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Voting time for May Library Jewels

by Brian Zylstra | May 28th, 2015 10:17 am | No Comments

Now that we’ve finished showing the world the three State Library Jewels for May, it’s up to you and others to choose your fave.

Your choices: aerial and satellite photos of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption, a collection of Captain Robert Fay’s correspondence in the mid-19th century, and official records of Union and Confederate armies.

You have until Monday at 5 p.m. to take part in our online poll, so make sure to vote before it’s too late.

Aerial photos of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption

Collection of Captain Robert Fay’s correspondence


Official records of Union, Confederate armies

wsl_SerialSet_Civil WarAtlas1_Gettysburg

What is your favorite May Library Jewel?

View Results

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Wyman surprises Kids’ Art Contest winner in class


Emily Cain and Secretary Wyman (right) hold up a poster of Emily’s winning artwork in her class. With them (from left) are Emily’s teacher, Kevin Plough, and her mother, Amanda Cain. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Pryor)

Emily Cain began Wednesday morning at Burien’s Cedarhurst Elementary School like she has many times before it. But what was a routine day for the fourth-grader took a major change around 9:30.

Her mom and her little brother unexpectedly entered her classroom. Then walked in a lady she’s never met, Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Standing before Emily, her teacher, Kevin Plough, and her classmates, the Secretary of State explained why she was there – to announce that Emily was the winner of the statewide Kids’ Art Contest.

“I could tell Emily had no idea why we were there, which made it really special when I told her she won the contest,” Wyman said. “It was fun to surprise Emily in front of her teacher and classmates with the big news! Congratulations to her and her family!”

Emily’s winning artwork, featured below, will be shown in the 3.2 million copies of the statewide General Election Voters’ Pamphlet that will be sent to Washington residents in October. Emily’s drawing and those of the runners-up will be displayed this fall in the Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen’s office in the state Capitol.

The annual contest, sponsored by our Elections Division, is for fourth- and fifth-grade Washington students. continue reading

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Library Jewel #3: Official records of Union, Confederate armies

wsl_SerialSet_Civil WarAtlas1_Gettysburg

(Image courtesy of Washington State Library)

The third and final State Library Jewel for May is timely since the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War was recognized this spring: official records of the Union and Confederate armies, as found in the United States Congressional Serial Set.

Here is an excerpt regarding the two-volume atlas from which the Gettysburg map shown above is found:

“The atlas of the Official records consists of maps of battlefields, cities and their defenses, and parts of the country traversed by the armies. Parts 1, 25, and 26 contain view of besieged cities, forts, etc., and pt. 35 gives the uniforms and flags or the two armies, and other information. The location of Confederate troops or defenses is shown in red and that of the Union troops in blue. The atlas is not included in the reprint edition.”

We’ll launch the online poll for the May Library Jewels later this week, so be watching!

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Library Jewel #2: collection of Captain Fay’s correspondence



The second Library Jewel for May is a collection of correspondence, records and a journal of one of Seattle’s first settlers.

On Nov. 13, 1851, Captain Robert Colburn Fay was among the first settlers to land at Alki Point in what is now West Seattle. Fay remained in the Puget Sound area for another two decades, meeting with chiefs of various tribes to discuss treaties. Fay spent his last few years living in Coupeville before he died in 1872.

The library’s collection of Fay’s items ranges from 1845 to 1861.

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May Library Jewel #1: Spectacular photos of St. Helens eruption


(Photo courtesy of Washington State Library)

Days after documents related to the unforgettable 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption topped this month’s Archives Treasures online poll, we’re kicking off the May edition of State Library Jewels with a collection of aerial photos of the world-famous mountain during and after it literally blew its top and knocked down or buried 230 square miles of forest beneath volcanic deposits. The eruption killed 57 people.

The aerial and satellite shots of the mountain were taken by the state Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Interior/Geological Survey. The collection features about 40 slides of the eruption.

The photos are in affiliation with the National Cartographic Information Center, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior.

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35 years later, Mount St. Helens docs top Archives poll


The anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens is still a memorable date for many Washingtonians. It also helped propel the documents related to that iconic volcanic event to an easy win in the May Archives Treasures online poll.

The St. Helens eruption docs, which include a letter from President Jimmy Carter to Gov. Dixy Lee Ray, gathered 49 percent of the votes. The 1975 Vietnamese refugee photos and documents finished second with 33 percent, followed by Seattle pioneer David Denny’s powder horn (18 percent).

We’ll start this month’s Library Jewels series soon, so be ready!

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May Archives Treasures: Let’s vote!

We’ve launched this month’s Archives Treasures online poll, so it’s time to vote on your favorite among these three choices: Seattle pioneer David Denny’s powder horn, photos and documents from the 1975 arrival of Vietnamese refugees in Washington, and documents related to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Vote using our online poll below. The poll closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, so don’t miss out on voting!

Seattle pioneer David Denny’s powder horn


1975 Vietnamese refugee photos, documents


1980 Mount St. Helens eruption documents

Mount St. Helens - 1980 eruption

What is your favorite May Archives Treasure?

  • 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption documents (49%)
  • 1975 Vietnamese refugee photos, documents (33%)
  • Seattle pioneer David Denny's powder horn (18%)

Total Voters: 67

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Letter-writing champs share their inspiration


From left: State Librarian Rand Simmons, Alison Amirault, Emily Cordero and Secretary Wyman. Amirault and Cordero are two of the state champs in this year’s Letters About Literature contest.

Authors’ ability to inspire and connect with young readers was never more evident than during a ceremony at the Capitol honoring top contestants in this year’s Letters About Literature contest.

Sponsored by the Washington State Library and the Library of Congress, the competition encourages students to write letters to their favorite authors of all time. About 3,250 students in grades 4-12 took part statewide.

During the Friday afternoon event, this year’s three state champions read their letters for Secretary of State Kim Wyman, State Librarian Rand Simmons, family and friends in the Legislative Building’s Columbia Room. Winners were:

• Alison Amirault, a sixth-grader at Eastside Catholic Middle School in Sammamish, Level 1 (grades 4-6) champion. Amirault wrote her letter to Rob Buyea about his book Because of Mr. Terupt. From Alison’s letter: continue reading

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Archives Treasure #3: Mount St. Helens eruption docs

Mount St. Helens - 1980 eruption

Monday marks the 35th anniversary of a tragic “where-were-you-when-it-happened” moment for many Washingtonians: the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

On the morning of May 18, 1980, the cone-shaped volcano erupted violently, killing 57 people and thousands of animals, unleashing devastating mudslides, damaging or destroying more than 4 billion board feet of timber and sending an ash plume 12 miles into the sky and covering much of Eastern Washington with the gritty ash. The 1980 event was the deadliest and most destructive volcanic eruption in the history of the continental U.S.


Four days after the eruption, President Jimmy Carter flew west to meet with officials and inspect the destruction with Gov. Dixy Lee Ray. A day later, Carter wrote this letter (above) to Ray, letting the governor know that “My administration will continue to do everything possible to provide assistance in repairing the damage caused by the volcanic eruption.” Carter also wrote:

“As President, I am extremely proud of the courage of the people of the northwest region of our country. The cooperation of efforts in dealing with this devastating phenomenon has surely been one of the most important single factors in minimizing damage which was potentially catastrophic. It is gratifying to see such a tremendous spirit of determination.”

Here is President Carter’s Daily Diary for May 22, 1980, which shows him starting his day in Portland, flying in Marine One up to Kelso for a brief visit, helicoptering back to Portland, flying to Spokane on Air Force One for a short visit, and then flying back to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

In the weeks leading to the Cascades volcano blowing up, Harry Truman, the owner and caretaker of the Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake, refused to leave his home despite evacuation orders. He is presumed to have been killed in the eruption. This letter sent by a Portland couple to Gov. Ray asks her to take steps to remove Truman from the mountain’s danger zone.

The letters and diary are part of our State Archives. They make up the third Archives Treasure for May.

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Wyman honors Seahawks for ‘awesome’ public service


Secretary Wyman presents Seahawks officials with a medallion and certificate at the VMAC. (Photos courtesy Philip Kerrigan) 

Secretary of State Kim Wyman has presented the Seahawks a special national medallion for exceptional public service through its charitable and community-building efforts.

Wyman made the presentation in a ceremony Wednesday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton. She hailed the team and the organization for “giving so humbly and making such a difference in this state and region. We honor you not just because you are Super Bowl champs, although that is amazing, but because you have a culture of taking care of the community.”

The award was accepted by Peter McLoughlin, president and CEO, and Chuck Arnold, COO.  Russell Okung represented the team.

Kim and staff with Okung

Seahawks offensive lineman Russell Okung with Secretary Wyman and her staff.

The Medallion of the National Association of Secretaries of State is a national honor reserved for individuals, companies and organizations that provide meritorious service to their states and communities. They are often given for civic and voter engagement; in Washington, they have gone to small and large companies that give back to their communities in a significant way.

Washington’s project is called Corporations for Communities, or C4C: http://tinyurl.com/ybheyur .

Secretary Wyman said the Seahawks have been “spectacular citizens of our state, inspiring us with their athletic skills and their devotion to the public good.

“At a time when there is so much strife and division, the Seahawks have been a unifying force in our state and the whole Pacific Northwest,” she said. “People put on their jerseys and watch at home, continue reading

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Archives Treasure #2: 1975 Vietnamese refugee photos


Refugee leaders and their families listen as Gov. Evans welcomes them to Washington in 1975. (Photos courtesy of Washington State Archives)

The second Archives Treasure for May marks a special anniversary for Dan Evans, Ralph Munro and thousands of Washingtonians who endured a long, difficult journey to reach our state four decades ago.

As the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon in April 1975, about 130,000 South Vietnamese fled their homeland and soon made their way to the U.S. Many Vietnamese refugees arrived at Camp Pendleton in southern California, where they waited, not knowing their fate.


Ralph Munro at the refugee camp at Camp Pendleton in 1975.

Enter Evans and Munro. Evans, Washington’s governor at the time, sent Munro to Pendleton to let authorities there know that refugees were welcome to come to Washington state.

After being at the camp a few days, Munro wrote a four-page memo to Evans to apprise the governor of the situation. Munro’s letter noted that “We are the first state to become involved in the refugee program and the only state that has stepped forward with a willingness to help.” The memo later reveals how the refugees were doing:

“The refugees are eating all the time. Most of them arrived there hungry and most are becoming acclimated to the area. They are settle back down to a three-meals-a-day type system, but nevertheless at all times there are lines to get into the mess halls.

“Soccer and frisbee seem to be the most popular recreational activity in the camp. There seems to be quite a need for warm clothing and even though the temperatures yesterday were in the 80’s a lot of people were traveling around in their heavy marine pea coats that have been issued to each of the individual refugees. We often forget that the temperatures in Saigon run into the 80’s, 90’s and 100’s and when it is 70 degrees it is quite cold in Vietnam. People here are damn cold and I am afraid that will be a major problem when they resettle in the Pacific Northwest.”


A view of many of the tents erected at Camp Pendleton to house the refugees.

Soon afterward, many of the refugees made their way to Washington to begin new chapters in their lives.

The 40th anniversary of the refugees’ arrival in Washington sparked several recent stories.

Munro’s memo to Evans is part of the second Treasure, along with several photos of the refugee camp, which included thousands of tents. Other photos show Evans welcoming refugee leaders when they arrived at Camp Murray.


Gov. Evans talks with some refugee leaders after their arrival at Camp Murray in 1975. The bearded guy just to the left of Evans is then-AP reporter David Ammons, now the OSOS communications director.  


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