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Murdock Aerial Photography collection Edit


WASH 011
Finding Aid Author
Amber J. D'Ambrosio
Finding Aid Date
2013 June 12
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of Description
This collection was processed and described with the assistance of a preservation grant from the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board.


  • 1970-2011 (Creation)


  • 20.5 Linear Feet (Whole)
    37 photograph boxes, 3 binders & 1 manuscript box

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  • Abstract

    Photographic proof prints, negatives, slides, and CD's of Southern Utah and surrounding areas created by Clinton and Joan Murdock from 1982-2005 primarily for use by local planning commissions and companies developing in the region.

  • Biographical/Historical note

    Born September 25, 1921 to Leo Delbert and Frances Rosetta Dance Murdock Clinton Van “Nick” Murdock was raised in Idaho and a World War II pilot of distinction. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 while at the University of Idaho. He served in seven campaigns of World War II including Normandy. Upon his return he married Joan Packham, and they raised their family on a farm in Idaho before moving to Hurricane, Utah in 1980. In 1982 they started their 25 years of aerial photography work, selling prints to contractors and home owners among others. Nick piloted their small plane while Joan held a camera out of the window to take the photographs. As they lived on an old airstrip in Hurricane, Utah in the Sky Ranch area, they were able to house the aircraft in a hangar that doubled as their home and take off using the adjacent runway. Nick retired from flying in 2007 and returned to Idaho in 2008 with Joan. He passed away in 2009.

  • Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of 13,424 photographs, 403 slides, 786 negatives, and 21 CDs, with the vast majority being aerial photographs taken of the landscape in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and portions of other states. The photography spans the large growth years of Washington County from approximately 1982 to 2005. A small portion of the collection consists of ground shots and family photographs. Most of the work was done in the Southern Utah and Northern Arizona areas. The Utah counties of Washington, Kane, San Juan, Iron, and Garfield are the most photographed, but included are photos from counties running northward to Salt Lake County, including some counties on the east and west sides of the I-15 corridor. The Arizona counties of Coconino and Mohave and Clark County in Nevada are also represented. A small number of photographs were also taken in and around Blackfoot, Idaho. Municipalities and commercial entities such as planning commissions and committees for the development of newly annexed and purchased properties contracted aerial landscape studies with the Murdocks. Water conservation and dam engineers also commissioned aerial photographs with them. Among the cities photographed are the following: St. George, Washington, Hurricane, Leeds, New Harmony, Cedar City, Payson, Nephi, Manti, Richfield, and Milford in Utah; Fredonia, Beaver Dam, and Colorado City, Arizona; Mesquite and Glendale, Nevada. Commercial entities include: Walmart, Sun River, Brian Head Resort, Coral Canyon, and others. The collection also contains landscape aerial photography of places like Brian Head, Cedar Breaks, and Zion and Bryce National Parks.

  • Arrangement

    Photographic prints in the collection were arranged physcially by size, then into series by broad geographic area, then into subseries by a narrower geographic area, where appropriate, as this was believed to be of most potential value for researchers in this repository. They were then organized chronologically by the dates provided by the Murdocks on the back of each photograph or on labels attached to pages in the original binders. Finally, they were arranged according to what is believed to be the film roll number and photograph on the roll as assigned by the Murdocks. In some cases there are discrepancies among the prints in terms of how roll numbers correspond to dates. Where this occurs and where possible during processing, an additional date is provided that is assumed to be correct because it places a roll of film within the apparent chronological order in which they seem to have been taken.

    A list has been produced for use in dating photographs that have roll numbers but do not have dates. For the most part, the rolls seem to have been shot in chronological order with some confusion for the film shot in April 1983.

    For the prints of photographs contained on discs, the disc number is referenced instead of a roll number and the dates provided are the print dates. The last modified dates on the discs indicate that the actual photography likely took place several years prior to the print dates.

    Film, slides, and discs were organized in numerical order according to the system created by the Murdocks.

  • Language of Materials

    Materials entirely in English.

  • Existence and Location of Originals

    The Special Collections and Archives hold the photographic proof prints and slides produced by the Murdocks in the course of their business as well as a portion of the original negatives and discs. All other negatives are currently held by Colorland Photo, 75 East Tabernacle St., St. George, UT 84770, and prints can be requested there. At some future point the remainder of the negatives may be accessioned by Special Collections and Archives.

  • Sponsor Note

    This collection was processed and described with the assistance of a preservation grant from the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board.

  • Preferred Citation

    Item description and date [series, sub-series, roll # - photo #], MC 11 , Murdock Aerial Photography Collection, Dixie State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    Please provide 48 hour notice to view the negative or slide portions of the collection as they require special storage and handling.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Reproduction and use of the materials in this collection are subject to copyright law. Dixie State University Library Special Collections and Archives holds the copyright to unpublished material in the collection that is not in the public domain. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be obtained from the Special Collections Librarian and Archivist and a correct citation provided. A user may be asked to submit a "Request for one-time use of photocopies or reproductions" form in order to obtain reproductions.