Kyle Laughlin Photograph Collection

Photographs of Idaho, the PNW, and broader U.S. between 1920s-1960s

Contents: About Kyle Laughlin | About Marguerite Laughlin | About the Collection | References | Tech

About Kyle Laughlin

Kyle Emmett Laughlin (b. 1905 – d. 8 February 1984) was a resident, local businessman, real estate developer, writer, and photographer in Moscow, Idaho for over 50 years.1 Laughlin’s photography (and writing) were inspired by “the natural beauty of the Northwest” and serves as pictorial documentation of many historic Pacific Northwest scenes between the 1920s and 1960s.2 Some of his photographs captured scenes of the Snake River “before the four Lower Snake River dams were built in the 1960s and 1970s. While much of the landscape is familiar, the photos capture glimpses of the pre-dam river – before the orchards and beaches were flooded by rising reservoirs, and while salmon runs were still abundant.”3 Some of these photographs were utilized by conservation groups in 2009 to “offer a vision of what the Lower Snake could return to if the dams were removed to restore salmon runs.”4 His photographs contributed to a 20-year debate among scientists and politicians regarding whether “breaching the dams” would “help restore salmon runs.”5

Although Laughlin never viewed himself as a professional photographer, he produced an “impressive body of work” which was “recognized in the early 1980s when it was featured in a [University of Idaho] Gallery exhibit, titled ‘A Retrospective: Forty Years of Local Images.’”6 Like his very influential wife, Kyle was also a teacher and businessman.

About Marguerite Laughlin

Kyle Laughlin and his wife, Marguerite Laughlin, were both teachers who had strong ties to the North Idaho region before finally settling in Moscow, Idaho “in the midst of the Depression.”7 Marguerite graduated from Moscow High School in 1925 and University of Idaho in 1929.8 She “owned and operated several retail businesses” with her husband.9

Marguerite was also an active member of the Moscow and Idaho community: “She helped organize the first kindergarten in 1945. She was a Gritman Memorial Hospital Board member for 25 years. She was a trustee of the Moscow-Latah County Library system from 1945 to 1974. She was also president of the Moscow Parent Teacher Association, chairwoman of the Moscow Recreation Committee and the Mayor’s Recreation Committee and was a member of the board of Meals on Wheels. She was also actively involved with many library organizations. She was regional director of the American Trustee Library Association in 1970-1971, named Idaho Library Trustee of the Year in 1967, was president of the [University of Idaho] Library Associates from 1973 to 1975 and was president of the Idaho Library Association during those two years. She and her husband contributed to the [University of Idaho] Library Endowment where both of them were recently honored by having a reading room named for them.”10

Together, Kyle and Marguerite shared three children: Kay, Helen, and John. For Marguerite’s obituary, see here. For John’s obituary, see here.

About the Collection

This collection contains over 800 historical photographs collected or taken by Kyle Laughlin between 1922 and 1967. These photographs include images of buildings, family life, and general social/community activities in and around Moscow, Idaho.

Nature scenes include various rivers, creeks, agricultural scenes, flowers and plants, and geologic formations. Photographs of people include portraits, Laughlin’s children’s graduation ceremonies, general family photographs (some of which are genealogical), and social gatherings at the Laughlin house.

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

The physical collections are held by Special Collections and Archives.


  1. Latah County Historical Society, Legendary Locals of Moscow (Moscow: Arcadia Publishing Incorporated, 2015), 85. 

  2. Ibid. 

  3. Becky Kramer, “Pre-Dam Photos May Be Glimpse of Future,” The Spokesman-Review, March 30, 2009, (Archived:

  4. Ibid. 

  5. Ibid. 

  6. Latah County Historical Society, Legendary Locals of Moscow (Moscow: Arcadia Publishing Incorporated, 2015), 85. 

  7. “Marguerite Laughlin, 84, Moscow Businesswoman.” The Lewiston Tribune, January 4, 1993, (Archived:

  8. Latah County Historical Society, Legendary Locals of Moscow (Moscow: Arcadia Publishing Incorporated, 2015), 39. 

  9. Ibid. 

  10. “Marguerite Laughlin, 84, Moscow Businesswoman.” The Lewiston Tribune, January 4, 1993, (Archived:

Technical Credits - CollectionBuilder

This digital collection is built with CollectionBuilder, an open source framework for creating digital collection and exhibit websites that is developed by faculty librarians at the University of Idaho Library following the Lib-Static methodology.

Using the CollectionBuilder-CSV template and the static website generator Jekyll, this project creates an engaging interface to explore driven by metadata.

More Information Available

Technical Specifications
IMLS Support