Williston State College Foundation received the William E. Shemorry Collection from Shemorry's family following his death. The Foundation entered into an agreement with the State Historical Society to house the collection and funded a Project Archivist to process, digitize, and make it accessible to the people of Williston and western North Dakota. The Shemorry Collection was formally transferred to the State Historical Society of North Dakota in July 2011.

Bill Shemorry’s career encompassed the roles of newspaper publisher, reporter, photographer, historian, researcher and author in Williston, North Dakota.

In total, the collection consists of 277 boxes of Shemorry’s research, photographic prints, negatives, newspapers, slides, artifacts, and sports programs. The total number of photographs is unknown, but the best estimate is 100,000 images. Images in the collection date from the 1870s-2004.

The photographs in the collection encompass a variety of topics including advertising, aerial photography, agriculture, aviation, businesses, churches, city organizations, community celebrations and events, education, history, the military – especially the China-Burma-India theater in World War II, Native Americans, parades, people, photography, pioneer and homesteading photographs, politics and politicians, sports, the oil industry, transportation, firefighting and fires, weddings and anniversaries, and much more.

Shemorry collected photographic prints, negatives and glass plate negatives of 19th century photographers and photo studios of northwestern North Dakota.

Contact information

State Historical Society of North Dakota
State Archives
612 E. Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505
(701) 328-2091

website: http://history.nd.gov/