About the Collection

Boise by Burns was created by Kelly Bickle, the son-in-law and photographic apprentice of Stanley Burns. Kelly was captivated by the photography and the history of The Burns Studio.   Born into a family of genealogists and collectors, Kelly could see the historic potential in the ninety years of equipment and archives of the Burns Studio.  Because the business remained in its original location and the early Burns photographers had the space and the inclination to keep old equipment and negative files, the Boise by Burns collection is uniquely vast and complete.   Kelly’s dream of moving the entire studio and its contents to Julia Davis Park as a photographic museum was not met with the enthusiasm he had hoped.  Kelly and his wife, Marilyn, investigated donating the historic files to an institution to make sure that the collection would be available to the public for historic and genealogic use.  It became apparent that negative collections that were not organized, catalogued and readied for use on the internet, might take years to be made public.  


Kelly decided to begin the cataloguing process himself.  With the help of his family, he started with the most severely damaged nitrate negatives, scanning and saving what he could.  He then moved to the 3,000 glass plate negatives that comprised the early work of Grover Burns.  New covers were made for each glass plate negative, the original information (name, address, description) recorded on the new cover with a new file number, so the name, number and description could be added to a database and the negative later scanned.  To date we have catalogued and scanned 1500 negatives in 1284 files.  


We knew we needed professional help in building an appropriate website for the collection.  We began applying for grants to help us begin our site.  We applied to the City of Boise History and Art Department and were awarded a grant to help us with the database.  We also received a grant from Megan Smolenyak at Honoring Our Ancestors to run the web page.  Without this seed money and the help and encouragement of Anita Quick owner of Quick’s Graphics and Brian Cohen owner of Intercarve Networks LLC, this site would not be possible.   Thanks to all for believing in our dream of creating an outstanding historical/genealogy website.  Thanks should also go to the generations of clients who have passed before the lens of a Burns Studio camera.  May you be part of the history of the Boise Valley forever.

- We would like to thank you for your kind Donations in helping us build this historical photo collection. 

- If you would like to make a donation to help support this historical photo collection please make your donation here.