History of the Shaw Historical Library

"If it contributes to a deepened appreciation among us for the area and its people, then the purpose of this library will be fulfilled." Laurence L. Shaw, 1986
Laurence Shaw

The Shaw Historical Library was founded in 1983 by Laurence L. and Dorothy Shaw. Laurence Shaw gathered his collection over a period of forty years. In his own words it was a collection "grown from reading. Each interesting book led to another until there was total immersion in Western Americana."

Shaw's intention was to establish a library to provide students, researchers, and the interested public with a place to learn about the people and history of the area known as the Land of Lakes. The Land of Lakes is generally considered to encompass southcentral and southeastern Oregon, northeastern California, and northwestern Nevada.

Since the initial donation in 1983, the collections of the Shaw Historical Library have grown, primarily through donations, to include approximately 3,000 books, as well as maps, art, manuscripts, photographs, and an oral history collection.

The library contains materials relating to American western migration and the history of the Klamath Basin. There are also significant collections on railroad, logging, and Native American History. The library's manuscript collections focus on logging, lumber industry, and agriculture in the Klamath Basin.

About Laurence L. Shaw

Laurence Loraine Shaw was born in 1908 in Mill City, Oregon. His father, (James) Royal Shaw incorporated the Shaw-Bertram Lumber Co. in 1920 with William Bertram in Klamath Falls, Or.

Laurence was educated at Stanford University Law School. He never practiced law, going straight into the family lumber business. He was the resident manager of the Shaw Lumber Company at Tionesta, 50 miles south of Klamath Falls, from 1935 to 1943. He became the sole owner of the Modoc Lumber Company in 1946. He was President of the Modoc Lumber Co. from 1945 to 1971 and Chairman of the Board.

Laurence married Dorothy L. Jensen of Rainer, Oregon, in 1937. Shaw passed away in 1998.