George H. Himes

Picture of George Himes

Biographical Information

Historian, curator, and printer George Henry Himes was born on May 18, 1844 in Troy, Pennsylvania, and he came overland to the Oregon Territory with his family in 1853. They settled near Olympia, Washington, where Himes's father Tyrus took up farming. George attended rural schools and learned the printing trade, eventually working for the Washington Standard in Olympia. Coming to Portland in the mid-1860s, he was employed first by the Oregonian and later by printer William D. Carter, with whom he formed the company Carter & Himes. In 1870 Himes bought out Carter and continued in business as "Himes the Printer." Among his publications were the Daily Bee and the illustrated West Shore magazine, as well as H.O. Lang's History of the Willamette Valley, which sent his firm into bankruptcy in 1885. After a subsequent printing business failed, Himes devoted the rest of his life to documenting the history of Oregon. Always active in the Oregon Pioneer Association and other organizations, he helped to found the Oregon Historical Society in 1898. The following year he began work as the Society's first curator (precursor to the position of executive director), and he continued to operate the institution until 1938.

Himes was married in 1866 to Anna F. Riggs, and he eventually fathered 11 children. He began keeping a personal diary in 1858 and continued, with occasional gaps, until 1939, a year before his death. He was a deeply religious man and an active temperance advocate. Among his many historical writings was a history of Oregon written for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition -- an event he helped to organize. He died in Portland in 1940 at the age of 96.

Books and Articles

  • History of the Press of Oregon 1939-1850, Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, 1902