christmas to give to my mother, Bette (Frafjord) McGuire. The photographer arrived at our house after midnight when my mom was asleep. My dad got me out of bed, got me dressed, braided my hair (probably not easy for him), and had me sit in a newly purchased child's wicker chair in front of the Christmas tree, reading a book upside down. The picture was taken and I was put back to bed and sworn to secrecy. This picture was always my Dad's favorite".
Bill's son Greg would later join the business as a talented and innovative photographer. When Bill retired, Greg successfully took over operation of the Jones Photo Co. until his premature death in January 2003 forced the studio to cease operations. Bill needed help to preserve the studio legacy and he found that help from hometown friends with a family history similar to his, the Anderson & Middleton Company.
Friends and Good Neighbors
The Anderson & Middleton Company was incorporated in 1898 on Grays Harbor and continues in business today from its headquarters in Hoquiam. Cousins Jim Middleton and Rick Middleton represent the third and fourth generations of family leadership for this successful company that grew with the timber industry in Washington State.
The business included timber lands, logging, sawmills and shipping, and has in recent years evolved to include agriculture, specifically California table and wine grape production as well as winery interests in California and Washington dedicated to producing fine wines.
Throughout the 20th century, Anderson & Middleton had hired the Jones Photo Co. to document its business operations, so Jim and Rick Middleton were well aware of the valuable historic record held in the studio files, a collection of negatives and prints that would be impossible to replace. They understood that Bill Jones needed some help to keep these photographs together, well-preserved and forever accessible to the public.
So these good neighbors with a deep sense of history purchased the Jones Photo Historical Collection from the Jones family. Bill Jones was retained as an adviser, and work began with consulting curator Howard Giske to archivally store, inventory, and catalog these photographs as well as to create this website to share them with the world. Terri Middleton, Jim's daughter, has provided valuable help producing scans and conducting original research on the photographs.
This is an ongoing process, and in the spirit of community stewardship, it includes the opportunity for the public to offer information about the pictures, so please contact us to share your wisdom. The following people have already contributed worthwhile and interesting information: Mary M. Richards Aaron, Ed Antich, Susan Baxter-Wells, Peter Becker Ph.D., Jill Bellis, Tom Berglund, Willa Biggs, Clara Blatchford, Debby Blecha, Fred Blindheim, Dick Bogar, Jim Borden, Jim Bowen, Jack Boykin, K. Patton Bramstedt, John Caldbick, Dave Carlberg, Kevin Carney, Dwight Caron, Barb Caskey, Jerry Chancellor, Rosemary R. Stilson Epperson Channel, Shane Chilman, Pat Clemons, Charles Corbett, Fred Crowder, Mike Daniels, Janet (Christensen) Davis, Jeff Davis, Barbara Decker, Ralph "Rudy" DeLateur, John Devine, John Dominoski, George Donovan, Bill Dugas, Floyd Dunn, Sharon Eklund Dunn, Jack Durney, Ian Edlund, Linnea Ekman, Ron Ellefson, Dennis Ellison, Joan Ellison, Judy Fectzo, Maria Fischer (Enrico), Steve Fletcher, Stan Foreman, Frederick G. Foster, Ed Gegen, Jeff Gegen, Carrie Gibson, Judy Goldstein, Leo C. Gormley, Gary Gozart, Erv Granahan, Jessica Green, Mary Lou Gregory, Cher Walford Griffin, Lillian Groesbeck, Beverly Hall, Barbara Hammell, Marv Hammell, Mike Hampton, Karen Harp, Patti Heikel, Vern Heikkila, Bruce Hilliard, Ralph Hillier, Laron J. "Larry" House, Steve Hubbard, John Hughes, Jim Hunt, Mike Hurlock, Don Huson, Steven Isaacson, Gary Iversen, Rich Jacobson, Jan Oddbjorn Johnsen, William L. "Bill" Jones, Mark Jorgenson, Rob Keasal, Claudia Kertzer, Linda Kimura, Laddy Kite, Susan Kloeppel, Kris Koski, Alain Lamothe, John Larson, Susan Larson, Ken Layton, Gary D. Lennon, Joan Fackrell Lesman, Krister Lile, Steve Leeson, Erv Lodeen, Emily Charette Lowe, Doug Lundgren, Dave Luttinen, Janet Madson, Ken Marshall, Carleen Maynard, Bill McCaw, Jim McCoskey, Tim McCowan, Larry McGlothlin, Norm McGuire, David McManus, Joy A. McGregor, Jim Middleton, Rick Middleton, Terri Middleton, Rev. Dr. Linda Milks, Mary Keene Mills, Don Moller, Nancy Mucken, Chief Jeff Myers, Eric Nelson, Julie Nelson, Teresa Nelson, Stet Palmer, Gary Parfitt, Christine Peck, Sylvia Percini, Skip Perry, Barbara Peters, Bob and Wendy Peterson, Kathleen Peterson, Allen Petrich, Linda Hulett Phillips, Gary Preble, John Prudhomme, Reuben Pruett, Tom Quigg, Alix Rae, Andrew Reeves, Randy Roadz, Barbra Rose, Margit (Long) Rustvold, David Rygmyr, Dick Salick, John Salick, Eric Sallee, Jack Saloma, Phillip Schnell, Carol Scott, Dann Sears, Larry Shandera, Grant Sherman, Larry Sherman, Margaret Sherman, Barb Shillinger, Ed Sloan, Bob Smading, William Smay, Carol Smith, Michael Snavely, Jackie Garrison Snyder, Don J. Spoon, Allan Stafford, Dick Sterling, Jo-Celle Strom, Wayne Sutton, Mark Swanson, Sam Talley, Ted Tanner, John A. Taubeneck, Mickey Thurman, Pam Trautman, Nancy Underwood, Roy Vataja, Cindy Wakefield, Judy Walker, Bob Weaver, Gordon West, Bruce Wicklund, David Wilhelms, Gordon A. Williams, Ned Williams, Stephanie Mannion Wrightson, Susan Wynans, Lynda Yllescas, Lane Youmans, Tony Zambas, and Logan Zepp. Thanks!