Biography | Scope | Laughlin Legacy

About the Collection

The Kyle Laughlin photographs were donated to University of Idaho Library Special Collections in February of 1985 by Marguerite Laughlin. The collection was processed and described in 1998 and 1999 by Karen Hertel.

Biography of Kyle Laughlin

Kyle Laughlin (1905-1984) was a Moscow, Idaho resident and businessman for 56 years. He was born May 24, 1905 to Edward and Eva Laughlin in Ozark, Missouri. When Laughlin was about seven, the family moved to southeast Idaho where Kyle graduated from Ashton High School. He attended the University of Idaho and graduated in 1931 with a degree in teaching. In 1933, Kyle Laughlin married Marguerite Ward in Moscow. Marguerite was also a UI graduate and teacher. The newlyweds lived in Malad for two years where Kyle taught chemistry and physics before returning to Moscow in 1935 where they started in business. A ski shop within Ward Paint and Hardware, owned by Marguerite's father, gave way to a photo studio known as Kyle's Photo Shop. Here, Laughlin was able to turn his life-long interest in photography into a business.

In 1954, a partnership with Sam Haddock resulted in Haddock and Laughlin, a photography, television, appliance, and stereo shop. This business later started the Moscow TvCable Company. Laughlin was also involved in residential development. In the 1940's he became codeveloper of the B.L. residential area and later helped develop the Eastgate area in southeast Moscow. The Laughlins were dedicated supporters of both the Latah County Public Library and the University of Idaho Library. In December 1979, Warren Owens, the Dean of Instructional Services and Director of Libraries, reported that the University Library received "one of the most significant and impressive gifts in history," Laughlin's personal library of Western Americana.

Laughlin continued to take photographs after he closed his photo business. He documented his interest in the natural history of the Northwest and wildflowers through photographs and notes on his readings and travels. He also recorded, through photography, the family history of Marguerite and his three children at home and on their travels. Shortly after her husband's death in 1984, Marguerite Laughlin donated his photography collection, along with his notes, to the University of Idaho Library.

Scope and Content

The images of the Kyle Laughlin photographic collection span the years 1931 to 1979. The collection contains images of Idaho scenery and historical sites, travel to other states and countries, and family and friends. The collection holds 10,349 primarily black and white negatives and 3,819 color slides. The collection contains 22 boxes of mounted and unmounted prints as well as 34 spiral-bound books of prints. The majority of the negatives are represented in 27 spiral-bound books of contact sheets. Also included in the collection are the notes of Kyle Laughlin in the form of a scrapbook, a journal of notes, four sets of index cards, a photo record, and two catalogues. In addition there are 21 reels of 16mm and 8mm motion picture films.

Laughlin Legacy

Spring 1996 Issue : Towers (newsletter of Library Associates, University of Idaho Library)

Many buildings and rooms across the University of Idaho campus proudly bear the names of prominent supporters past and present. One such room is the Kyle and Marguerite Laughlin Reading Room in the Department of Special Collections and Archives in the University of Idaho Library. The University honored the Laughlins for their many contributions to the library with this room naming when the new facility was completed in 1994.

Both the Laughlins were life members of the Library Associates, the "friends" of the library. Their giving to the University Library began in the 1950's. Over 700 books including many rare Western Americana were donated in the 1970's. In 1985, shortly after her husband's death, Marguerite Laughlin donated 27 cubic feet of her late husband's personal papers and photographs to the University of Idaho Library.

In December 1979, Warren Owens, then Dean of Instructional Services and Director of Libraries, reported that the University Library received "one of the most significant and impressive gifts in its history," the personal library of Kyle Laughlin, a long-time Moscow resident and prominent businessman.

The collection totaled 754 titles of predominantly Western Americana, with emphasis on the history, flora and fauna of Idaho and the Pacific Northwest; Native Americans, especially the Nez Perce; and western photographs. Highlights of the collection include: the first edition of Washington Irving's Astoria, 1836; 15 Vardis Fisher titles, of which 10 are first editions and 5 are autographed; the Thwaites edition (15 vols., 1904) of the Lewis and Clark journals; and the first edition of Alexander Ross' Fur Traders of the West, 1855.

Both UI graduates and teachers, the Laughlins married in 1933. They lived in Malad for a short time before returning to Moscow where they started in business. A ski shop within Ward Paint and Hardware, owned by Marguerite's father, gave way to a photo studio. Later, a partnership with Sam Haddock resulted in Haddock and Laughlin, a photography, television, appliance, and stereo shop. This business later became the Moscow TV Cable Company.

A strong supporter of both the Moscow Public Library and the University of Idaho Library, she was president of the Library Associates of the University of Idaho from 1972 to 1974. She was also a founding member of the Friends of the Moscow Public Library, Idaho Library Trustee of the Year in 1967, and President of the Idaho Library Association, 1974-1975. Active in civic affairs, she was a member of the Gritman Hospital Board, president of the Moscow-Parent Teacher Association, and chair of the Moscow Recreation Committee.

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Kyle Laughlin Photograph Collection

Historical Photographs of Idaho and the United States, 1931 - 1979i

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About the Collection

The Kyle Laughlin Photogpraph Collection contains over 800 historical photographs collected or taken by Kyle Laughlin and donated to the Library in 1985. The images span the years 1931 to 1979 and depict Idaho scenery and historical sites, as well as images of Laughlin's travels, family and friends.

A Moscow resident and businessman for over 50 years, Laughlin took photographs and notes regarding the natural history of the northwest for much of his life. For more information on Kyle Laughlin and this collection, click here.

Images can be browsed by Location, Date, and Subject Term via these links or the tabs above. The database can also be queried extensively using the Table feature.

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