The Washington Rural Heritage initiative is pleased to announce our newest digital collection: Vashon Island Heritage. A project of the Vashon Library (King County Library System) and the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association, the collection documents life on the island from the late 1800s through the 1960s. Four sub-collections make up the collection:
- Journals & Memoirs features local histories such as Marjorie Rose Stanley’s Search for Laughter and Bill Rendall’s Memoirs of Maury Island. Our favorite item in this sub-collection is a scrapbook documenting a mother and daughter’s 1923 move from Michigan to Paradise Cove on Vashon Island. Florence Harger Burd painstakingly recorded her daughter Tad’s early years in this scrapbook, which includes photos, letters, artwork, and a journal narrating their day-to-day activities. Here’s a good place to begin exploring this large scrapbook.
- Maps and Periodicals includes maps from c.1895 through the 1920s, and some of the Island’s earliest newspapers and publications. During the 1930s Islander Janet Haugen founded a monthly magazine called the Nor’Wester, which featured many stories of Vashon’s pioneers and farmers. Here’s a Nor’Wester story about one of those early pioneers.
- Vashon’s First Peoples documents the S’Homamish people of Vashon Island. It includes images of traditional tools and baskets on display at the Vashon Heritage Museum, and details life on the Island prior to S’Homamish removal to the Puyallup Reservation. Born in a longhouse on Quartermaster Harbor in the 1840s, native S’Homamish Lucy Gerand would later provide vital information regarding the island’s native population and traditional place names. Here are some of those names, told by Lucy to anthropologist T.T. Waterman in 1922.
- Vashon College (1892-1912) includes photos and memorabilia documenting the first college on Vashon Island, which operated from 1892-1912, when fire destroyed key buildings (Vashon College resumed operation as a Washington State nonprofit in 2005, and contributed material for this digital collection).
A big thanks to our participants at the Vashon Library and Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association for their hard work digitizing and cataloging these materials!