WA Secretary of State Blogs

Linking the Past with the Present

April 17th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

Ever since the advent of Web 2.0 people are finding creative ways to harness the power of the web to learn about and share their passions.  Resources are shared and discovered; connections are made between people.  Here at the Washington State Library we have a mission to collect, preserve and make accessible materials about the history and culture of Washington State.  This task is accomplished in a variety of ways, from scanning newspapers, or entire books, to helping communities scan, organize and digitize their local historic collections.  While the library has accomplished this mission by providing access to its digital collections this really is only the first step.  When it gets interesting is when people start interacting with the collections.

Much to our delight, people are finding our collections and using them to enrich their lives.  I wanted to share a few of the stories and comments which have resulted from the resources we’ve shared.  A picture from the Garfield County Heritage collection titled “Denison children and goat cart, 1929” elicited this comment Denison_children_and_goat_cart_1929“My Great Aunt Mary, Great Uncle Roger, and my Lovely Grandmother Dorothy Denison Ruchert. I cherish this photo and hope to bring back the goat carts for use today!”

Or we received this comment on a photo of Nooksack Valley“So grateful to have found these photos! We now live on this very property and are in the midst of returning the homestead to historic glory.”   	Logging on Gardene's homestead on property

Then there was the time that the Public Services desk received a call from someone who had heard that the Washington State Library had digitized her Great-Great-Great Grandfather’s journal.  When asked who that person might be, they said, Daniel Bigelow.  We were excited to let her know that the State Library Digital and Historical Collections team had indeed made the journal, along with other mementos kept in the Manuscripts Collection, digitally available.  Thrilled, she explained that her family was unaware that the material was available and was eager to pass the word along to her kin.  Needless to say, our Public Services team was delighted to help make these connections.

Finally, the other day on our Facebook page there was a wonderful piece of serendipity.  Just for fun we posted pictures of a small library in Eastern Washington with a challenge to “Name that Library”.  Someone who saw the post commented that her great grandparents had lived in that community and she was interested in genealogy.  A librarian from that library, OK I’ll tell you, The Denny Ashby Library in Pomeroy, saw the post, and knew of a book that had been scanned and made available in Open Library.  She went to the book and found an entry about the person’s great-grandparents and shared the link in the comments.  Connection made, information shared.  How cool is that? Keep reading, keep watching, you never know when something that links you to the past will turn up on your 21st Century device.

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The Historic Background of the Oso Mudslide

April 9th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For the Public No Comments »

 

2014 Oso mudslide

2014 Oso mudslide

The story of the Oso mudslide is being followed around the nation.  What many people don’t realize however is that this area was hit by a similar mud slide in 1951, thankfully non-fatal.  The pictures accompanying this post show an aerial view of the recent mudslide which is slightly to the west of the 1951 slide, the area of the slide in 1949 and a plan of where the 1949 Hazel slide occurred . (The two early pictures are found in the first document on the list below)

As interest in the historiography of the Oso Mudslide grows, the Washington State Library Digital and Historic Collections Unit has identified and made available online the following titles:

Hazel Mudslide area 1949

Hazel Mudslide area 1949

Report on slide on North Fork Stillaguamish River near Hazel, Washington  [1952]

Stillaguamish slide study : summary of data obtained by Research Division during 1952 , [1953?]

Stillaguamish slide study  : report on siltation experiment and report on flow correlation (North Fork Stillaguamish River) [1953]

Hazel/Gold Basin landslides  : geomorphic review draft report  [1999]

Plan- Hazel Mudslide

Plan- Hazel Mudslide

We will continue to digitize background material on this area as we can and make it available for online viewing.

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Women’s History Month – Josephine Corliss Preston

March 25th, 2014 Judy Pitchford Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public No Comments »

josephinepreston

Another treasure for Women’s History in the Manuscript Collection of the State Library is the newspaper clipping scrapbook of Josephine Corliss Preston, which has been digitized and added to our Classics in Washington History. Mrs. Preston was the first woman elected to statewide office in Washington state government after women were granted the right to vote in 1910, defeating another female candidate, Mary Monroe. Elected as the 6th State Superintendent of Public Instruction, she served from 1913 to 1928. Her scrapbook documents her efforts as she became a Republican candidate for office in 1912 and continues through 1920.

Mrs. Preston began her career as a teacher at the age of 14 in Minnesota and taught in Walla Walla from 1896-1903. She served as assistant county superintendent and deputy superintendent of the Walla Walla County schools during the years of 1904-1912. As State superintendent, Mrs. Preston was nationally recognized for obtaining legislation that allowed tax money to be used to cover the cost of building homes for teachers – called teacher’s cottages. This meant teachers would no longer have to be passed around to board with local families or, worse, be essentially homeless.

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Mt Constitution on San Juan Island up for sale and not at Five Thousand Feet

March 19th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the desk of Shawn Shollmeyer

Wes Langell taking a wagon_load_up_Mt_ConstitutionToday, March 19, 2014, marks the 101st Anniversary of the Washington State Park System.  You can read a little about the history of one of our state parks and follow links to historic newspaper articles.

Dr. J Hilton of Seattle owned 80 acres of land that included Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island. A prime piece of real estate that provides views across the Puget Sound to British Columbia. The February 5th, 1909 San Juan Islander corrected the Bellingham American to get their facts straight, but at 2409 feet, not 5,000, Mt Constitution is still the highest point in the Puget Sound and “…one of the finest views to be had in the world, if the atmosphere is clear.”

The San Juan County citizens petitioned for the state to create 40 acres of this area to be preserved and on February 1st, 1909, Senator John L. Blair introduced a resolution that this area be purchased by the state for a public park when the land came on the market. But many argued over the exorbitant price being asked for the land.

Mt. Constitution did became part of a state park years later. The land was finally donated to the state by Seattle Mayor Robert Moran, but not without some controversy. The Washington State Board of Park Commissioners was created in 1913, but was not able to act until House Bill 164 allowed the state to acquire land (http://www.parks.wa.gov/175/History ) in 1921.

Moran State Park dedication-1 (2) How much was the land worth in 1909 and who was this Dr. J. Hilton? How big is the park now? You can find out more directly from Washington newspapers:

The announcement & support of a state public park

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 16 Jan. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1909-01-16/ed-1/seq-8/>

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 29 Jan. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1909-01-29/ed-1/seq-1/>

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 05 Feb. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

<http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1909-02-05/ed-1/seq-1/>

Dr. J. Hilton

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 21 Feb. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1913-02-21/ed-1/seq-1/>

 How much were they asking?

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 26 Feb. 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1909-02-26/ed-1/seq-1/>

Robert Moran Steps in

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 21 Feb. 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1913-02-21/ed-1/seq-1/>

Robert Moran’s Letter refutes a “Public Playground”

The San Juan islander. (Friday Harbor, Wash.), 16 May 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88085190/1913-05-16/ed-1/seq-1/>

This collection is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Library of Congressand Washington State Library Digital Collections.

Images are from the Washington Rural Heritage Collection.

 

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Women’s History Month – Emma Smith DeVoe

March 17th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the Desk of Marlys Rudeen

Emma Smith DeVoeThe Manuscript Collection of the State Library holds a treasure for Women’s History —the Emma Smith DeVoe Papers.  This collection consists of 6 archival boxes of correspondence and  several scrapbooks chronicling the activities of Washington State’s most famous suffragist.  Mrs. DeVoe was an impassioned organizer, leader, and lecturer for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She eventually became president of the Washington Equal Suffrage Association.

These letters and manuscripts came into the possession of fellow suffrage worker, Bernice A. Sapp, who assembled and indexed them.  The Digital and Historical Collections staff decided to undertake the digitization of the collection to prolong the life of these manuscripts and to provide expanded access to citizens – especially students and teachers.  The project was funded by a grant from the Washington’s Women’s History Consortium and the collection can be viewed at their web site at: http://www.washingtonhistory.org/research/whc/WHCcollections/wsl/

DeVoe was one of the major personalities involved in moving Washington State being the fifth state in the country to adopt full suffrage for women in 1910 – ten years before the national constitutional amendment was passed.  While she occasionally clashed with some of the other strong personalities in the movement she was a tireless worker and keen strategist.  Unlike their counterparts in England, American woman suffragists adopted the tactic of the “still hunt”, using ladylike demeanors and calm reason to persuade the men of the state to grant them the vote as a matter of simple justice.

DeVoe went on to found the National Council of Women Voters in 1911 to bring together western voting women in order to move toward national suffrage.  The group eventually merged with the League of Women Voters in 1920.  She later became active in the Republican Party and wrote from that viewpoint for the Tacoma News Tribune.

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Women’s History Month; Women with a Mission

March 11th, 2014 Nono Burling Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, State Library Collections No Comments »

From the Desk of Marlys Rudeen

Pulled by religious fervor, men and women left homes and families to come West, intending to bring their faith to the “heathen”. They were often well-meaning but unprepared for life on the frontier and for interacting with people of another culture. They strove faithfully, endured hardships and grief among people whose responses to their teachings ran the gamut from acceptance to violence. Two of our Classics in Washington History describe the lives of Protestant women in western missions.

clip_image002In Memoirs of the West: the Spaldings,  Eliza Spalding, the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Spalding, looks back at an idyllic childhood at Lapwai, the Spaldings mission. She helps her mother, travels with her father, and grows up among the Nez Perce Indians. She often stays with Marcus and Narcissa Whitman at their mission for months at a time in order to attend school with other mission and immigrant children. And she is there on Nov. 29, 1847 when the Whitman mission is attacked by the Cayuse Indians. Her account is harrowing, as the 10-year-old child witnesses death and terror, and then serves as interpreter between the Indians and their captives. The book also includes excerpts from her mother’s diary and some of her father’s letters that speak of the unrelenting labor that he and his wife undertake.

You can also look through three fascinating collections of letters by Narcissa Prentiss Whitman, gathered and published in the late nineteenth century by the Oregon Pioneer Association. The first covers their journey across the country to the Oregon Territory in 1836. The others include Narcissa’s letters to her family back east and correspondence with other missionaries in the West. They can be found in Classics in Washington History as Journey across the plains in 1836.

The letters reveal a woman who is determined to live up to her religious ideals. She accepts the loss of home and her extended family. She accepts her husband’s frequent absences and the physical hardships of frontier living. Yet, she continually begs her family to write more often, and is without any letters from home for up to two years due to long distances. She is never quite at home with the Indians and has difficulty learning the language. There are hints in her narratives about the tensions among the missionaries and the discouragement when few others arrive to join the mission effort.

Narcissa bears a child at Waiilatpu, Alice Clarissa, that is the light of her life until she drowns at the age of “two years, three months, and nine days.” At the same time she takes on the care of children in need, having as many as eleven children in her home at once and writes, “I am sometimes about ready to sink under the weight of responsibility resting on me…” The letters, though relentlessly optimistic, create a portrait of an intensely social and conventional woman laboring in isolation and surrounded by a culture that remains foreign to her.

For an overview of the Whitmans and Spaldings you might try Waiilatpu : its rise and fall, 1836-1847 : a story of pioneer days in the Pacific Northwest based entirely upon historical research by Miles Cannon. Cannon interviews many of the survivors of the mission as well as dealing with its early years.

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Digitization Grant Cycle Open for Washington Rural Heritage

February 28th, 2014 Evan Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, Grants and Funding No Comments »

Tom Whited sings "Strawberry Roan" to guests at his dude ranch in Kittitas County. Roslyn Heritage Collection.

Tom Whited sings “The Strawberry Roan” to guests at his dude ranch in Kittitas County. Roslyn Heritage Collection.

Would your library like to digitize its historical materials and special collections? Create an online community archive of unique materials from patrons’ family collections? Partner with local historical societies and other organizations to collaboratively digitize local history resources?

Washington Rural Heritage, the Washington State Library’s statewide digitization initiative for public and tribal libraries is currently accepting grant applications for 2014-2015. A total of $50,000 in LSTA funds is available to award five (5) or more grants up to $10,000 each.  To date, more than 90 cultural institutions (including 33 libraries) throughout Washington have contributed to this growing collection of digitized primary sources.

Learn more about the project and see a full list of contributors by visiting: www.washingtonruralheritage.org/cdm/aboutwrh

The application deadline for this grant cycle is Friday, May 9, 2014. To review eligibility requirements, grant guidelines, and to download grant applications, go to: www.sos.wa.gov/quicklinks/grants. For questions and to discuss potential projects, applicants are encouraged to contact Evan Robb, Washington Rural Heritage Project Manager, at (360) 704-5228 or evan.robb@sos.wa.gov.

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New Digital Collection: Ocean Shores Heritage

November 27th, 2013 Evan Posted in Articles, Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Uncategorized No Comments »

Larry Tommer with Japanese glass fishing float found near Ocean Shores, Washington.

Larry Tommer with Japanese glass float found near Ocean Shores, Washington, 1966.

A new digital collection from Ocean Shores, Washington documents the area’s rapid transformation from a sleepy, rural seaside locale to a developed resort community during the 1960s and 1970s. The Ocean Shores Heritage Collection includes material from the local history archives of the Ocean Shores Public Library, digitized in 2013. Digitization was made possible with assistance from the Washington State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage Initiative.

Standout material from the new collection includes:

Didi Anstett, 1968's Miss America, posing with the Ocean Shores Clam Prix oversized razor clam shovel.

Didi Anstett, 1968′s Miss USA, posing with the Ocean Shores Clam Prix oversized razor clam shovel.

Ocean Shores Public Library joins more than 90 cultural heritage organizations contributing to Washington Rural Heritage, a statewide collaborative digitization initiative coordinated by the Washington State Library.  Public libraries, tribal libraries, and partnering heritage institutions are eligible to participate in the project, which provides grant funding, training, digitization support, and digital collections hosting to its participants.

To learn more about participation, as well as upcoming digitization grant opportunities, please contact Evan Robb at the Washington State Library, evan.robb@sos.wa.gov, 360 704-5228

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WSL Updates for October 17, 2013

October 17th, 2013 Diane Hutchins Posted in Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, News, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates No Comments »

Volume 9, October 17, 2013 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) REGISTER NOW FOR 2013 ELPLP SYMPOSIUM

2) BRINGING UP BABY – COMMUNITY BABY SHOWERS

3) TREASURES OF INLAND HISTORY

4) OCLC EXTENDS ILL TRANSITION DEADLINE

5) OUTREACH ACTIVITIES FOR COLLECTIONS CARE

6) FREE CE OPPORTUNITIES NEXT WEEK

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WSL Updates for October 10, 2013

October 10th, 2013 Diane Hutchins Posted in Digital Collections, For Libraries, For the Public, Grants and Funding, News, State Library Collections, Technology and Resources, Training and Continuing Education, Updates, WSL 160 No Comments »

Volume 9, October 10, 2013 for the WSL Updates mailing list

Topics include:

1) WSL – 160 YEARS OF SERVING THE PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON

2) WASHINGTON HISTORY – ONLINE!

3) DIGITAL LITERACY GRANT CYCLE NOW OPEN

4) CAYAS WORKSHOP – CONNECTING, MAKING, HACKING

5) MEDICAID EXPANSION TOOLKIT

6) FREE CE OPPORTUNITIES NEXT WEEK

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