WA Secretary of State Blogs

Special Edition! Washington Digital Newspapers website is ready for the oldest & newest news!

July 25th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer

WDNWASportsThe latest “news” on the newspaper collections is the merging of two existing collections into a new one called “Washington Digital Newspapers,” (WDN) which will give the public easier, full-text search access to these historic newspapers (move over, Google!). You can now browse titles, view by calendar date or pick a location from a map to search the issues here. The collection currently includes more than 45 titles and over 306,000 newspaper pages. Now it’s also mobile friendly so you can research with your smart phone or tablet device!

The website will also feature some more recent issues of the Eatonville Dispatch (1916-2010), our current digitization project due to be included this fall. Most of the newspapers will be pre-1923, which are considered “public domain” available for students and teachers to download for school research projects without worrying about requesting copyright permissions for use. We’ll be rolling in our earliest pioneer & territorial titles from the Historic Online Newspapers collection, which is currently indexed by subject and proper names, so it too will be full-text searchable over the next couple years.

WDN_WACrimeA recent addition to the collection is the Tacoma Evening Telegraph (1886-1887). More additions by the end of this year include the Centralia Daily Hub (1914-1916), Spokane’s Danske Kronike (Danish/English, 1916-1917), and Dat Moi (Vietnamese/English, 1974-1987). Washington State Library staff will add at least 40,000 pages of new content by end of this year, content that hasn’t appeared in any of the library’s earlier digital collections or on Chronicling America. Just this month the Anacortes Museum signed on to help us digitize the Anacortes American in 2017!

The Washington State Library is a rich resource of information for students, genealogists, researchers and history enthusiasts as one of the best `go-to’ places to find Washington newspapers. We have the largest selection of Washington newspapers on microfilm and we’re excited to be a new associate member of the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association. This fall we will be meeting with newspaper publishers and editors to help ensure that our history and culture will be best preserved in  newspapers from print, microfilm and into the born-digital world of current news media!


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Washington State Library Digital Collections – Historical Maps

July 14th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Jeff Martin

The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. This new blog post shows two more examples. The first map shows military stations occupied and abandoned as of January 1881; railroads existing and projected; wagon roads, and lighthouses. The map has been reduced in size for presentation.

map 1

Symons, T. W. (Thomas William), 1849-1920.
Title Map of the Department of the Columbia / projected and compiled at the Engineer Office, Department of the Columbia, by Lieut. Thomas W. Symons, Corps of Engineers ; assisted by Alfred Downing and C.C. Manning, topographical assistants, U.S. Army ; drawn by Alfred Downing, topographical assistant.
[Washington, D.C. : Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army], 1881.
Note Electronic data.Relief shown by hachures. Includes list of sources consulted in compilation.  Shows military stations occupied and abandoned as of January 1881; railroads existing and projected; wagon roads, and lighthouses.
“Brevet Brig. Gen. Frank Wheaton, commanding Department.”
“Prepared and published under the direction of Brig. Gen. H.G. Wright, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army.”

The next map shows an emigrant wagon road to California in addition to selected features of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.




Author Mitchell, S. Augustus (Samuel Augustus), 1792-1868.
Title Map of Oregon, Washington, and part of Idaho 
Imprint [Philadelphia] : S. Augustus Mitchell, [1863], c1860.
Description 1 map.
Note Relief shown by hachures.
“Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860 by S. Augustus Mitchell, Jr. in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the U.S. for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”
Prime meridians: Washington and Greenwich.
In right margin: 44.
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Historic Fire Lookouts in Washington

July 11th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

Historic Fire Lookout Stations - StorymapAs we enter, what will no doubt be, another intense fire season in Washington State, it is comforting to know that technology and modern methods are in place to spot and stop wildfires quickly.  But it also brings to mind a reflection on how fires were managed in the early 20th century.  One answer was a chain of fire lookout stations, many built by the CCC in the 1930’s.  “Back in the 1930s the still-growing lookout system seemed like a stable part of the fire protection program of the forests of Washington. “ (Spring and Fish, pg. 11).  “They were placed, wherever possible, so at least two stations could overlap surveillance of the same territory and thus accurately pinpoint the location of a fire.” (pg. 14).  In 1953 the U.S. claimed 5,060 “permanent” fire lookouts (pg. 22) with 685 in Washington.

As keepers of our state’s history the Washington State Library has a variety of resources that help us remember this piece of our past.  One such resource is the wonderful Washington Rural Heritage collection.  This is an ever growing collection of images pulled from personal collections and small historic museums.  Part of the collection includes pictures of fire lookout towers from around the state as well as panoramic images taken from lookout towers.  Pulling images from the Rural Heritage collection and our digital photo collection we decided to create an interactive storymap to keep the history alive.

In addition to the historic images we have several books in our collections about fire lookouts.  So if you are interested in the history, the legends or the modern practicality of how to visit or even cook at a lookout station remember that much of our collection can be requested through ILL.

Doty, Thomas. Trek to Table Mountain: Seasons of Stories. Ashland, OR: Upriver Downriver Productions, 2003. Print.

Kresek, Ray. Fire Lookouts of the Northwest. Fairfield, Wash: Ye Galleon Press, 1998. Print.

Langston, Libby. Lookout Cookbook: A Collection of Recipes by Forest Fire Lookouts Throughout the United States. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Museum of North Idaho, 2005. Print.

McFadden, Tish, and Tom Foley. How to Rent a Fire Lookout in the Pacific Northwest: A Guide to Renting Fire Lookouts, Guard Stations, Ranger Cabins, Warming Shelters and Bunkhouses in the National Forests of Oregon and Washington. Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press, 2005. Internet resource.

Rideout, Ham. Fire Watch: A Summer to Be Remembered at the Steliko Point and Badger Mountain Lookouts : Memoirs of a Jr. Forest Guard and so Much More! Steilacoom Wash.: N.p., 2006. Print.

Luckily for Washington many lookout stations still exist. Today there are eighty-seven lookouts which remain standing. (Abegg) So, if you’re up for a hike or perhaps the chance to spend a night in a piece of history why not venture out and visit one yourself.

Abegg, Steff. “Fire Lookout Structures.” www.sTePhaBeGg.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 July 2016.

Spring, Ira, and Byron Fish. Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1981. Print.

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Classics in Washington History- Bigelow Family mementos

July 5th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the Desk of Jeff Martin 2016-06-29_11-41-40

The Bigelow Family mementos are a marvelous collection of memorabilia of an early Thurston County family.   The collection consists of a hand written journal (and transcription), photos, newspaper clippings, and birth, death and marriage records.

Written by

Daniel R. Bigelow

Digitized version of the unpublished diary

[Daniel R. Bigelow diary, 1848-1853] (118, [7] p.) — [Transcription of] the Daniel R. Bigelow diary, 1848-1853 / transcribed by Roger Easton — Reminiscences of the last survivor of the First Territorial Legislature of Washington / Alice Palmer Henderson (The State, [1899?], p. 295-299) — Through many perils : Mrs. [William] White’s journey across the continent to meet her husband … / (account by Margaret Margaret McCallen Stewart White Ruddell, mother of Anne Elizabeth White Bigelow) (Weekly ledger (Tacoma, Wash.), [189-?], p. 12+)

Collection appears courtesy of George Bigelow (grandson of Daniel R. Bigelow); Some pages in this collection are not searchable because they are handwritten.

Daniel Richardson Bigelow was born March 21, 1824 in Belleville, New York. He joined a wagon-train and headed west on the Oregon Trail to Portland, then sailed up the coast in the schooner Exact to Puget Sound in Nov. 1851. He established a law office in Smithfield (now called Olympia). On June 18, 1854, he married Ann Elizabeth White, the first school teacher in the area. Ann was born Nov. 3, 1836 in Illinois and arrived in Olympia with her family in late 1851. Daniel was Treasurer of Thurston County, a member of the first legislature of Washington Territory, Superintendent of the Olympia School, and President of the Board of Trustees of Puget Sound Wesleyan Institute (forerunner of the University of Puget Sound). He was one of three commissioners who completely rewrote the laws of Oregon Territory at Salem during the summer of 1853. Their recommendations were accepted by the Legislative Assembly and enacted into law, creating the new Territory of Washington. Daniel Bigelow died Sept. 15, 1905 at Olympia. Ann Elizabeth Bigelow died Feb. 8, 1926. The Bigelows had 9 children.

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Listen Up! Stories from the Northwest Corner

June 6th, 2016 Evan Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

ListenUpLogoThe National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016.  In honor of that centennial celebration, the Port Angeles Public Library—located right on the footsteps of Olympic National Park—recently interviewed a number of its patrons about their experiences visiting, living in, and working at national parks throughout the U.S.  These audio recordings are now accessible online at: http://sos.wa.gov/q/listenup.

We especially enjoyed ranger Dean Butterworth’s story of guiding troubled teens on a snowshoeing trip in Mount Rainier National Park: http://www.washingtonruralheritage.org/cdm/ref/collection/nols/id/4155.

This is the first of an ongoing series of oral histories projects planned by the Port Angeles Public Library. Their new program, Listen Up! Stories from the Northwest Corner will collect and archive a wide variety of stories from Clallam County residents. Inspired by StoryCorps, the interviews will be made available for listening through the North Olympic Heritage website—part of the Washington State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program.

The North Olympic Library System is hosting a free listening party at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center on Tuesday, June 21, 7pm, at the Olympic National park Visitor Center, 3002 Mount Angeles Rd, Port Angeles. Stop by to hear locals recall their favorite National Park stories and memories!  And if you can’t make it, the recordings will also be available at the Visitor Center all summer long.

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Washington State Library Digital Collections: Historical Maps

May 16th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Jeff Martin:

Maps add a visual element to history. The State Archives and the State Library hold extensive map collections dealing with the Washington State and the surrounding region. Maps for these digital collections are drawn from state and territorial government records, historic books, federal documents and the Northwest collection. Here are two examples from this growing collection.


Author: Roberts, Henry, Lieut.

Title: Chart of the N.W. coast of America and the N.E. coast of Asia, explored in the years 1778 and 1779 [electronic resource] / prepared by Lieut[enan]t Hen[r]y Roberts, under the immediate inspection of Capt. Cook ; engraved by W. Palmer.

Imprint: London : Wm. Faden, geographer to the King, Charing Cross, 1784.

Note: Electronic data.

  “July 24, 1784.”

Relief shown pictorially. Depths shown by soundings.

“The unshaded parts of the Coast were taken from a Manuscript Chart which a Russian furnished us with …”

Includes notes.

Vertically fold-lined at center.

This link will take you to the online map.


Corporate Author: Illman & Pilbrow.

Title: Oregon Territory [electronic resource]

Imprint: [New York] : Illman & Pilbrow, [1833]

Description: 1 map : hand col. ; 25 x 31 cm.

Notes: Electronic data.

Shows locations of Native American tribal groups.

Relief shown by hachures.

Prime meridians: Greenwich and Washington.

Probably drawn by David H. Burr.

“Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1833 by Illman & Pilbrow in the Clerk’s office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.”

Longitude coordinates given inaccurately.

“1837” and “48” handwritten at lower right corner in margin.

Would you like to see the map in all it’s glory?  Click here to go to the map of the Oregon Territory.


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Leaves of Knowledge – Classics in Washington History

April 21st, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

2016-04-12_15-01-18Here is Jeff’s latest spy; a fascinating record of travels in Washington and Oregon at the turn of the 20th Century.

From the desk of Jeff Martin

Written by

Elma MacGibbon

Shaw & Borden Co., Printers and Publishers, Spokane, Washington

Publication date: 1904


I have had the opportunity, during the last few years, to travel very extensively throughout the West, and considerable in the East, with my husband, and finding people in general greatly interested in my oral description of the numerous places I have visited. I decided to give a history of the many cities and their surroundings as I saw them during my visits, at different seasons of the year.

Realizing that it will be of interest and information to the reading public, I now present to you Leaves of Knowledge.

Elma MacGibbon

Classics in Washington History – Leaves of Knowledge, Elma MacGibbon, 1904

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History lovers take note: Washington State Library Electronic State Publications

April 1st, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, Federal and State Publications, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

2016-03-17_9-37-32The latest state document discovery from Jeff Martin

The Fourteenth Session: A brief history of the men who represented the million and a half people of the state of Washington in the legislature of 1915

Prepared by
Alfred T. Renfro
Beaux Arts Village, Washington
Publication date: 1915

A brief history of the men who represented the million and a half people of the State of Washington in the Legislature of 1915.
It is not the purpose or object of this book to discuss the Legislature as a whole or the merits of the bills. Neither is it a manual. The acts of the Legislature are recorded in the Journal, the results in the Session Laws, and the pocket manual covers the field.

This work will endeavor to treat [sic] of the personnel of the Legislature. Devoting its pages to the personal side of the men who made the laws. In some cases where the author knew, there will be found an “intimate peep” [sic] into the lives and characters of the members.

Another gem from within the document… “Governor Lister will be remembered in political history as the ‘Veto Governor.’  Of all vetoes recorded since statehood there appears to be over 40 percent credited to his administration.”

Washington State Library Electronic State Publications – The Fourteenth Session

Let us know in the comments if you find anything else that is particularly compelling.

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Echo Zahl that “Wild Young Female” – reporter to the Seattle Star

March 9th, 2016 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

From the desk of Shawn Schollmeyer

May 18, 1917 Echo Zahl starts work for the Star
“Wild Young Female Person is going to tell Star readers how Seattle looks to Co-Ed fresh from
University campus…”

As the World War I began in Europe and the US began preparing for the eventual entry to the war in 1917, the Seattle Star was bringing a little levity to the front page news. In May they introduced, Echo June Zahl, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon Journalism School and a fresh young feminist face to their readers.

With a feminist eye and a nutty sense of humor she wins over a new audience and quickly gains SoldierTyperegional notoriety. One poor woman is thrown out of a lake retreat full of spiritualists for unknowingly appearing as Echo’s doppelganger, a known personality of the media.

She shows how the latest bathing fashions are just not suitable for a practical, modern girl who actually wants to swim. Echo loved adventure and would venture out on horseback, travel long distances, and even surf for a good story.

While many of her assignments were interviews with actors, actresses and local business folk, she drew attention to many, more serious topics important to the working Seattle community and the everyday, regular guy with her articles on  visiting soldiers at Fort Lawton, & Camp Lewis, building support for local Red Cross activities supporting the war effort and the struggles of the city carmen during the big labor strike. When you start your research of the WWI era, consider following some of Echo’s pursuits of daily life in Seattle and the citizens of Washington affected by the news of their boys going off to war and the people who stayed home to keep their families and way of life as normal as possible. NiftyBathingSuits

Introducing Echo: The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 18 May 1917. Chronicling America:
Historic American Newspapers
. Lib. of Congress.

Braving the Bucking Board: The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 16 June 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Echo Zahl Visits Fort Lawton” :The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 04 June 1917. Chronicling
America: Historic American Newspapers
. Lib. of Congress.

Spurns Nifty Bathing Suits as not suitable for swimming: The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 15 June 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Echo Zahl See’s Carman’s Home: Tells How Family with 7 Children Struggles to Live on Inadequate Wage Paid By Traction Company.”: The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 18 July 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

And before it was popular – she even made her own emoji!: The Seattle star. (Seattle, Wash.), 12 June 1917. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Find more from this great early 20th Century journalist on ChroniclingAmerica.com in Washington’s own Seattle Star.


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WSL Updates for March 3, 2016

March 2nd, 2016 Shirley Lewis Posted in Digital Collections, For Libraries, Grants and Funding, News, Training and Continuing Education, Updates, Washington Talking Book and Braille Library No Comments »

Volume 12, March 3, 2016 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:





5) STAR_Net Webinar Series Announced




Read the rest of this entry »

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