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Maud Baldwin Leaves Klamath Photographic Legacy

Working from a studio in room 401 of her father’s hotel in Klamath Falls, Ore., Maud Baldwin processed thousands of glass-plate photographs that today are a historical treasure.

Her pictures include Native Americans, loggers, ranchers, Crater Lake, street scenes, paddlewheel steamboats, school children, wildlife, reclamation projects and automobiles. The Oregon Encyclopedia calls them “some of the most significant visual documentation of early twentieth-century Klamath Falls and its residents.”

At age 48 she drowned herself in the Link River between the hotel and the Baldwin family home.

Born in 1878, Baldwin was taking pictures in earnest at age 18, ten years before attending the California College of Photography in Palo Alto, Calif.  By the time she was 37, her production had dwindled as she grew active in civic and social life.  Her father died when she was 42, leaving her the bulk of his estate, management of his business affairs, including the Baldwin Hotel, and care of her stroke-stricken mother. 
Six years later she left a suicide note saying she was “going insane” and her body could be found in the river.

The Klamath County Museum has archived her surviving negatives, although many others have been lost.

Source: Edson, Charles. "Maud Baldwin (1878-1926)." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Oregon Historical Society and Portland State University , 2015. Web. 14 Sept. 2015. .

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.