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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Avery E. Field collection.
    Date (inclusive): circa 1880-1960, undated.
    Date (bulk): 1920-1940
    Collection Number: 146
    Creator: Field, Avery E.
    Creator: Field, Gaylor
    Extent: 29.0 linear feet (47 document boxes, 1 half-size document box, 2 flat storage boxes)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The Avery E. Field collection contains several thousand images documenting the growth and development of Riverside, California in the first half of the 20th century. A large portion of the collection is comprised of images featuring local residents and their involvement in various events such as parades, celebrations, and weddings. The architectural history of the city is also well documented as there are images of both residential and commercial buildings including approximately 1,000 images of the Mission Inn. Portraits of local families, images of the region's geographic landscapes, and artwork are also contained in this collection
    Languages: The collection is in English.

    Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Avery E. Field collection, Collection 146. University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    This collection was acquired in 1980 from the Avery E. Field Studios in Riverside, California.

    Processing History

    Processed by Julie Agnew, 1993. Updates and revisions by Eric Milenkiewicz, 2009, 2011.

    Biography

    Avery Edwin Field was the premier commercial photographer in Riverside for most of the first half of the twentieth century. The name "Avery Field" was synonymous with photographic artistry and high technical quality for three generations of Riverside residents. As the official photographer of the Mission Inn and a successful entrant in many prestigious salon exhibits, Field also enjoyed a national and international reputation for photographic excellence.
    Field was born in Sparta, Michigan, in 1883 and spent his childhood there. By 1900 he was an enthusiastic amateur photographer. After graduating from the Illinois College of Photography in 1906 and serving a brief apprenticeship, Field opened his first studio in Lowell, Michigan. He soon, however, became restless with small town business, sold his studio, and took a job in Chicago. He also enrolled in Hillsdale College, where he took courses in drawing, composition, and art history.
    Avery Field's first chance contact with Riverside came on Easter Sunday, 1909. He was taking a stroll in downtown Chicago when he bumped into his California cousin, Gaylor Rouse, who had come back to Illinois for a family visit. Rouse lived in Riverside, where he owned the little city's department store. Accompanying Rouse was a man named Frank Miller, builder and "Master" of Riverside's famed Mission Inn. Miller had an infallible ability to spot exploitable talent. In the course of their casual conversation, he urged Field to consider resettling in Riverside, where his hostelry was in need of a talented photographer.
    One of Field's classmates at Hillsdale College was a painter named Charlotte Shephard, who became his wife in October, 1909. The newlyweds embarked on an eight-month honeymoon trip, which included a stop in Riverside to visit the groom's cousin. Gaylor Rouse arranged for the couple to meet with Frank Miller at the Mission Inn. Just as he had done some months before, Miller urged Field to settle in Riverside and promised to provide studio space in a new addition he was soon to build to his Inn. But the young couple was not yet ready for such a radical break with the past.
    The Fields returned to their studies at Hillsdale and then opened a studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. However, Miller's blandishments, and a persistent lung ailment made worse by Michigan's cold winters, soon won Avery Field over to the benefits of Riverside. The Fields packed up their studio and moved to the naval orange capital during the latter half of 1909.
    Unfortunately, by the time the Fields arrived, Miller was in no position to help them get established. The Master of the Inn was heavily in debt. The Inn's Spanish Cloister Wing, then under construction, was proving to be a financial millstone. A severe storm had struck while the Music Room was still unroofed, causing major structural damage and greatly delaying the whole project.
    So the Fields began life in Riverside very modestly. They were used to camping. During their lengthy honeymoon, they had tented for a while in Northern Arizona, where they had learned to weave Indian blankets. They now set themselves up in a tent house at the base of the Box Springs Mountains, near the springs. Charlotte Field painted while her husband took his camera equipment into Riverside on a bicycle-built-for-two to do odd photographic jobs.
    After several months, Miller was finally able to help the Fields obtain studio space on the third floor of the Loring Building, across Main Street from the Mission Inn. They called their studio the Photocraft Shop. Even though he specialized in portraits, Avery Field soon ran advertisements which offered a wide range of products and services. By 1917 he was providing not only panoramic "Cirkut Camera" prints, but also lantern slides, "Autochrome" color transparencies, and photomural enlargements. In addition, he was doing extensive micrographic photography for Riverside's Citrus Experiment Station. Charlotte Field, in the meanwhile, advertised as an artist doing "portraits in oil and watercolors."
    In 1920 the Fields sold their portrait business and moved their studio to a home in the 400 block of Lime Street. While at that location they concentrated on etchings, pictorial views in black and white, and scientific and commercial camera work. Finally, with the completion of the Rotunda Wing in 1933, Frank Miller was able to redeem his promise to provide Avery Field with a studio at the Mission Inn. The space provided seemed well worth the wait. The large, elegant quarters on the third floor of the Rotunda itself looked over the Oriental Court. This remained Field's studio until his retirement.
    Avery Field was a full participant in the life of his adopted city. For many years he was involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club and taught Sunday school at the First Congregational Church. But most of his "outside" activities involved some aspect of photography. In the 1930s and 1940s he taught a class entitled "Photography and the Art of Seeing" at Poly High School and at Riverside City College. He was active in a small local photography club called the Riverside Pictorialists and served several terms on the board of directors of the Photographers' Association of America.
    Field retired from business in 1952. His son, Gaylor, who had been assisting him since 1939, took over the studio and operated it until 1978. By retirement, Field had become enamored with the desert and its photographic opportunities. He began spending winters in the new community of Desert Hot Springs and also involved himself in the civic activities there. He died in Riverside on October 31, 1955, a year after the death of his wife and artistic colleague, Charlotte Field.
    {Biography from: Riverside City and County Public Library. (undated). Panoramas From Our Past, 1914-1950: The "Cirkut" Camera Avery Edwin Field [Brochure]. Riverside, CA: Author unknown.}

    Chronology

    1883: Avery Edwin Field was born in Sparta, Michigan.
    1906: Field graduated from the Illinois College of Photography.
    1909: Field married Charlotte Shephard.
    1909: Field, and his wife Charlotte, moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Riverside, California in October.
    1911: Field opened the Photocraft Shop, a studio specializing in portraits, on Main Street in Riverside, California
    1920: Field sold the Photocraft Shop and opened a studio on Lime Street in Riverside, California where he concentrated on etchings, pictorial views, and scientific/commercial camera work.
    1933: Frank Miller provided Avery Field with a studio at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.
    1952: Field retired from business and his son Gaylor took over and operated the studio until 1978.
    1955: Field died on October 31st in Riverside, California.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    The Avery E. Field collection contains several thousand images documenting the growth and development of Riverside, California in the first half of the 20th century. A large portion of the collection is comprised of images featuring local residents and their involvement in various events such as parades, celebrations, and weddings. The architectural history of the city is also well documented as there are images of both residential and commercial buildings including approximately 1,000 images of the Mission Inn. Portraits of local families, images of the region's geographic landscapes, and artwork are also contained in this collection.
    A variety of media formats are contained in this collection including photographic prints/negatives, glass plate negatives, lantern slides, and digital images.
    Digital images can be accessed via the "view online item" button located in Series 5 (Digital files and other material).
    The "Image Number" in Series 1 (Prints and negatives) is based on the original numbers assigned by the Avery E. Field Studios. Gaps in the numbering are present.
    Images denoted as "historical copy" refer to reprints of historical images from the personal collection of Mr. and Mrs. Gaylor Field. These images are not the photographic work of Avery E. Field.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into five series. The series arrangement is as follows:
    • Series 1. Prints and negatives, circa 1880-1960, undated.
    • Series 2. Glass plate negatives, circa 1880-1960, undated.
    • Series 3. Lantern slides, circa 1880-1960, undated.
    • Series 4. Panoramic prints and negatives, circa 1880-1960, undated.
    • Series 5. Digital files and other material, circa 1880-1960, undated.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Buildings.
    Mission Inn.
    People.
    Riverside (Calif.).
    Riverside County (Calif.).

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Clichés-verre (negatives).
    Lantern slides.
    Negatives (photographic).
    Photographs.