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Time to vote for your favorite Library Jewel!

by Brian Zylstra | March 31st, 2015 10:26 am | No Comments

We’ve finished showing off the three State Library Jewels for March, and it’s now up to you and others to choose your favorite.

The three Library Jewels are an 1897 post route map of Washington, a collection of photos taken between 1920 and 1940 by Asahel Curtis and other photographers, and rare text that is the precursor text to Jean-Marie-Raphael Le Jeune’s famous Chinook shorthand.

You can vote by going to the online poll below. You have until this Friday at 4 p.m. to vote for your fave. Get busy!

#1 1897 post route map of Washington.


#2 Collection of photos by Asahel Curtis and others.


#3 Precursor text to Le Jeune’s Chinook shorthand.

Scan of [Precursor text to Le Jeune's famous Chinook shorthand /

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Library Jewel #3: Precursor to famous Chinook shorthand

Scan of [Precursor text to Le Jeune's famous Chinook shorthand /

After the first two Library Jewels for March included an old, rare map and a collection of classic photos, the third and final Library Jewel is rare text, the precursor text to Le Jeune’s famous Chinook shorthand, by Paul Durieu.

The manuscript for this text is 18×12 centimeters and crudely sewn onto a pasteboard cover. The manuscript seem to show that Durieu was writing extensively in Duployan as early as 1874, eight years before Le Jeune arrived in British Columbia to work with Durieu, and long before Le Jeune came to adapt it regularly to indigenous languages of the Northwest Coast. This is an important record of the work of a pioneer missionary to the Pacific Northwest, since Durieu initially arrived at Olympia in 1854.

We’ll start our online poll on the three Library Jewels soon, so be watching for it!

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Apple Blossom Royalty visiting Olympia, now and then


Secretary Wyman with 2015 Apple Blossom Royal Court and state Rep. Brad Hawkins (left). (Photo courtesy of Patrick McDonald)

One of the annual events during legislative session is a visit to Olympia by the Apple Blossom Royalty from the Wenatchee area. After this year’s Apple Blossom Royal Court stopped by our office recently to meet Secretary Wyman, our State Archives staff sent us several classic Digital Archives photos of Apple Blossom queens and princesses from yesteryear visiting the state’s Capitol and meeting with the governor.


The second photo shows the Apple Blossom Court with Gov. Clarence Martin in his office sometime in the mid-1930s. The next photo features the 1959 court meeting Gov. Albert Rosellini. And the bottom shot has the 1970 court visiting Gov. Dan Evans. The photos with Martin and Rosellini come from the Susan Parish Photograph Collection, 1889-1990. The Evans photo is from the State Governors’ Negative Collection, 1949-1975.



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Library Jewel #2: Collection of photos by Asahel Curtis, others


(Photo courtesy of Washington State Library)

If you’re looking for historical black-and-white photos of anything about Washington state, a great place to check is the Washington State Library. One of its collections of classic photos is the second Library Jewel for March.

This collection features shots taken by Asahel Curtis and other photographers sometime between 1920 and 1940. The Curtis photo above features a young girl in a pear orchard in the Yakima Valley.

The third and final Library Jewel will be featured soon, so watch for it.

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Justice Alexander: ‘Washington’s march to statehood’


Former Chief Justice Gerry Alexander points to an image of the 1889 telegram announcing President Harrison had signed the proclamation declaring that Washington had become a state. (Photos courtesy of Laura Mott)

Former Chief Justice Gerry Alexander’s distinguished career in law and the court system has spanned nearly half a century, making him one the the state’s best-known jurists in state history.  On Tuesday, he delighted a Capitol audience with another of his passions — state and local history — giving a historian’s loving tale of Washington’s long and bumpy road to statehood.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office was packed and SRO for a master’s class in state history from Justice Alexander. He traced the earliest days of the settling of the West by pioneers from the East. He showed slides of old maps that showed Washington’s transformation from being part of the Oregon Territory, covering much of the Northwest from the Pacific to the Rockies, to being the Washington Territory for 36 years, and finally to the big push that led to statehood in 1889.


The large gathering listens as Alexander talks about Washington’s Capitol in 1889.

Alexander, who has been honored by state and local historical groups for his work on heritage issues, also talked at length about the progressive/populist influences on the new state constitution and the state’s suspicions of “concentrations of power.” He also covered the fight for the right to be the state capital city, the struggle for women’s suffrage, and how state went “dry” before the nation turned to Prohibition.

TVW occasionally will air Alexander’s presentation in the coming weeks, as well as make it available to watch online.

The talk was part of Wyman’s office celebration of 125 years of statehood, led by Legacy Washington, the office program that produces oral histories, biographies, historic exhibits and more.  Women’s history expert Shanna Stevenson gave a presentation recently on the long fight for women’s suffrage, culminating in the male voters of Washington approving it in 1910.

The programs were co-sponsored by the AAUW and the League of Women Voters of Thurston County.


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March Library Jewel #1: 1897 post route map of WA


(Image courtesy of Washington State Library)

The State Library has lots and lots of historical maps: State maps. Territorial maps. Pre-Territorial maps. Highways maps. Railroad maps. Military maps. Geological maps. Even maps of shorelines and tidelands.

The library even has a classic map that Cliff Clavin, Newman and other famed postal carriers near and far would love. It’s a post route map of the state from 1897. The map shows the post offices with the intermediate distances on mail routes in operation on Sept. 1, 1897.

The postal map shows the relative position of the counties within the state at that time. Looking at the map, you can tell that Benton, Grant, Chelan, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties had yet to be created.

The map was published by order of Postmaster General James A. Gary that year. It is found in the State Library’s Rare Maps Collection and Northwest Maps Collection.

This map is the first Library Jewel for this month. Two more are coming this week, so be ready!

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Crosby Store Ledger takes it all in this month’s State Archives Poll


This month’s Archives Treasure goes to the Crosby Store ledger from 1859, with honorable mentions for the picture of the 1990 “Steel Magnolias” photo and an 1857 map of Western Washington Territory.

The ledger details the day-to-day transactions of the Crosby Store in Tumwater back in territorial days. The store was located on Reserve Street (now Deschutes Way). It was a general-merchandise emporium and important Tumwater fixture, operated by a settler named Nathaniel Crosby III.

The ledger was the last of the three March Archives Treasures, which showcases many of the rare and interesting items and collections found in our State Archives.

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State presents Medal of Merit, Medal of Valor

Kim speaks at 2015 MOV-MOM ceremony

Secretary of State Wyman speaks about the Medal of Merit during the ceremony in the House Chambers to present that award and the Medal of Valor. (Photo courtesy Legislative Support Services Photo Department) 

It was a day of applause and deep respect and admiration, as the state of Washington awarded the  Medal of Merit to two game-changing citizens and the Medal of Valor to Snohomish County communities and tribe who responded heroically to the Oso landslide tragedy one year ago.

The televised hour-long ceremony Wednesday was held before a joint session of the Legislature. Gov. Jay Inslee, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, Secretary of State Kim Wyman and Chief Justice Barbara Madsen took part.

The Medal of Merit is the highest award given by the state to citizens whose extraordinary achievements have benefited others. This year’s recipients:

• Gretchen Schodde, a resident of Union, Mason County, received the award in honor of her work as founder of Harmony Hill Retreat Center in Union, which focuses on wellness and renewal for individuals and families affected by a cancer diagnosis, with no cost for care to participants. Schodde’s pioneering work in a support response to cancer diagnoses is a national model. Schodde has been a health care professional, emergency first responder, educator and volunteer for nearly 50 years.

• Billy Frank Jr., a longtime Olympia area resident who died last May at the age of 83, was honored posthumously for his tireless work as a Nisqually tribal leader and dedication to the plight of Northwest salmon, the environment and peace between diverse cultures. Frank played a key role in the fight for treaty fishing rights, and chaired the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. He traveled the globe to help indigenous people in saving their own cultures and environment. Frank was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

Frank’s two sons, Willie and Tobin Frank, accepted the medal on his behalf.

“Billy Frank Jr. and Gretchen Schodde are such worthy recipients of the Medal of Merit,” said Wyman, who addressed the gathering about the award’s origin and continue reading

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Vote for your fave Archives Treasure!

It’s time for March Madness, State Archives style. Over the past few days, we’ve featured three items or collections in our monthly Archives Treasures series. Now it’s time for you choose your fave.

The three contestants are an 1857 map of the western half of Washington Territory, 1990 photos of a group of female state representatives known as the “Steel Magnolias,” and the 1859-1860 ledger of the Crosby Store in Tumwater.

The online poll is open below. You have until Wednesday at 5 p.m. to choose your favorite. Don’t forget to vote!

#1 1857 map of Western Washington Territory


#2 Photos of 1990 House’s “Steel Magnolias”


#3 The 1859-1860 ledger of the Crosby Store in Tumwater


What is your favorite March Archives Treasure?

  • 1859-1860 Crosby Store ledger (61%)
  • 1857 map of Western Washington Territory (30%)
  • Photos of 1990 House's "Steel Magnolias" (9%)

Total Voters: 74

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Another look at Kalakala before it “parts” ways


(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

The news about this week’s upcoming sale of parts of the Kalakala, the iconic ferry boat that recently was scrapped in Tacoma, is generating buzz among fans of the unique-looking silver vessel. The parts sale is taking place Friday and Saturday in a Parkland storage yard.

Never being ones to miss out on connecting to current news, our State Archives staff dusted off these photos of the Kalakala before it was transformed into relics. The top one features the boat in its glory days decades ago when it shuttled passengers and vehicles across Puget Sound. The bottom photo shows the Kalakala as it is being taken apart in a Tacoma shipyard this January.


(Photo courtesy of Benjamin Helle)


Archives Treasure #3: Crosby Store ledger, 1859-1860


(Image courtesy of Washington State Archives)

Business practices have changed just a little since 1860, and that’s what makes this handwritten ledger in the State Archives such a treasure.

The book details the day-to-day transactions of the Crosby Store in Tumwater. The store was located on Reserve Street (now Deschutes Way). It was a general-merchandise emporium and important Tumwater fixture, operated by a settler named Nathaniel Crosby III.

Thurston County’s earliest settlers and businesses fill the pages of this ledger, including Clanrick Crosby and the Tumwater Grist Mill.

Clanrick Crosby was a pivotal player in Tumwater’s early years. After he took out a Donation Land Claim that included Tumwater’s upper, middle and lower falls, he held the key to Tumwater’s economic development. The industrial growth in Tumwater can be seen and traced in the pages of the Crosby store ledger.

The volume went through careful preservation work in 2005. State Archives staff and volunteers Terri Juillerat, Roger Easton and Bryn Kildow soaked each page and carefully removed pasted-on newspaper articles and postcards to reveal the transactions of the store. The pages were then scanned, encapsulated, and placed in acid-free folders.

The ledger is the last of the three March Archives Treasures, which showcases many of the rare and interesting items and collections found in our State Archives.

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